What Is Credit?

by Stable MARK | Updated: December 8, 2022
Stable MARK content is free. When you purchase through referral links on our website, our partners compensate us. Advertiser Disclosure

Credit is an important tool that can help you finance your education, buy a car, or start a business. Everyone has heard of credit, but not everyone understands what it is.

We're here to explain what credit is, how it works, and why it's so important. Let's start!

What Is Credit?
Image 1: What Is Credit? Source: Wikipedia

Credit is an important part of our financial lives, but many people don't really understand what it is. Put simply, credit is the ability to borrow money or access funds that you wouldn't otherwise have. This can be in the form of a loan, a line of credit, or a credit card.

Credit Definition

Credit is an arrangement between a borrower and a lender in which the borrower receives something of value now and agrees to repay the lender at some future date. The borrower may be an individual, a business, or a government. The lender may be a bank, a financial institution, or another person.

How Credit Works

Here are some basics on how credit works: When you borrow money, the lender is taking on a risk. They’re trusting that you’ll repay the debt as agreed. In return for that risk, they charge interest. The interest rate is the cost of borrowing money and is determined by a number of factors, including the economy and the borrower’s credit history.

How do the lenders would know if you can be trusted? The answer lies in a three-digit number called the "credit score." Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. This number is based on information in your credit report, which is provided by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Your credit report contains information about your past borrowing and repayment history, as well as any current outstanding debts you may have. Based on this information, lenders can assess your risk as a borrower and decide whether to offer you a loan at an interest rate they believe to be fair.

While there are many ways to calculate a credit score, the most commonly used formulas are known as the FICO score and Vantage score. Those scores consider five different categories of information to calculate a borrower's risk: payment history amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit accounts, and type of credit used. The exact weighting of each category may vary slightly from lender to lender, but in general, these are the five categories that are used to calculate both FICO and vantage scores.

What Are The Different Types Of Credit?

There are a few different types of credit, each with its own terms and conditions. Here's a quick overview:

Revolving credit

This type of credit gives you access to a line of credit that you can use up to a certain limit. As you repay your debt, the available credit is restored, so you can borrow again (up to the limit). Credit cards are one type of revolving credit.

Installment credit

This type of credit allows you to borrow a set amount of money and repay it over a fixed period of time, usually in equal monthly payments. Installment loans are one type of installment credit.

Service credit

When you get a service from a company, you're usually getting a service credit. Service credit is a type of credit provided by gas, electric, internet, and cellular phone companies. This type of credit is designed to help customers pay for services that they have used. Service credit is typically provided on a monthly basis, and customers are required to make payments on time to avoid late fees or other penalties.

Credit In Financial Accounting

In financial accounting, credit refers to an accounting entry that increases a liability or equity account, or decreases an asset or expense account. Credit is the opposite of debit and is typically recorded as a negative number. For example, when a company borrows money from a bank, the transaction will be recorded with a credit to the cash account and a debit to the loan payable account.

How To Build Your Credit

There are a few things you can do to build your credit.

First, ensure that you always pay your bills promptly. This includes both credit card bills and any other monthly payments you might have, such as utility bills or rent.

Second, keep your credit utilization low. Using too much of your credit can hurt your score, even if you're always paying on time.

Third, try to diversify your credit mix by having different types of accounts, such as both installment loans and revolving lines of credit. This demonstrates to financial institutions that you are responsible enough to handle different types of debt.

Finally, it's best to avoid opening too many new accounts in a short period of time. Each time you apply for new credit, it causes a temporary dip in your score. So, although it's good to have different types of accounts, don't go overboard opening new ones all at once.

Why Do You Need Credit?

There are numerous misconceptions about credit out there. Many people think that they don't need it or that it's not necessary. But the truth is, credit is an essential part of your financial life. Here's why:

1. The credit helps you get better interest rates on loans. When you have good credit, you'll qualify for lower interest rates on loans. This can save you a lot of money over time, especially if you're taking out a large loan like a mortgage.

2. Credit can help you rent an apartment or get utility services. Often, landlords and utility companies will require a good credit score to rent an apartment or get service from them. So if you have bad credit, it could make it harder for you to find a place to live or keep the lights on.

3. Credit can affect your insurance rates. Your credit score is one of the factors that insurers look at when determining your rates. So if you have bad credit, you could end up paying more for your car insurance or other types of insurance.

4. Credit can help you get a job. More and more employers are considering applicants' credit scores when making hiring decisions. Therefore, if you're looking for a job, having good credit could give you an advantage over other candidates with bad credit scores.

Stay On Top Of Industry Trends

By providing my email address, I agree to StableMARK.com’s Privacy Policy