About the FICO Credit Score

Since we live in an automated world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to a single number. All the years you've been 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.

TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, the three major credit reporting agencies, each have a proprietary formula for building a 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, the differences aren't huge; they all use the following to calculate a credit score:

  • Your Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • Late Payments - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many accounts? How much do you owe?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?

These factors are weighted a little bit differently depending on the formula being used. 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 these days have a score above 620.

Not just for qualifying

FICO scores affect more than your ability to get a loan. They also affect your interest rate. Lenders give lower interest rates to individuals with higher scores.

Raising your credit score

How can you raise your FICO score? Some companies promise quick fixes, but they can't do anything different than what you can do — for free. (Of course you must have incorrect items removed from your credit report.)

Getting your FICO score

Before you can improve your FICO score, you have to obtain your score and make sure that the credit reports from each credit reporting agency are correct. Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that lets you do just that. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score along with reports from all three reporting agencies. They also provide helpful information and online tools that can help you improve your FICO score.

You can get a free credit report once per year from the three major agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting one is fast and inexpensive.

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

Want to know more about your credit score? Give us a call: (440) 234-9660.

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