FICO - Your Credit Score
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Since we live in an automated society, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to just one number.
Credit reporting agencies use your loan payment history in order to create this score.
Each of the three credit reporting agencies has its own formula for building your credit score. The original FICO model was developed by Fair Isaac and Company.
Experian uses this model and calls its score FICO. Equifax's model, based on FICO, is called BEACON, while TransUnion, which also uses a slightly modified FICO, calls its score EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, all of the agencies use the following to calculate your credit score:
- Your Credit History - How long have you had credit?
- Late Payments - Do you have a history of late payments?
- Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you carry? How much do you owe on your accounts?
- Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of lending you money?
These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. Each formula produces a single number which varies slightly from one agency to another. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher scores are better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.
Your FICO score affects how much you pay in interest every month
Did you know? FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Lenders give lower interest rates to individuals with higher scores.
Can I improve my credit score?
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do to immediately improve your credit score. So called "credit repair" companies advertise quick fixes, but the score is calculated from your lifetime credit history, so it's not possible to raise it significantly in the short term. (Of course you must have incorrect items removed from your credit report.)
Know your FICO
Before you can improve your FICO score, you have to obtain your score and be 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 quickly get your FICO from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are information and online tools that help you improve your FICO score.
You can get a federally-mandated free credit report every year from all three 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.
Now that you have all the facts, you will be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to get the most favorable mortgage.
Want to know more about your credit score? Give us a call: 866-300-1550.