Scoring your Credit - How's your FICO?
Since we live in an automated world, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to just one number.
Credit reporting agencies use your history of paying loans in order to create this score.
All three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a 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, the differences aren't huge; all of the agencies use the following to calculate your score:
- Your Credit History - Have you had credit for many years, or for just a short time?
- History of Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late?
- Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you have? How much do you owe?
- Credit Inquiries - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of lending you money?
Each of these factors is assigned a value and a weight. The result is a single number: your credit score. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.
Your credit score greatly affects how much you pay in interest every month
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.
Improving your score
What can you do about your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. So called "credit repair" companies advertise quick fixes, but the score is built on your lifetime credit history, so it's not possible to raise it significantly in the short term. (Of course you can and should remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
Know your FICO score
To raise your credit score, you've got to get the credit reports that the agencies use to build it, and of course, you need the score itself. Fair Isaac, the company that invented the original FICO score, offers credit scores on myFICO.com. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO from all three agencies, along with your credit report. They also provide information and tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.
You can get a free credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports do not include a free score, but it's very inexpensive to get one at the same time.
Now that you have all the facts, you'll be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to get the most favorable mortgage.
Curious about credit scores? Give us a call at 8668408745.