FICO - Your Credit Score
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Since we live in an computer-driven world, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage boils down to just one number. All the years you've been paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills are analyzed, sliced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.
Each of the three credit reporting agencies has its own formula for building your 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 build your score:
- Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
- History of Payments - Do you have any payments later than 30 days?
- Credit Card Balances - How many accounts? How much do you owe?
- Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of giving you a loan?
These factors are weighted differently depending on the formula being used. Each formula produces a single number which may vary slightly by agency. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher scores are better. Most people who want to get a mortgage loan have a score above 620.
Credit scores make a difference in interest rates
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 a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
Improving your score
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do to immediately improve 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 must remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
Know your FICO
Before you can improve your FICO score, you must obtain your score and ensure that the credit reports from each reporting agency are correct. Fair Isaac, the company that offered the original FICO score, offers scores on myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score as well as credit reports from all three reporting agencies. Also available are helpful information and tools that can 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 at 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 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 your FICO score? Call us: (615) 717-3185 or (615) 417-2129.