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What is FICO Score?

You may have heard the term ‘FICO score’ if you have tried to apply for a credit card, vehicle loan, mortgage, or another type of loan. FICO Score is a three-digit figure in the range of 300 to 850 (can reach 900 in case of some industries). Creditors can use this score to determine how likely you are going to pay back your debts by basing them in large part on your credit reports. Credit reports are statements produced by consumer credit reporting bureaus that explain your credit activity and existing credit condition. 

 

FICO scores were created by Fair Isaac Corp. based on various scoring methodologies. There are several variations of these scores. FICO scores help potential lenders analyse the data in your credit report to assess how likely you are to make timely payments on your debts. When deciding whether to offer credit to a customer, lenders frequently utilise FICO ratings.

Types of FICO Scores

FICO offers more than a handful of credit score variations, divided into two broad categories of base scores and sector-specific ratings. Periodically, FICO also produces updated versions of its credit score designed to build on the previous edition and provide lenders with a score that is more accurate and trustworthy. There may be numerous iterations of each scoring model as a result, although lenders are free to continue with an earlier iteration if they so want.

 

With the intention of integrating seamlessly with the three main credit agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, the base FICO score too has numerous variations. The FICO Score 9 is the most recent version of the same. Scores like the FICO Bankcard Score as well as the FICO Auto Score are examples of sector-specific scores.

  • Base Scores

Base score ratings is a widely used rating that lets creditors know if you're likely to pay back any debt, including credit card or loan payments. 

  • Sector-specific Scores

These scores are specific to particular industries and are tailored to certain credit products such as home loans or credit cards. These industry-specific ratings indicate your chances of repaying a specific loan.

How to Check Your FICO Score Online?

Many card issuers offer open access to their users' credit scores. You normally must be the principal account holder on a consumer card in order to access your free FICO Score. You may see your free FICO credit score on the online portal, once you've satisfied the eligibility conditions. Additionally, you may see the FICO score on the business's main website. A premium version of the report is also provided for which you will have to pay a charge. 

The steps needed to check your scores are- 

  • Step1: Go to the appropriate website Choosing whether to check your credit score, credit report, or both is the first step. You may check the credit for free by logging into your account online with many credit card issuing companies. Anyone can get a free FICO® Score from Discover; you don't need to be a client. 

  • Step 2: Obtain your score or report. You must actually ask for your report or score once you're on a website that lets you check your credit score. Typically, you can begin the process of checking your credit score by clicking a button that says "See Your Score." However, you must choose which report to view if you want to examine your credit report.

  • Step 3: Enter the information you need to. The website you're visiting will want some identifiable details from you in order to obtain your report or score. Your full name, birth date, present address, and all previous addresses you've occupied in the last two years are all included in this.

  • Step 4: Carefully go over your score or report. You can view your report or credit score after proving your identification. Make sure to give each a close look.

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How Does FICO Calculate Credit Score?

The consumer credit reports contain information that determines your FICO credit scores, and various pieces of information can increase or decrease your ratings. For instance, paying your bills on time may improve your grades while paying them late may lower them.

 

FICO divides its scoring criteria into five areas, assigning a percentage score depending on the weightage of each category, however weightage might vary from person to person.

Factor affecting FICO Score

Percentage (%)

Payment history

35

Amount owed

30

Length of credit history

15

Credit mix

10

New credit

10

FICO Score Ranges

Now that you understand what makes up your FICO Score, you must be wondering what a good FICO Score is? 

FICO Score

Rating

<580

Poor

580-669

Fair

670- 739

Good

739-799

Very good

800+

Exceptional

You are believed to be a risky or unreliable borrower if your FICO Score falls in the ‘poor’ category. But as it moves into the ‘fair’ category, many lenders will start to approve credit for you. Being in the ‘good’ category is really helpful for you as a borrower as most lenders tend to think of you as a good borrower. While moving up to the ‘very good’ category makes you a dependable borrower in the eyes of the creditors. Lastly, as your score reaches the ‘exceptional’ category, lenders start to see you as a very safe and exceptional borrower. 

