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Cooking Up Your Credit Score: Here's What's Not in the Recipe

When we're talking about VA home loans and credit scores, it's usually a conversation focused on what kind of scores lenders are looking for and what veterans can do to get theirs in great shape. Or maybe we're looking more into the factors that make up your credit score, from amounts owed and payment history to the types of credit you use.

But here's something that often gets glossed over, if it's even covered at all: What doesn't get factored into your credit score.

Credit Non-Factors

A credit score is a tool that lenders use to help evaluate your willingness and ability to repay debt. Right now, VA lenders are generally looking for at least a 620 score, although that benchmark can change depending on your personal situation, what type of loan you're seeking and which lender you're working with. There are five elements that comprise your score, three of which we mention above. The other two are your length of credit history and forms of new credit.

We explore these five factors in much greater detail and discuss ways to improve your score in our exhaustive Guide to Credit Scores. But it's also important for prospective VA borrowers to know that some demographic and financial information isn't part of the credit score calculation.

Here's a look at some of the big things that aren't included in your credit score:

  • Your salary or employment details
    This includes your actual occupation or your job title. While this information isn't part of the credit score, VA lenders are certainly going to delve into this vein during the loan process.
  • Your age, race, marital status or your location None of these personal identifiers are mentioned. You will need to provide your date of birth when filling out the standard residential loan application.
  • Child support This won't generally show up unless you are delinquent on payments, but lenders will ask about this.
  • Rental Agreements Most rental companies do not report to the credit bureaus, but there are some that do. Lenders will ask how much you are paying in rent.
  • Interest rates Whether it's low or exorbitant, the report won't show the interest rates you're paying on credit cards.
  • Consumer inquiries or credit counseling Scores don't reflect requests you make for your own credit report or those made by companies wanting to make you a preapproved offer.

Check Your Report

So now you've got an idea of what isn't included in your credit score. Now is a great time to see what's actually in your credit report, and maybe even consider paying to see your score or having a lender pull your credit. You can get a free copy of your credit report (without having to give your credit card number or pay for monitoring or anything like that) at Annual Credit You can head to the FICO website and pay $20 to get your score.

Remember, though, that the score you pay to see as a consumer can and likely will be different from what a lender sees. They get scores that come from a formula weighted more toward mortgage-related factors. So FICO may show you a 700 score, but a VA lender might see a score far lower.

You can talk with a Veterans United loan specialist about loan prequalification and having your credit pulled at 855-870-8845.