A credit score affects many financial decisions. Do you want to buy a home, refinance one or rent an apartment in Illinois? Do you want to purchase a car? Are you planning to go back to school? Do you want to open a new line of credit? Which type of cellphone plan do you want?

Your credit score affects many things in life, but do you know which factors are used to determine the three digits?

First, it is important to note that you do not have a single credit score. Many methods exist for determining a credit score. The most widely accepted is the FICO score, in which case you have several three-digit numbers used for different purposes.

Second, many different factors are used to determine a FICO credit score. These include, in order of weight given in the calculation, payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, types of credit in use and new credit. The exact weight of these factors can change depending on an individual’s circumstances.

Third, your credit score is not the end-all-be-all in financial decisions. Like the factors used to determine the score, lenders will consider many different things in their decisions. This could include your current salary or how long you have held your current job.

Last, if you have a bad credit score, you can fix it. How long it will take depends on your circumstances. Bankruptcy is a tool that many people use to reset their financial situation, to give them the clean slate they need to start rebuilding their credit as quickly as possible.