How FICO Credit Scores Are Calculated
Since our world is so computer-driven, it's probably not that surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage loan comes down to a single number.
All the years you've been paying your various bills: your mortgage, vehicle payments, and credit card bills can be 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. .
While Experian still calls its score "FICO", TransUnion calls its score "Beacon" and Equifax uses "Empirica." While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, each agency uses the following to build a score:
- Your 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?
- Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you hold? How much do you owe on your accounts?
- Inquiries on Your Credit - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?
These factors are weighted a little bit differently depending on which formula the agency uses. Each formula produces a single number which may vary a a little by agency. Credit scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher scores are better. Most people getting a mortgage loan these days score 620 or above.
FICO makes a huge difference in your interest rate
FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
Improving your score
How can you improve your credit score? Despite what you hear from "credit repair" companies, the score is formulated from your lifetime credit history, so you can't turn it around right away. You must remove any incorrect reporting on your credit report; this is really the only way to quickly improve your credit score.
Getting your FICO score
Before you can improve your credit score, you have to obtain your score and ensure that the reports from each reporting 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 reporting agencies. Also available are helpful information and tools that can help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.
You can get a federally-mandated free credit report once a year from the three major agencies by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting it is fast and very inexpensive.
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.
Want to know more about credit scores? Give us a call: (818)645-7035.