FICO - Your Credit Score
Since we live in an computer-driven society, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage boils down to a single number.
The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills can be analyzed, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.
The three credit reporting agencies use slightly different formulas to build 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, each agency uses the following to calculate your credit score:
- Your Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
- Payment History - Do you have a history of late payments?
- Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you hold, and 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 which formula the agency uses. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is always better. Most home buyers have a score above 620.
Your score affects 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 probably a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
Can I raise my credit score?
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do to immediately improve your credit score. 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 remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
How do I find out my FICO score?
To improve your credit score, you must obtain the reports that are used 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 quickly get your FICO score from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. They also provide helpful information and tools that help you understand how to improve your FICO score.
You can get a federally-mandated free credit report once a year from all three credit reporting agencies at 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 get the right mortgage for you.
Want to know more about your credit score? Give us a call: (310) 373-7406.