Continued from page 1

Consumers who find that their scores are low can take steps to improve them, said Andy Jolis, head of

The two most important factors in determining a score are payment history and how much of your available credit you are using.

“That means that paying on time and keeping your balances low are things you need to focus on to improve your score,” Mr. Jolis said.

The score also takes into account how long you’ve been a borrower, how much new credit you’ve applied for and miscellaneous factors, such as the mix of loans a consumer has.

That means, for example, that consumers shouldn’t be applying for a whole bunch of retail store cards at the same time they are seeking a mortgage because the flurry of applications could reduce their score.

Barrett Burns, the chief executive of VantageScore, said Experian and TransUnion have begun making VantageScores available to consumers.

He said use of credit was something lenders watched closely.