ARE YOU FUNDABLE, OR DO YOU JUST HAVE A GOOD SCORE? MERRILL CHANDLER Your personal credit identity is the single most important feature of a highquality credit profile. Lenders, credit bureaus, and FICO® do not think of you as a person in the traditional sense. You are an identity—a data set that they can quantify and track. Since you were never taught how to correctly apply for credit, you probably applied using various versions of your name and different addresses. Since the credit bureaus collect every scrap of data you submit in your applications, they have a record of every version of your name, every address you’ve ever applied under (even Aunt Mae’s where you spent the summer). Credit bureaus do this so they can collect and merge all your data to better identify you. The bureaus have spent tens of millions in data development and management, when it seems to me that it would just be simpler for them to instruct borrowers how to establish a credit identity and use it consistently when borrowing. But alas, such is not the case. One of the first things you will see when you pull you're myFICO.com credit report is the veritable mess of inconsistent information that is listed under your personal information section (credit identity). It is vital that you present a single, clear, and concise identity to your current creditors as well as any future lenders. The second area that contributes to a highquality credit profile is what I call your “revolving accounts portfolio.” This is the collection of all of your revolving accounts: credit cards, credit lines, charge cards, and HELOCs (home equity lines of credit). The most important score contribution to you’re revolving accounts portfolio is your balance to limit ratio (known in the industry as utilization), followed by the average age of your revolving accounts portfolio. Next priority is the quality of each individual account. Quality is defined by the “tier” of the lending institution and the contribution of the account to the quality of the profile. While I can't go into great detail here, you need to know credit instrument quality ranges from Tier 1 banks and 100% contribution to Tier 4 lenders and 40% contribution. Until now, we were never trained on how to build a highquality fundable credit profile and so many of us have lowvalue “junk” cards which show a lender a lack of credit sophistication.