You Credit Score: How's Your FICO?
Since our society is so automated, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to a single number.
The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills are analyzed, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.
TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, the three major credit agencies, each have their own proprietary formula for building a credit score. Fair Isaac and Cooriginally developed this score. .
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 determine your score:
- Your Credit History - Have you had credit for years, or for a short time?
- Late Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late, and how often?
- Balances on your Credit Cards - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe on them?
- Inquiries on Your Credit - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?
These factors are weighted slightly differently depending on the formula being used. The result is a single number: your FICO score. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher scores are better. Most borrowers getting a mortgage loan score 620 or above.
Your credit score affects your interest rate
Did you know? FICO 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 improve my FICO score?
What can you do to raise your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. Because the credit score is entirely based on a lifetime of credit history, it's hard to change it quickly. (Of course you must remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
How do I find out my credit score?
Before you can improve your FICO score, you have to get your score and be sure that the reports from each credit reporting agency are correct. Fair Isaac, the corporation that offered the first FICO score, sells credit scores on its website: myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score along with credit reports from all three reporting agencies. They also provide information and online tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.
You can get a free credit report once per year from the three major credit reporting agencies at 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 will be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to obtain the right mortgage for you.
Want to know more about your credit score? Call us: (904) 342-3622.