FICO - Your Credit Score
Since we live in an automated world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to just one number.
The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills can be analyzed, sliced, diced, 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 reporting agencies, each have a proprietary 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, each agency uses the following to calculate a credit score:
- Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
- Late Payments - Do you have a history of late payments?
- Credit Card Balances - How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe on them?
- Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?
These factors are weighted slightly differently depending on the formula being used. Each formula produces a single number which may vary a a little by agency. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher scores are better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.
FICO makes a difference in your interest rate
FICO scores affect more than your ability to get a loan. They also affect your interest rate. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
Raising your 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. (Of course you can and should appeal incorrect items on your credit report.)
How do I find out my FICO score?
In order to raise your FICO score, you've got to obtain the reports that are used to build it, and of course, you need the score itself. Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that lets you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can get your FICO score from all three agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are helpful information and 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 agencies when you visit 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.
Curious about your FICO score? Call us at 5613734149.