Credit history definition

Writer and editor - Bryan Robinson | Updated on 2023-03-05

What is a credit history?

Your credit history is a record of your credit and loan accounts, including information about your payment history. It’s maintained by one or more of the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Lenders use your credit history, along with other factors, to decide whether to approve you for a loan and what interest rate to charge.

Credit history isn’t just about whether you pay your bills on time. It also includes information about how much debt you have and how often you apply for new loans or credit cards. A strong credit history can help you qualify for lower interest rates and better terms on loans.

A good credit history can also lead to other benefits, such as lower insurance rates, favorable lease terms and even a job offer. On the other hand, a bad credit history can make it difficult to get approved for a loan or rent an apartment.

You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year at Reviewing your report regularly is a good way to catch errors and spot signs of identity theft.

The importance of credit history

Credit history is a record of an individual’s or a company’s past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcies. It is used by financial institutions to determine whether to approve a loan and what interest rate to charge. A good credit history is important because it can save you money in the form of lower interest rates.

Credit history is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you will be approved for a loan. Lenders use credit history as a way to assess the likelihood that you will repay a loan. The better your credit history, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan with favorable terms.

There are several things that can impact your credit history, including:

  • Making late payments on debts
  • Missing payments on debts
  • Having accounts sent to collections
  • Filing for bankruptcy

The benefits of a good credit history

If you have a strong credit history, it means you have a track record of repaying your debts on time. This shows lenders you are likely to repay any new debts that you take out. A strong credit history can help you get approved for loans with lower interest rates and better terms.

A good credit history means you’ve managed your credit responsibly in the past. This can lead to benefits like qualifying for lower interest rates and higher credit limits.

When you’re applying for a loan, mortgage, or credit card, lenders will look at your credit history to see how you’ve handled borrowing in the past. They’ll also use this information to predict whether you’re likely to repay a new debt on time.

A good credit history isn’t just important when you’re applying for new lines of credit. It can also come into play when you’re trying to rent an apartment or get insurance. In some cases, a bad credit history can even lead to higher rates on utilities like electricity and water.

Building a good credit history takes time, but it’s worth the effort.

How to build a credit history

A good credit history is important because it helps you qualify for loans, get lower interest rates, and can even help you get a job. There are a few things you can do to build a good credit history. You can start by getting a credit card and using it responsibly. You can also get a car loan or a personal loan and make your payments on time. Finally, you can make sure to keep your credit utilization low by using only a small portion of your credit limit.

Use a credit card

Using a credit card is one of the most common ways to help build your credit history. When you use a credit card, you are borrowing money from a lender that you will then need to pay back with interest. By making your payments on time and in full, you can show lenders that you are a responsible borrower and help improve your credit score. You can also help build your credit history by using a secured credit card, which is backed by a deposit you make with the lender.

Get a loan

When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to get a loan without any credit history. That’s because lenders use your credit history to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for a loan, and if you don’t have any history, they don’t have anything to go off of.

There are a few options available to you if you find yourself in this situation. You can take out a secured loan, which means that you put up collateral (something of value that the lender can take if you don’t repay the loan) in order to get the money you need. You can also get a co-signed loan, which means that someone with good credit will agree to repay the loan if you can’t.

Another option is to get a credit card. This can be difficult if you don’t have any credit history, but there are some cards available for people in your situation. You can also try becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account. This means that their good payment history will start appearing on your credit report, helping you to build up your own history.

Whatever route you decide to take, make sure you make your payments on time and in full every month. This is the best way to start building up your credit history so you can get the loans and other financial products you need in the future.

Become an authorized user

If you’re new to credit or have a limited credit history, one way to get started is by becoming an authorized user on another person’s credit card. When you become an authorized user, the primary account holder agrees to give you access to their account and is responsible for making payments. The activity on the account is then reported on both of your credit reports.

Becoming an authorized user can help you establish a positive payment history, which is one of the key factors in a good credit score. If the primary cardholder has a long history of on-time payments, that can reflect positively on your credit report. Just remember that you’re not responsible for making payments on the account — that’s the primary cardholder’s job. If they don’t make their payments on time or miss payments entirely, that will show up as negative information on your report as well.

How to check your credit history

A credit history is a record of a borrower’s responsible repayment of debts. A credit history typically spans a period of seven to ten years. Lenders report your credit history to credit bureaus, and the credit bureaus compile your credit history into a credit report. You can check your credit history by requesting a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus.

Get a free credit report

You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year. Check them carefully for errors, such as incorrect information about accounts, late payments that have been recorded as on time, or any other negative marks that could bring down your score.

Fixing errors on your credit report can help improve your credit score, so it’s worth taking the time to do it right. You can get your free credit reports from

Check your credit score

credit score is a number that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness. A high score indicates that you’re a low-risk borrower, which means you’re more likely to get approved for loans and credit cards. A low score could lead to higher interest rates and could mean you won’t be approved for certain types of financing.

You can check your credit score for free with Credit Sesame. Just sign up and we’ll show you your score, along with ways to improve it.

Bryan Robinson

Bryan Robinson
Writer and editor

Bryan Robinson is a finance writer with expertise in lending and their interest rates, fees, contracts and more.
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