Equifax and Fannie Mae worked together on the new credit score program.
Equifax and Fannie Mae worked together on the new credit score program. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

When it comes to the all-important credit profile, should you get brownie points for improvement? Maybe you once had a rough patch trying to repay debt, but have since gotten better. 

The credit reporting company Equifax is now rolling out a system that will take that into account.

Late last month, the agency teamed up with mortgage financier Fannie Mae on an updated credit score program. The focus is on "trending data," which will include two years of an applicant's credit history to render a more accurate picture of the individual's spending habits and reliability as a borrower. The agency is also looking at trending income data to get a better picture of applicants' resources.

Equifax CEO Richard Smith spoke to us about the new approach.

On the benefits of looking at a consumer's history: 

The entire thought was, 'Is there incremental value to lenders if we take a historical perspective of someone’s payment behavior?' In this case, over a two-year period of time. And what we saw in the mortgage market working with Fannie Mae is, if you look at someone’s payment behavior over an extended period of time, versus a static snapshot, you possibly can include more people into the credit markets, which is good for them.

On the agency's plan to expand the practice: 

Our hope and efforts going forward are to take this concept beyond just the mortgage market. We’re starting with the mortgage market with Fannie Mae. We’re now looking at the application of trending data in markets like the automotive market, credit card market, and others.

Click the above audio player to hear the full interview. 

Additional production by Paulina Velasco.

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio