FICO - Your Credit Score

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Since we live in an automated world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to a single number. Credit reporting agencies use your loan payment history in order to build your FICO score.

The three agencies use slightly different formulas to build a 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 these methods vary, the differences aren't huge; they all use the following in building a score:

  • Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • Late Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
  • Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?

These factors are weighted differently depending on which formula the agency uses. Each formula produces a single number which varies slightly from one agency to another. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Higher is better. Most people getting a mortgage loan have a score above 620.

Not just for qualifying

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.

Can I improve my FICO score?

What can you do to improve your FICO score? Very little in the short term. Some companies promise quick fixes, but they can't do anything different than what you can do — for free. You should appeal for the credit agency to remove any incorrect data on your credit report; this is the only "quick fix" for credit troubles.

Getting your credit score

To raise your credit score, you must get the reports that the agencies use to build it, and of course, you need the score itself. Fair Isaac, the corporation that offered the original FICO score, offers scores on It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score as well as reports from all three agencies. They also provide information and tools that help you understand how to improve your credit score.

You can get a free credit report every year from the three major credit reporting agencies at You won't get a free credit score from, but getting it is quick and very inexpensive.

Now that you have all the facts, you'll be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage.

Want to know more about your FICO score? Call us: 561-575-5626.