FICO - Your Credit Score

Since our society is so automated, you're probably not surprised to hear that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to a single number. The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills are analyzed, sliced, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.

Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, the three major credit agencies, each have a proprietary formula for building a credit score. Fair Isaac and Cooriginally developed this score. . While Experian still calls its score "FICO", TransUnion calls its score "Beacon" and Equifax uses "Empirica." While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, all of the agencies use the following to build your credit score:

  • Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • History of Payments - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many accounts do you carry? How much do you owe?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of giving you a loan?

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

Credit scores make a huge difference in your interest rate

Did you know? Credit scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

Improving your score

How can you improve your credit score? Despite what you hear from "credit repair" companies, the FICO score is built on your lifelong credit history, so it's not possible to raise it significantly in the short term. (Of course you can and should appeal incorrect items on your credit report.)

Know your FICO score

To improve your FICO score, you must have the reports that the agencies use to build it. Of course, you need the score as well. Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that lets you do just that. It's inexpensive to get your FICO from all three agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are information and tools that 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 the three major credit reporting agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports do not include a free credit score, but it's very inexpensive to get one at the same time.

Armed with this information, you'll be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage.

Want to know more about your FICO score? Call us: 305-967-7200.