You Credit Score- How's Your FICO?
Since we live in an automated society, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage boils down to a single number.
Credit reporting agencies use your loan payment history in order to compile this score.
The three agencies use slightly different formulas to build a credit 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, all of the agencies use the following to determine your score:
- Your Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
- Payment History - Do you have a history of late payments?
- Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts? How much do you owe?
- Credit Inquiries - 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 results are added up and distilled into a single number. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is always better. Most home buyers likely find their FICO scores falling between 620 and 800.
Not just for qualifying
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.
Improving your score
What can you do about your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. Since the credit score is entirely based on your lifelong credit history, it's hard to significantly improve the number with quick fixes. (Of course you must remove incorrect data on your credit report.)
How do I find out my FICO score?
Before you can improve your FICO score, you must get your score and make certain that the reports from each agency are correct. Fair Isaac, the company that invented the original FICO score, sells credit scores on myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score as well as reports from all three 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 per year from the three major 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.
Now that you have all the facts, you'll be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to obtain the right mortgage for you.
Curious about credit scores? Call us: (334) 285-8850.