Your FICO® Score
The FICO score is calculated in a mathematical equation based solely on information in your credit file maintained by the credit reporting agencies. This mathematical formula was devised by Fair, Isaac and Company – hence the name, FICO. While a credit report is your detailed financial history, the FICO score, like a snapshot, represents your creditworthiness as a number at any given time.
FICO scores range from 300 to 850; a higher score indicates a lower credit risk. Although knowing your actual score can help you make realistic financial decisions, it is more important to understand the key factors affecting your score. The FICO score evaluates five main categories of information:
- Your payment history: Includes detailed payment information in regards to the number and severity of late or missed payments. This is the category given the most weight in determining your score.
- Amounts owed: Examines your total debt and the distribution of the amount owed over your accounts.
- Length of credit history: Reports how long you have had your accounts and when you last used them.
- New credit: A report on the number of recently opened accounts and the frequency of credit inquiries.
- Type of credit use: Takes a look at what kinds of credit accounts and how many of each type you have.
Since your credit score is a crucial factor in determining the amount, rate and terms you qualify for, it’s advised that you check your credit report periodically for accuracy.
You can order a credit report or find out more about credit scores by contacting any of the three main credit reporting agencies:Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Experian (1-888-397-3742) TransUnion (1-800-680-7289). Ordering your credit report directly from these agencies does not affect your credit score.