FICO - Your Credit Score
Since we live in an automated society, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage boils down to a single number.
The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, vehicle 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.
All three major credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at 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 the formulas vary, the differences aren't huge; all of the agencies use the following factors in calculating a score:
- Your Credit History - How long have you had credit?
- History of Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late, and how often?
- Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you hold, and how much do you owe?
- Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?
Each of these factors is assigned a value and a weight. Each formula produces a single number which may vary a a little from one agency to another. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Typical home buyers probably find their FICO scores falling above 620.
FICO makes a difference in your interest rate
Credit scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Lenders give lower interest rates to individuals with higher scores.
Improving your 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, of course, remove any incorrect data from your credit report; this is really the only "quick fix" for credit troubles.
Getting your FICO score
Before you can improve your FICO score, you must obtain your score and make sure that the reports from each credit reporting agency are correct. Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that lets you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO score from all three agencies, along with your credit report. Also available are helpful information and tools that help you understand how to improve your credit score.
You can get a free credit report once per year from all three credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting one is quick and very inexpensive.
Armed with this information, 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 credit scores? Call us: 561-395-4264.