How to Land a Higher Credit Score

By Nathan Hamilton Markets Fool.com

The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO score, making it a key factor in improving your creditworthiness. But what exactly is required to land an excellent credit score?

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In the previously recorded Facebook Live video below, Motley Fool analysts Nathan Hamilton and Michael Douglass answer a user-submitted question about the average account age needed get an excellent credit score.

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Michael Douglass:Tabitha asks, "What is a goodaverage age for your accounts?" Of course, itchanges that average when you get a new card.

Nathan Hamilton:
Yep. Theminimum to get the best scores is going to be five years. To get your score above 800, or inexcellent territory, 750-plus,you have to have five years plusas the average age of your accounts. In my scenario, I don't know what my average account age is, butI was able to get around that score. But,generally, you're going to have to do that to get the best score.

Douglass:
Yeah. And of course, that is, if you'relooking for perfect or near-perfect,most folks will benefitif they're able to simply get it tobetter than where it is. That'soften a creditutilization issue, that's often, have you paid all your bills on time. Remember thatcollections stayon your report for seven years, so you want to make sure that you'retaking care of that stuff first. Then,unfortunately, after that, it'skind of a waiting game, because older age of accounts.

Hamilton:
Before you go to the next question,something relevant to add on to that is -- what was her name?

Douglass: Tabitha.

Hamilton:
If you're listening now, Tabitha, if you look at it,your average account age,if you do have credit cards that aren't incurring an annual fee, say, you're not using them, they've been dormant, there's no harm inkeeping those accounts open.I would suggest doing so. If you want to place a purchase on it every once in awhile, justto keep some activity, sure, go ahead. Butthere's no reason to close down those accounts if they're dormant, not incurring fees, and it can helpestablish a better average account age.

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Nathan Hamilton owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.