About the FICO Credit Score

Since we live in an automated society, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage boils down to a single number. Credit reporting agencies use your history of paying all types of loans in order to compile a FICO score.

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, the differences aren't huge; each agency uses the following factors in building a credit score:

  • Your Credit History - How long have you had credit?
  • Late Payments - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many credit card accounts do you hold, and how much do you owe?
  • Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?

These factors are weighted slightly differently depending on the formula being used. The result is a single number: your credit score. FICO scores can be as low as 300 and as high as 800. Higher is better. Most people getting a mortgage loan in the current environment score 620 or above.

Your score greatly affects 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 credit score?

What can you do about your FICO score? Very little in the short term. Since the credit score is based on your lifelong credit history, it's very hard to change it quickly. (Of course you must remove incorrect data on your credit report.)

How do I find out my FICO score?

Before you can improve your FICO score, you have to know your score and make certain 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 credit reporting agencies. Also available are 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 all three agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. You won't get a free credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com, but getting one is quick and inexpensive.

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

Want to know more about your FICO score? Call us at (718) 639-9500.

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