About the FICO Credit Score

Since we live in an automated, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay virtually any loan comes down to a single number. The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills can be analyzed, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.

The three credit reporting agencies use slightly different formulas to build a credit score. Fair Isaac and Cooriginally developed this score. . While Experian still calls its score "FICO", TransUnion calls its score "Beacon" and Equifax uses "Empirica." While the formulas vary, all of the agencies use the following to build a credit score:

  • Your Credit History - Have you had credit for many years, or for a short time?
  • History of Payments - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many accounts do you carry? How much do you owe?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of giving you a loan?

These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. Each formula produces a single number which may vary slightly by agency. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is always better. Most borrowers getting a mortgage these days have a score above 620.

Credit scores make a difference in your interest rate

Did you know? 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.

Can I raise my FICO score?

How can you raise your credit score? So called "credit repair" companies advertise quick fixes, but the FICO score is based on your lifetime credit history, so you can't turn it around right away. (Of course you must appeal incorrect items on your credit report.)

Know your FICO score

To raise your score, you've got to obtain the reports that the agencies use 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 along with credit reports from all three reporting agencies. They also provide 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 every year from the three major credit reporting agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting it is fast and very inexpensive.

Armed with this info, you'll be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage.

Curious about your FICO score? Call us: 352-369-4200.

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