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 comes down to just one number. All the years you've been paying your various bills: your mortgage, vehicle 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.

All three 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 calculate your score:

  • Credit History - Have you had credit for 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 carry? How much do you owe on your accounts?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of lending you money?

Each of these factors is assigned a value and a weight. The result is one number. Credit scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is always better. Most home buyers have a score above 620.

Not just for qualifying

FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Lenders give lower interest rates to individuals with higher scores.

Improving your score

How can you raise your credit score? Some companies promise quick fixes, but they can't do anything different than what you can do — for free. (Of course you can and should remove incorrect data on your credit report.)

How do I find out my FICO score?

Before you can improve your credit score, you have to obtain your score and make sure that the credit 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 credit reports from all three agencies. Also available are helpful information and online tools that help you improve your FICO score.

You can get a free credit report once a 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 one is quick and very inexpensive.

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

Curious about your FICO score? Give us a call at (727) 527-1454.

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