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FICO Credit Score

 

Are you a 780?  An 810?  A 423 (eek!)?

In today’s world people have become increasingly dependant on credit and most have no idea what their credit report score is. Until recently, you would have had no way to answer the ever-elusive question (and painfully unpopular pick-up line):

“So, what’s your credit score?”

 

What does FICO stand for?

Not Fido - FICO!

FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation. They are the ones who created the formula which defines your credit-worthiness.

FICO Score

Your FICO score used to be a highly classified number known only to lending professionals. But in March of 2001, credit bureaus lifted the veil of credit scoring and made your credit score rating readily available.

Now with just a few clicks, you can see those three magic digits. In FICOland, your number can range from the lowest score of 300 (extremely high risk) to the highest credit score of 850 (extremely low risk, a perfect credit score). 720 is considered an average credit score.

To get

  • Free credit monitoring and unlimited access to your credit report during the trial period
  • Verify your Credit Report is accurate
  • See who has been looking at your credit report
  • Protect yourself from Credit Fraud and Identity Theft
  • Apply Now!

So what’s the big deal?

Well, actually it IS a big deal. The lending industry uses your credit score numbers for a quick, impartial assessment of consumer credit risk to determine the likelihood of you paying back the money you borrowed. Sometimes this single measure can determine your fate in important matters like:

  • determining your interest rate
  • the amount of your down payment on a mortgage
  • the variety of mortgage types available to you
  • your ability to get a car loan
  • the premium on your auto or homeowners insurance
  • even your ability to get a job

If you have a good credit score, you’ll pay less interest and your request will be more likely to get approved. According to Fair Isaac, the FICO score is used in 75% of residential mortgage applications. If you want to get the best interest rates, you should have a good credit score over 720.

There are three major credit bureaus in the US: Experian (888-397-3742), TransUnion (800-680-7289), and Equifax (800-525-6285), each with an individual evaluation system, based on different factors. When you borrow money your lender sends information to a credit bureau which details, in the form of a credit report, how well you handled your debt. From the information in the credit report, the bureau determines a credit score. And as the information changes, your scores can change, too.

Credit Score Range

Free FICO Score

 

What’s In Your FICO Credit Score?

FICO scores provide the best guide to base credit worthiness. But no score says whether a specific individual will be a “good” or “bad” customer.

FICO scores are calculated from a lot of different credit data found in your credit report. Your credit report is a comprehensive rundown of your borrowing habits provided by the three major credit bureaus. The information in each is used to calculate an individual’s credit score. The primary factors include:

  • payment history
  • current debt, or level of indebtedness
  • length of time credit has been in use
  • type of credit used
  • amount of new credit
Free FICO Score

Even though all these factors are included in credit score calculations, they are not given equal weighting. The percentages in this chart reflect how important each of the categories is in determining your score.

Evidently, your credit rating is most affected by your historical tendency for paying off your debt. The biggest factor that can give you a good FICO score is having a history of paying off your debts fairly quickly. Additionally, maintaining low levels of indebtedness (not running up large balances on your credit cards), having a long credit history, and refraining from constantly applying for additional credit cards will all help your score.

 

Credit Score Calculator

Because the scoring systems are based on different criteria which are weighted differently, the three major credit bureaus may issue differing scores for an individual, even though the scores are based on the same information.

Although we would love to explain the exact formula to calculate credit score, due to the proprietary nature of the FICO score, the Fair Isaac Corporation does not reveal the exact formula.

What’s Not in Your Credit Score?

FICO scores take into account a wide range of information on your credit report. However, they do not consider:

  • Your race, color, religion, national origin, sex and marital status.
    US law prohibits credit scoring from considering these facts under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
  • Your age.
    FICO scores do not consider your age, but other types of scores may.
    Note: Although many lenders use FICO scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable for a given credit product. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders use to determine your actual interest rates.
  • Your salary, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history.
    However, lenders may consider this information, regardless of your credit score.
  • Where you live.

  • Any interest rate being charged on a particular credit card or other account.

  • Certain types of inquiries (requests for your credit report):

    “Consumer-initiated inquiries" (requests you have made to view your credit report)

    “Promotional inquiries” (requests made by lenders in order to make you a “pre-approved” credit offer)

    “Administrative inquiries” (requests made by lenders to review your account with them)

    Requests that are marked as coming from employers

  • Any information not found in your credit report.

  • Any information that is not proven to be predictive of future credit performance.

  • Whether or not you are participating in a credit counseling of any kind.

Who Is Allowed to See Your Credit Report?

Credit bureaus can only provide information to the following requestors:

  • Creditors who are considering granting or have granted you credit

  • Employers considering you for employment, promotion, reassignment, or retention

  • Insurers considering you for an insurance policy or reviewing an existing policy

  • Government agencies reviewing your financial status or government benefits

  • Potential landlord or property managers.

  • Any judicial court (usually limited to your name, address, former addresses, current and former employers)

  • Any third party if you request it in writing

Financial Info


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