Creditworthiness: Definition, How to Check and Improve It

What Is Creditworthiness?

Creditworthiness is a measure of how likely you will default on your debt obligations according to a lender's assessment, or how worthy you are to receive new credit. Your creditworthiness is what creditors consider before they approve any new credit.

Key Takeaways

  • Creditworthiness is a measure of a borrower's risk to a lender.
  • Creditworthiness is determined by several factors including your repayment history and credit score.
  • You can improving your creditworthiness by making payments on time and reducing debt.
  • Check your credit report, which indicates your creditworthiness, on

Understanding Creditworthiness

Your creditworthiness tells a creditor just how suitable you are for that loan or credit card application you filled out. The decision the lender makes is based on how you've dealt with credit in the past. so, lenders look at several different factors: your overall credit report, credit score, and payment history.

Your credit report outlines how much debt you carry, the high balances, the credit limits, and the current balance of each account. It will also flag any important information for the potential lender including whether you've had any past due amounts, any defaults, bankruptcies, and collection items.

Creditworthiness is determined by several factors including your repayment history and credit score. Some lending institutions also consider available assets and the number of liabilities you have when they determine the probability of default.

Your creditworthiness is also measured by your credit score, which is a three-digit number based on factors in your credit report. A high credit score means your creditworthiness is high and a lower credit score indicates lower creditworthiness.

Payment history also plays a key role in determining your creditworthiness. Lenders don't generally extend credit to someone whose history demonstrates late payments, missed payments, and overall financial irresponsibility.

If you've been up-to-date with all your payments, the payment history on your credit report should reflect that. Payment history counts for 35% of your FICO credit score, so it's a good idea to stay in check, even if you have to just make the minimum payment.

Your creditworthiness is important because it will determine whether you get approved for a new loan, like car loan or credit card. The more creditworthy you are, the more likely you will be approved for better interest rates, which can save you significant money. It can also affect employment eligibility, insurance premiums, business funding, and professional certifications or licenses.

Checking Your Creditworthiness

The three prominent credit reporting agencies that measure creditworthiness are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Lenders pay the credit reporting agencies to access credit data on potential or existing customers in addition to using their own credit scoring systems to grant approval for credit.

Every consumer should keep track of their credit score because it is the factor financial institutions use to decide if an applicant is eligible for credit, preferred interest rates, and specific credit limits.

You can request a free copy of your credit report once each year, or you can join a free credit monitoring site like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame or another credit monitoring services.

How to Improve Your Creditworthiness

There are several ways you can improve your credit score to establish creditworthiness. First, you can pay your bills on time. Then, you can pay more than the minimum monthly payment to pay down debt faster and improve your credit utilization ratio. Some financial experts suggest keeping credit card utilization rates below 30%, although 10% is ideal.

You should understand your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. An acceptable DTI is 35% but 28% is ideal. DTI can be calculated by dividing your total monthly debt by your total gross monthly income. Lenders use DTI when assessing an individual’s creditworthiness.

You can also order a free copy of your TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax credit reports. Review all the information for accuracy and dispute any errors. Provide supporting documentation to substantiate your dispute claim. In addition, you can dispute inaccurate information with the company reporting the error.

How Do I Find My Credit Score for Free?

You can find your credit score for free by checking online with your credit card company or visiting You are entitled to one free credit report per year.

Why Is Creditworthiness Important?

Creditworthiness is very important when you are applying for loans because your creditworthiness determines whether you are approved for the loan and under what terms. The better your credit score and credit history, the better terms you can get on a loan, which means you can save money in the long-term.

How Can I Improve My Creditworthiness?

You can improve your creditworthiness by ensuring your credit reports are correct, reducing your debt by paying more than the minimum balance, and paying all your bills on time. Avoid applying for too many credit cards and loans and using all your available credit.

The Bottom Line

It's important to understand your creditworthiness, even if you are not applying for credit. You can track your credit score and credit report annually to ensure your creditworthiness is strong. If you need to improve your credit, you can take several steps such as reducing your debt and avoiding overspending with revolving lines of credit like credit cards.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. myFICO. "What's In My FICO Scores?"

  2. myFico. "What Should My Credit Utilization Ratio Be?"

  3. "Credit Reports and Scores."

Open a New Bank Account
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.