ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hey, What's Your (Credit Score) Number?

Updated on October 27, 2011

Ever see those commercials on television with the band singing about getting a free credit report? Well, they’re playing a tune everyone should be singing.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of requesting an annual copy of your credit report every year. It’s only been a few years that a law was passed allowing consumers to each year request a free copy from each of the three credit-scoring agencies – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Until then, we had to pay to see what these agencies had on us.

Credit cards play a role in how high or low our credit score it.
Credit cards play a role in how high or low our credit score it. | Source

Reviewing your credit report annually can alert you to errors that can bring down your credit score. And your score affects how much interest rate you are charged for credit and can even affect where you live and work.

So what is this magic number consumers need to reach? Financial experts tell us that a score of at least 700 is what we need to strive for; get 760 and we’re in the upper echelon. Below 620 could signal we’re a credit risk.

How do credit cards figure in our scores? Do they hurt us? Do they help us? College students can be particularly vulnerable to credit card debt as they maneuver their way through school on very tight budgets.

Credit cards can play a key role in our credit score. There's a fine line between having enough credit cards and having too many.

There’s nothing wrong with having a credit card if it’s used wisely and paid off promptly. But if you’ve been denied a loan or if you know your score and aren’t happy with it, your credit cards could be working against you.

NEW! Figuring your debt-credit ratio

Let's say you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you've racked up $2,500 in charges on it.

$2,500 / $5,000 = a debt-credit ratio of 50%

That's an easy example - 50% is just half. What if you want to get it down to a more manageable (and somewhat 'acceptable') 36%? Or 18%? Multiply your credit limit by the percentage.

Take the percentage figure and stick a decimal point in front of it (36% = .36) Now multiply that number times your credit limit. $5,000 x .36 = $1,800 and $5,000 x .18 = $900. So if you want to get your debt-credit ratio down to 36%, your debt needs to be no more than $1,800.

That's just for one credit card. If you have multiple cards, add up all the balances, then do your calculations as above. That will be the figure you need to strive to reduce your debt to.

Here are some tips to help you raise your credit score

  • Keep your debt-credit ratio as low as possible on all your cards. Below 30% is ideal but absolutely keep it below 50% Your debt-credit ratio is a method lending institutions use to calculate your ability to repay a loan. Your total debt shouldn't exceed a certain percentage of your income, usually 36-42%.
  • If you have a balance of more than 50% on one card, split it between two cards. This improves your credit-debt ratio. But be careful you don’t reach a point where the number of cards you have opened to spread the debt around starts to reflect more poorly on your record than the ratio itself.
  • Once you’ve found a low-interest card you like, keep it. If you have cards with a long history of regular payments, that works for you. Otherwise, pay off and cancel any cards that you haven’t been able to manage well.

The bottom line is the “bottom line” on our credit report can be hurt by our credit cards. All these tricks can only take us so far. In the end, it’s really up to us to develop the self-discipline to manage our credit cards. And that’s something we can only do solo.

How often do you review your credit reports?

See results

This hub was updated on 10/28/2011 with the addition of the sidebar explaining how to figure your debt-credit ratio.

Related hubs

See my other hub in the series "Money grows on hubs" challenge:

6 tips for college students

Get Out of Debt in 7 Steps
Get Out of Debt in 7 Steps

7 simple steps are all it takes to get you started on the road to being debt-free.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      A very good habit to get into, daskittlez69, especially in these times when a good credit rating is so important.

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      7 years ago from midwest

      I check mine once every year. Thanks for the Hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette, I'm sooooo glad to read this. I was just thinking of this today and remembering that this is one of my January tasks I do annually to prepare for the year. Great write. I'm voting it 'up'. :)

    • cardelean profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Great tips! Thanks for the info, important things that we should all keep in mind.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Glad you found them useful Simone.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for the helpful tips!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)