FICO Credit Scores: What Do They Mean?

FICO RatingSince we live in a computer-driven world, it should come as no surprise that your ability to repay your mortgage comes down to just one number. The FICO score is created by credit reporting agencies. They use the payment history of all of your loans: mortgages, car/motorcycle loans, credit cards, and the like.

Check your credit score here

The three credit reporting agencies use slightly different formulas to build a credit score. The original FICO score was developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Experian uses this model and calls its score FICO. Equifax’s model, based on FICO, is called BEACON, while TransUnion, which also uses a slightly modified FICO, calls its score EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, the differences aren’t huge; all of the agencies use the following in calculating your score:

  • Your Credit History – Have you had credit for many years, or for a short time?
  • Payment History – Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Balances on your Credit Cards – How many credit card accounts do you have, and how much do you owe?
  • Inquiries on Your Credit – How many times have you had your credit checked for a loan?

These factors are assigned weights based on the formula being used. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. FICO scores range from 300 to 800. Higher scores are better. Most home buyers these days have a score above 620.

FICO makes a big difference in 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.

Improving your score

Is it possible to raise your FICO 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 appeal incorrect items on your credit report.)

Know your FICO

In order to improve your score, you must get the reports that are used to build it. Of course, you need the score as well. 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. They also provide helpful information and tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score.

You can get a free credit report every year from all three agencies when you visit AnnualCreditReport.com. While this report does not include a free credit score, the cost to “upgrade” your report to include a credit score is very reasonable.

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.

Do you have a question?

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Profoundly knowledgeable and professional.

We have had the distinct pleasure of working with Lori on multiple mortgage needs over several years. On each occasion...

Frankie & Melinda Waller

5.0
2015-12-21T09:37:22+00:00

Frankie & Melinda Waller

We have had the distinct pleasure of working with Lori on multiple mortgage needs over several years. On each occasion we have found her to be profoundly knowledgeable and professional, while at the same time being a joy to work with due to her enthusiasm, pleasant personality, and warmth.....Thank you Lori for all that you do!

Thank you so much!

Lori Anderson, Ashlynn Kelso, and the team @ Georgetown Mortgage, I know how lending guidelines make any conforming loan a...

Landon Smith

5.0
2015-12-21T09:38:11+00:00

Landon Smith

Lori Anderson, Ashlynn Kelso, and the team @ Georgetown Mortgage, I know how lending guidelines make any conforming loan a difficult process these days. I truly believe these two refi's wouldn't have been this smooth, or closed at all, anywhere else. I have, and will continue to refer anyone looking for a loan in TX to you guys. Thank you so much!

She used technology to make us feel like we’re in the same town.

We cannot speak highly enough of our experiences in working with Lori Anderson to arrange financing for our new home....

John and Carolyn Drummond

5.0
2015-12-21T09:39:36+00:00

John and Carolyn Drummond

We cannot speak highly enough of our experiences in working with Lori Anderson to arrange financing for our new home. For most of the process, we were in a different city from Lori, but she used technology to make us feel like we're in the same town. We felt as though we had a personal relationship with Lori. She could not have been more supportive, patient, and positive. I encourage anyone purchasing a home to contact Lori Anderson.

We couldn’t be happier.

A big thank you to Lori Anderson and her team. We couldn’t be happier with Georgetown Mortgage.

Ruben and Laura Vela

5.0
2015-12-21T09:40:09+00:00

Ruben and Laura Vela

A big thank you to Lori Anderson and her team. We couldn’t be happier with Georgetown Mortgage.

Friendly, warm, compassionate and understanding.

Lori and her team were able to complete my mortgage - start to finish - in 23 days. That is...

Jennifer Flinton

5.0
2015-12-21T09:36:16+00:00

Jennifer Flinton

Lori and her team were able to complete my mortgage - start to finish - in 23 days. That is unheard of in this industry where it normally takes 30-60 days, minimum. They were also able to help me write up not one, not two, but four offers on houses within that time period, providing the necessary paperwork promptly each time. But most importantly, Lori and her team were friendly, warm, compassionate, and understanding, on top of being professional and efficient. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
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