When people talk about their credit score in the context of a home loan, they generally are referring to the number provided by the Fair Isaac Corporation — known as FICO. That index isn’t changing.
However, three other credit tracking entities, Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union, together operate VantageScore — and that is the one that is being tweaked in at least two important areas. One relates to closing inactive accounts — which had been at least informally known to affect credit scores negatively because one’s rating was based on current debt as a ratio of the total credit available. In the future, closing unused credit lines may affect credit scores positively or not at all.
In a more important way, the new formulas will assess ‘trending’ on the total debt — meaning one will be rated at least partially on whether the amounts owed are collectively going up or down. Those who are paying debt down will likely be looked upon as less risky than people who are still piling it on.