How's your FICO Score?

Since we live in an computer-driven world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to just one number. This score is created by credit reporting agencies. They use the payment history of all of your loans: credit cards, mortgages, car loans and the like.

The three agencies use slightly different formulas to build a credit score. The original FICO model 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; each agency uses the following factors in building your credit score:

  • Credit History - How long have you had credit?
  • Payment History - Do you have any payments later than 30 days?
  • 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 for the purpose of lending you money?

These factors are weighted a little bit differently depending on the formula being used. The result is a single number: your FICO score. FICO scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher scores are better. Most people getting a mortgage loan these days score 620 or above.

Your FICO score greatly affects your interest rate

Did you know? 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.

Can I raise my credit score?

How can you improve 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 remove incorrect data on your credit report.)

Getting your FICO score

In order to improve your FICO 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, fast, and easy to get your credit score along with reports from all three credit reporting agencies. They also provide information and online tools that help you improve your FICO score.

You can get a free credit report once per year from the three major credit reporting agencies by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. While this report does not include a free credit score, the cost to "upgrade" your report to include a credit score is very reasonable.

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 credit scores? Give us a call at 3103737406.

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