How FICO Credit Scores Are Calculated
Since we live in an automated society, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to a single number.
This score is created by credit agencies. They use the payment history of all of your loans: credit cards, mortgages, car/boat loans etcetera.
Each of the three credit agencies has its own formula for building your 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 from one agency to another, each agency uses the following to build your credit score:
- Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
- Payment History - Do you have any payments later than 30 days?
- Balances on your Credit Cards - How many accounts do you hold? How much do you owe?
- Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit report for the purpose of giving you a loan?
These factors are weighted differently depending on which formula the agency uses. Each formula produces a single number which may vary slightly from one agency to another. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher is always better. Most people getting a mortgage loan score 620 or above.
Your score affects your monthly payment
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?
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do to immediately improve your credit score. Some companies promise quick fixes, but they can't do anything different than what you can do — for free. You must remove any incorrect reporting on your credit report, which is the only "quick fix" for credit problems.
Know your FICO
Before you can improve your credit score, you must obtain your score and be sure that the reports from each agency are correct. 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 credit reporting agencies. They also provide helpful information and tools that 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 all three agencies by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports do not include a free credit score, but it's very inexpensive to get one at the same time.
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? Give us a call at (303) 228-2254.