About the FICO Credit Score

Since we live in an computer-driven world, it's not surprising that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to a single number. Credit reporting agencies use your payment history to create this score.

All three credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a score. The original FICO score was developed by Fair Isaac and Company. While Experian still calls its score "FICO", TransUnion calls its score "Beacon" and Equifax uses "Empirica." While the formulas vary, all of the agencies use the following to build a credit score:

  • Your Credit History - How many years have you had credit?
  • History of Payments - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Your Credit Card Balances - How many accounts do you have, 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 which formula the agency uses. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher scores are better. Most borrowers getting a mortgage 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

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 appeal for the credit agency to remove any incorrect reporting on your credit report; this is the only "quick fix" for credit troubles.

How do I find out my FICO score?

To raise your score, you must obtain the reports that the agencies use to build it, and of course, you need the score itself. Fair Isaac, the corporation that offered the original FICO credit score, offers scores on its website: myFICO.com. It's inexpensive, fast, and easy to get your credit score along with credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies. They also provide information and tools that help you improve your credit score.

You can get a free credit report every year from the three major agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports do not include a free 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 get the right mortgage for you.

Curious about credit scores? Give us a call: (786) 262-6486.

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