FICO - Your Credit Score

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Because our society is so automated, it's probably not that surprising that your creditworthiness boils down to a single number. Credit reporting agencies use your history of paying all types of loans in order to create this 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 from one agency to another, the differences aren't huge; they all use the following in calculating a credit score:

  • Credit History - Have you had credit for many years, or for just a short time?
  • Late Payments - Do you have a history of late payments?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many accounts do you have, and how much do you owe on them?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?

These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. The result is one number. FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Higher is always better. Most home buyers in the current environment have a score above 620.

Credit scores make a difference in your interest rate

Did you know? FICO 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 credit score?

Is it possible to raise your FICO 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 score

To improve your FICO score, you've got to get 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. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score as well as reports from all three reporting agencies. They also provide helpful information and online tools that can help you improve your credit score.

You can get a federally-mandated free credit report every year from all three agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting one is fast and very inexpensive.

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

Curious about your credit score? Call us: (808) 891-9292.

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