About the FICO Credit Score

Since our world is so automated, it's probably not that surprising that your creditworthiness comes down to a single number. This score is built by credit reporting agencies. These agencies use the payment history of your various loans: mortgages, car/motorcycle/boat loans, credit cards, and others.

All three credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a credit score. Fair Isaac and Cooriginally developed this score. . Experian uses this model and calls its score FICO. Equifax's model, based on FICO, is called BEACON, while TransUnion, which also uses a slightly modified FICO, calls its score EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, all of the agencies use the following to calculate a score:

  • Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • History of Payments - Do you have a history of late payments?
  • Your Credit Card Balances - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit report for the purpose of lending you money?

These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. The result is a single number: your credit score. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.

Your credit score greatly affects how much you pay in interest every month

Did you know? FICO scores affect more than your ability to get a loan. They also affect your interest rate. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

Can I raise my credit score?

What can you do to improve your FICO score? Very little in the short term. Some companies promise quick fixes, but they can't do anything different than what you can do — for free. (Of course you can and should have incorrect items removed from your credit report.)

Know your FICO

Before you can improve your credit score, you have to know your score and ensure that the credit reports from each agency are correct. Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that lets you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO from all three agencies, along with your credit report. They also provide helpful information and online tools that can help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.

You can get a federally-mandated free credit report every year from all three agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports do not include a free score, but it's very inexpensive to get one at the same time.

Now that you have all the facts, you will be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to get the most favorable mortgage.

Want to know more about credit scores? Call us at 562 320-0510.

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