Credit Score

Why do FICO® scores matter? 

90% of top lenders use FICO® Credit Scores, including us. That’s why Discover provides a FICO® Score, as opposed to another type of credit score. Regularly seeing your score can help you prepare for the future, stay on top of your credit or avoid surprises.

How is my FICO® score calculated?

Your Score is calculated using positive and negative information on your TransUnion® credit report. It summarizes your risk to lenders at a specific point in time. FICO® Scores consider the following 5 categories of information. The breakdown below illustrates the significance of these categories for the general population. Note, however, that your individual score may give some factors more or less importance based on the information in your credit report.

  1. Payment history: 35%
  2. Amount you owe: 30%
  3. Length of credit history: 15%
  4. New credit opened: 10%
  5. Types of credit you have: 10%


Your FICO® Scores only look at the information in your credit report

Your credit score is calculated only from the information in your credit report. However, lenders may look at many things when making a credit decision, such as your income, how long you have worked at your present job, and the kind of credit you are requesting.

    1. What FICO Scores ignore?
    2. What are the minimum requirements to have a FICO Score?
    3. What's in my credit report?

Payment history (35%)

The first thing any lender wants to know is whether you've paid past credit accounts on time. This helps a lender figure out the amount of risk it will take on when extending credit. This is one of the most important factors in a FICO® Score.

Be sure to keep your accounts in good standing to build a healthy history.

Amounts owed (30%)

Having credit accounts and owing money on them does not necessarily mean you are a high-risk borrower with a low FICO® Score. However, if you are using a lot of your available credit, this may indicate that you are overextended-and banks can interpret this to mean that you are at a higher risk of defaulting.

Length of credit history (15%)

In general, a longer credit history will increase your FICO® Scores. However, even people who haven't been using credit long may have high FICO Scores, depending on how the rest of their credit report looks.

Your FICO® Scores take into account:

    1. how long your credit accounts have been established, including the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and an average age of all your accounts
    2. how long specific credit accounts have been established
    3. how long it has been since you used certain accounts

Credit mix (10%)

FICO® Scores will consider your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. Don't worry, it's not necessary to have one of each.


New credit (10%)

Research shows that opening several credit accounts in a short period of time represents a greater risk-especially for people who don't have a long credit history. If you can avoid it, try not to open too many accounts too rapidly.

Here’s what Credit Services can do for you:

• Average FICO increase in 1-3 months: 50 points

• Rate of removing negative credit items from report: 85%

• Percentage of collection accounts settled for deletion: 75%

• Percentage of clients for whom we have met our guarantee: 99%

Nurture, respect, and protect your credit — and, like a good friend, it will be there for you when you need it most.


Why did my score change?

The FICO® Score we provide you is based on the information in your TransUnion® credit report at a snapshot in time. As the information in your credit report changes, your score may also change. According to FICO, 89% of the population experiences changes to their score by up to 20 points month to month.

Why is my FICO®  Credit Score different than other credit scores I’ve seen?

The score Discover provides may be different than other scores you’ve seen for several reasons:

    1. Discover provides your FICO® Score 8. Lenders use several different kinds of FICO® Scores, depending on the type of loan they provide.
    2. Discover provides your score from data on your TransUnion® credit report. Scores may vary when using data from your Experian or Equifax credit report.
    3. The score Discover provides is a snapshot of your info at a moment in time and will often vary from month to month. Be sure to note your ‘as of’ date when you view your score.
    4. Discover provides a FICO® Score because 90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores in their decisions. Credit scores that are not FICO® Scores may show other results.

What if I don’t agree with my score or key factors?

Your FICO® Credit Score is based on a snapshot of the current information in your TransUnion® credit report. Your score can fluctuate month to month, but if you believe there is an error, you can:

    1. Request your free annual TransUnion® credit report at:www.annualcreditreport.comOpens in new window1-877-322-8228Annual Credit Report Request ServiceP.O. Box 105281Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
    2. Dispute any inaccurate information at
    3. How can I affect my score?

Good financial habits like consistently paying bills on time, keeping balances low and only opening new credit cards when necessary can all have a positive effect on your financial health, and in turn, your FICO® Score. Review your Credit Scorecard to see how you’re doing. And keep in mind, poor financial habits like paying late can harm your score.

If I apply for a mortgage, how will it affect my FICO®  Score

FICO® Scores look at the number of times a person applies for credit, including a mortgage, since lenders tend to see people who are actively seeking credit as more risky. Typically, inquiries have only a small impact on your score. Late payments, the amount you owe, and the length of time you’ve used credit has much more importance. FICO® Scores consider inquiries less over time if no new inquiries occur.

How can applying for a new credit affect my score?

When you apply for credit, you voluntarily allow a lender to review your information. This is called a “Hard” Credit Inquiry on your credit report. For many people, one Hard Inquiry will have no affect on their score. Others may see a slight impact. Many Hard Inquiries in a short amount of time could affect your score. But applying for new credit only accounts for about 10% of a FICO®Score, so the impact is relatively modest.

If paying off a loan, how will it affect my credit score?

In most instances, paying off a loan has a neutral effect on credit scores. Payment history and the amounts owed are two of the most important factors affecting FICO® Scores, so paying off a loan does not negatively impact your score.

How can opening a new account affect my average credit age and my score?

Even though your available credit might increase, opening a new account may still lower your FICO® Score. That’s because new accounts can lower the average age of your credit history, and lenders consider newer credit more risky. Consider not closing your oldest account—keeping it open helps improve the average age of your credit. The Length of your Credit History accounts for about 15% of your FICO® Score.

What’s the difference between a Hard and Soft Credit inquiries? Which can affect my score?

Hard Inquiries could affect your FICO® Credit Score. Hard Inquiries occur when you apply for an auto loan, mortgage, credit card or other type of loan and voluntarily permit lenders to review your credit. Too many Hard Inquiries in a short amount of time may lead lenders to think you’re stretching your finances too thin.

Soft Inquiries do not affect your FICO® Credit Score. Soft Inquiries are all inquiries outside of when a lender reviews your credit application. They include when you check your own credit and when credit card issuers send you offers to become their customer.

Getting your FICO® Credit Score from Discover requires a Soft Inquiry and has no affect on your score.