Credit card debt making it difficult for consumers to borrow

Many Americans have faced difficulty borrowing as they attempt to pay down their existing debt. Lenders have also tightened their restrictions since the 2008 recession in an effort to reduce the amount of debt they have had to write off. For this reason, it has become more important than ever for consumers to focus on building up their payment histories in order to receive approval for things, such as large home and auto loans.

Consumers can maintain their credit scores by understanding a few key factors, according to Investopedia, a financial news site. Payment history, the amount of credit used and outstanding balances all factor into a FICO score. These are heavily weighed by lenders and play a crucial role in whether a borrower receives approval.

The most efficient way to increase the chances of approval is by staying on top of payments, Investopedia reports. Keeping balances 15 to 25 percent below the amount of credit available can make an applicant appeal more to a lender.

Investopedia also reminds consumers that marital status, age, salary, occupation, rental agreements, public assistance and participating in credit counseling do not affect a credit score.