FICO - Your Credit Score
Since we live in an computer-driven world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to just one number.
The FICO score is created by credit reporting agencies. These agencies use the payment history of your various loans: mortgages, car/motorcycle loans, credit cards, and others.
The three reporting agencies use slightly different formulas to build a credit score. The original FICO model was developed by Fair Isaac and Company.
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 the formulas vary from one agency to another, the differences aren't huge; each agency uses the following to calculate your score:
- Your Credit History - How long have you had credit?
- History of Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late, and how often?
- Balances on your Credit Cards - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
- Requests for Credit - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?
Each of these factors is assigned a value and a weight. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher is better. Most home buyers likely find their scores between 620 and 800.
Your credit score greatly affects how much you pay in interest every month
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.
Improving your score
What can you do to raise your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. Despite what you hear from "credit repair" companies, the FICO score is based on your lifelong credit history, so it's not possible to raise it significantly in the short term. (Of course you can and should remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
Getting your FICO score
Before you can improve your score, you have to get your score and make sure that the reports from each credit reporting agency are correct. Fair Isaac, the company that invented the original FICO score, sells scores on myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score as well as credit reports from all three reporting agencies. Also available are information and online tools that can help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.
You can get a free credit report once a year from all three agencies at 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 obtain the right mortgage for you.
Curious about credit scores? Call us: 5623200510.