Benefits and Importance of Your FICO Score

FICO scores are frequently used by many different types of creditors when deciding whether to accept any kind of loan or credit card application. It paints a picture for them of your credit management style in the past. In order to determine if you have the resources to repay them, they also look at other data, such as your earnings and past debts.

 

You may have more options and access to cheaper interest rates if your credit score falls in the good, very good or exceptional categories mentioned above. Utility providers and/or landlords may potentially base your deposit amount or acceptance as a renter on your credit score.

 

Your chances of getting a loan with favourable rates and terms increase with an increase in your credit score. If you receive lesser scores, your loan requests may be approved on worse conditions than if you were granted better scores. Higher premium rates from insurance companies may also be a result for borrowers with poorer scores. Checking your scores may enable you to ascertain whether or not the lender is likely to provide you favourable conditions and the possibility that your application will be granted.

What Affects Your FICO Scores?

There are 5 main factors that affect your FICO Score- 

  • Payment history:

Among the most crucial aspects in calculating your ratings is your track record of making payments on time. Your credit account payments, both on time and late, as well as public records of non-payments, such as bankruptcy, are included in your payment history.

  • Accounts owed:

How much credit you have accessible to you, what you owe on credit accounts like cards and instalment loans, and how much of that credit you are really utilising.

  • Credit history duration:

The age of your accounts, for how long have you had access to your newest as well as oldest accounts, the mean age of all your accounts and when you last used the particular accounts.

  • Credit mix:

The sorts of accounts you hold, like home loans, retail loans and credit card accounts are included in your credit mix. Although it's not important, it is nonetheless taken into account when calculating your ratings.

  • New credit:

Your FICO scores might be impacted by recent account openings and new credit queries.

How to Improve Your FICO Score?

Reviewing your credit report should be the first step in trying to enhance your FICO score. It helps you set the course for making the changes that can help you better your score. Your credit record serves as your GPS when it comes to credit ratings. Examine the credit report from each of the three credit reporting organisations carefully for any errors. Contact the credit bureau and your lender to raise concerns about erroneous or missing information. For more information about contesting inaccuracies on your credit report, read on. By correcting mistakes in your credit history, you can improve your FICO score.

 

Secondly, your payment history is one of the key elements used to calculate your FICO score. Your FICO score can be  improved by simply making credit card and loan payments on time, and FICO score can be negatively impacted by late payments of 30 days or more.

 

Moreover, the amount of credit you utilise as a percentage of the overall credit you have access to is a significant component in determining your FICO score. Because it shows that you aren't overextended and that you're more likely to utilise credit responsibly. Lower credit utilisation often makes you more appealing to lenders.

FAQs on FICO Score

Every time there is a change, your FICO score is typically updated. The majority of banks and financial institutions offer monthly reports on their clients, and your FICO score is modified if any transaction parameter changes during that month.

Your VantageScore may differ somewhat from your FICO score since the VantageScore gives the five criteria mentioned above slightly differing weights. Additionally, they use distinct scoring criteria: FICO needs at least one tradeline that is older than six months and has had activity during the last six months in order to generate a score. VantageScore, in contrast, has a single tradeline criterion but no age restriction.

Your FICO score is just one kind of credit score. In reality, you have a variety of credit ratings from several credit agencies and credit programmes.

FICO scores between 670-739 are considered as good FICO scores. Any score above this is considered very good or exceptional.

There is a widespread misconception that there is just one kind of credit score. Contrary to popular belief, credit scores can really be broadly categorised into two groups: FICO® ratings and VantageScores. 

Additionally, the FICO score may differ from or be lower than the non-FICO credit ratings. FICO scores can range between 300 to 850, although the norms set by the industry can be anything between 250 and 900.

Moreover, each bureau generates scores using algorithms that are distinct from those used by FICO. In addition to this lenders might still evaluate your creditworthiness using outdated credit scoring models like FICO Models 4 or 5.

You can get the finest terms on a credit card or a loan, as well as a cheaper interest rate on your present accounts, with the aid of a high FICO score. While a poor score will have the exact opposite effect.

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