Your credit score plays an important role when financing a vehicle. Once you’ve found the right car or truck, your credit score helps determine first if you’re qualified for an auto financing contract, and second, the finance rate associated with the credit. It’s a powerful number and according to, it pays to maintain a good credit score. Bankrate says the better your credit score, the lower your finance rate.

What makes up this important number? What happens to your credit score if you make a late payment, or max out a credit card? With and, we explore what a credit score is, how much specific changes affect a score, and what goes into a credit score. You can learn more about the five major categories that make up a credit score here.