I'm in college, so I'm not exactly employed, ignoring occasional jobs here and there. I'd like to apply for a few new credit cards, and I noticed I don't have employment on my credit report. My current score (with my very limited credit history) is decent, and I was wondering if I should find more long-term employment, even part-time, for the benefit of the applications. How much does employment contribute? Also, the earning potential for the part-time job would be reasonably high (mid-five figures), so how much would wages contribute?

Feel free to let me know if more information is necessary for a constructive answer.

  • 1
    could you give some country information please; it may be very pertinent the way your comments on my answer are leading
    – MD-Tech
    Sep 24 '15 at 10:19

To answer your specific question, employment has no effect on your credit score. So, whether you are currently employed with a low paying job, an extremely high paying job, or unemployed, it will make absolutely no difference to your score.

That being said, being employed would make it easier to raise your credit score if you choose to. One important factor in your credit score is your current debt to credit ratio. If you have credit cards with high credit limits, and you haven't run up any debt on them, your score will increase. When you apply for a credit card, your current income is considered as a factor in determining how high of a limit to give you. In general, as the available credit increases, so does your credit score.

tldr; Employment and income affects how much open credit you are able to obtain, but does not directly contribute to your credit score.

  • So income is asked for not to determine if to accept or decline the application but only to determine credit limit if accepted? Sep 24 '15 at 17:32
  • 3
    My point is that income does not determine your credit score. Income, as well as your credit score, could both be factors in acceptance of an application, and also of the credit limit if accepted.
    – TTT
    Sep 24 '15 at 18:05

What is normally meant (in the U.S.) by your Credit Score is called a FICO score and is calculated from your credit reports from one or more credit bureaus, using the information that they have. This information is limited to your open and closed credit accounts, those balances, terms and payment history. Your employment status nor your income or lack thereof is contained in your credit report or used to calculate your FICO score. Your FICO score is all about your interaction with debt.

When you apply for credit, the creditor will ask for certain information, most likely information to obtain your credit score or credit report (social security number and permission) as well as employer and earnings.

They may take a combination of your credit report/score and stated earnings into consideration when making a decision regarding extending credit.

FYI, the last time I applied for credit (only to get a 24 month no interest deal, I don't finance and pay interest) they only wanted my name, SSN and permission to access my credit report.


Since the ability to repay the line of credit is reflected in income it is a major determinant in credit scores and the level of credit that a supplier will be willing to extend to you. Unless you have severe black marks against your credit (such as bankruptcy) it is likely to be the most important factor in your credit rating.

That said you mention getting a "few" new credit cards. For every credit card that you get you will receive a "hard pull" on your credit rating which will reduce your rating for at least 6 months in most jurisdictions. Be aware that seeing multiple hard pulls in a short period of time is also a major determinant of credit score and so you could, at least for a few years, reduce your credit score significantly by going through with this plan.

  • 1
    No; I said employment is a major determinant OF credit score. Hard pulls occur when the lender goes to a referencing agency to check your creditworthiness and the lenders will tend to go to the same few sources (and won't tell you who they use) so applying for lines of credit on the same day won't work. All the lenders will be pulling from the same few sources who record it when the pull occurs.
    – MD-Tech
    Sep 24 '15 at 10:17
  • 1
    please also note that the hard pull occurs whether you are accepted or not and whether you take the credit or not.
    – MD-Tech
    Sep 24 '15 at 10:24
  • 1
    I'm not able to give you exact numbers because the credit agencies don't publish their algorithms - they're too valuable. There are also a lot of factors relating to who the employer is, how stable the job is etc.. I can't give you our algorithm either (I work for a credit risk firm and its a proprietary secret) and would worry that giving you any concrete number or range would leave my company open to legal issues.
    – MD-Tech
    Sep 24 '15 at 12:24
  • 1
    @TheEnvironmentalist: think of the other side of this proposal: would you lend money to someone you've just met without a demonstrated ability to repay? Further, suppose you learned from your associates that this new-to-them person asked to borrow from 5 other sources. How does this look?
    – michael
    Sep 24 '15 at 12:50
  • 1
    Income is not at all reflected in the credit score. It is used by the lender, sure, but not in the FICO score.
    – Joe
    Sep 24 '15 at 18:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.