How FICO Credit Scores Are Calculated
Since we live in an computer-driven society, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to just one number.
The FICO score is built by credit agencies. These agencies use the payment history of all of your loans: credit cards, mortgages, car/boat loans and the like.
All three major credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a score. The original FICO score 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 calculating a credit score:
- Your Credit History - Have you had credit for many years, or for a short time?
- History of Payments - Do you have a history of late payments?
- Credit Card Balances - How many accounts? How much do you owe?
- Inquiries on Your Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit report for the purpose of lending you money?
These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. The result is one number. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.
Your score greatly affects your interest rate
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
Is there any way to raise 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 have incorrect items removed from your credit report.)
Getting your FICO score
To raise your credit score, you must obtain the reports that the agencies use to build it. Of course, you need the score as well. Fair Isaac, the corporation that offered the original FICO score, offers scores on myFICO.com. It's inexpensive to get your FICO from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are helpful information and online tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on 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 info, 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: 866-840-8745 x2.