FICO - Your Credit Score
Since we live in an computer-driven society, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage loan boils down to a single number.
The years of paying your various bills: your mortgage, car 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.
Each of the three credit agencies has its own formula for building your credit score. The original FICO score 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 each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, the differences aren't huge; they all use the following in calculating your credit score:
- Credit History - How long have you had credit?
- Payment History - Do you pay your bills on time?
- Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
- Inquiries on Your 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 results are added up and distilled into a single number. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher is always better. Most borrowers who want to get a mortgage these days score 620 or above.
Not just for qualifying
FICO scores affect more than your ability to get a loan. They also affect your interest rate. Higher scores indicate you are probably a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
Improving your score
Is it possible to raise your FICO score? So called "credit repair" companies advertise quick fixes, but the FICO score is built on your lifelong credit history, so it's not possible to raise it significantly in the short term. You must remove any incorrect data on your credit report; this is really the only "quick fix" for credit problems.
How do I find out my credit score?
In order to raise your credit score, you must get the reports that are used to build it. Of course, you need the score as well. Fair Isaac, the company that invented the first FICO score, offers credit scores on myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score along with reports from all three reporting agencies. They also provide helpful information and online tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.
You can get a free credit report every year from all three 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 information, you will be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to get the right mortgage for you.
Want to know more about credit scores? Give us a call: 214-300-8756.