Part 1 of 3
How FICO Scores Work
When you apply for credit - whether for a credit card, a car loan, or a mortgage - lenders want to know what risk they’d take by loaning money to you.
FICO scores are the credit scores most lenders use to determine your credit risk. You have three FICO scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. As this information changes, your credit scores tend to change as well.
Your 3 FICO scores affect both how much and what loan terms (interest rate, etc.) lenders will offer you at any given time.
Taking steps to get your FICO scores in the higher ranges can help you qualify for better rates from lenders.
Part 2 of 3
Higher FICO Scores = Lower Payments
The higher your FICO® scores, the less you pay to buy on credit - no matter whether you're getting a home loan, cell phone, a car loan, or signing up for credit cards.
For example, on a $150,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage:
|Your FICO® Score||Your interest rate||Your monthly payment|
|760 - 850||5.78%||$878|
|700 - 759||6%||$899|
|680 - 699||6.18%||$916|
|660 - 679||6.39%||$937|
|640 - 659||6.82%||$980|
|620 - 639||7.37%||$1,035|
As you can see, in the example above using today's national rates, a person with FICO scores of 760 or better will pay $262 less per month for a $150,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage than a person with FICO scores below 620 - that's a savings of $3,144 a year.
You can see how essential it is to get your scores in the higher ranges if they are low, and also how important it is to keep them high if they are good.
Part 3 of 3
Know and Improve Your FICO Scores
The first step to improving your FICO scores is getting access to your current FICO scores and credit reports. myFICO offers instant online access to all three of your current FICO scores and credit reports.
Once you've gotten access to your FICO scores, you'll want to know how to improve them. myFICO is the ideal starting place if you’re new to learning about managing your personal credit risk and improving your FICO scores over time. myFICO offers an explanation of the positive and negative factors affecting your scores and access to the FICO Score Simulator, which helps you decide the best ways to improve your FICO scores over time.