You Credit Score- How's Your FICO?

Since we live in an computer-driven society, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage 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, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.

TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, the three major credit agencies, each have a proprietary 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 each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, all of the agencies use the following to build a credit score:

  • Your Credit History - Have you had credit for many years, or for a short time?
  • History of Payments - Have you paid more than 30 days late?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards - How many credit card accounts do you hold, and how much do you owe?
  • Requests for Credit - How many times have lenders pulled your credit for the purpose of lending you money?

These factors are weighted differently depending on which formula the agency uses. Each formula produces a single number which may vary slightly from one agency to another. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher is better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.

Your credit score greatly affects your monthly payment

FICO scores affect more than your ability to get a loan. They also affect your interest rate. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

Raising your credit score

What can you do about your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. 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.)

Know your FICO score

To raise your credit score, you've got to get the reports that are used to build it, and of course, you need the score itself. Fair Isaac, the company that offered the original FICO credit score, offers FICO 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 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 per year from all three agencies by visiting 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 will be a more informed consumer and you'll be better positioned to get the most favorable mortgage.

Want to know more about credit scores? Call us at 703.255-5810.

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