You Credit Score- How's Your FICO?

Because our society is so computer-driven, you're probably not surprised to hear that your creditworthiness comes down to one number. The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, vehicle payments, and credit card bills are analyzed, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.

TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, the three major credit agencies, each have a proprietary formula for building your credit score. The original FICO was developed by Fair Isaac and Company. 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 a score:

  • Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • Payment History - Have you paid more than 30 days late?
  • Credit Card Balances - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
  • Inquiries on Your Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit report for the purpose of giving you a loan?

Each of these is assigned a value and a weight. Each formula produces a single number which varies slightly from one agency to another. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Most borrowers who want to get a mortgage loan in the current environment score 620 or above.

FICO makes a difference in your interest rate

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 probably a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

Raising your credit score

What can you do about 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 must appeal incorrect items on your credit report.)

Getting your FICO score

Before you can improve your FICO score, you have to know your score and make sure 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 get your FICO score from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are 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 once per year from all three agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting one is quick and inexpensive.

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

Curious about credit scores? Give us a call at (303) 877-0415.

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