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Fico Scores

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Your credit bureau scores are typically called "FICO scores" because most credit bureau scores used in the United States are generated by software created by the Fair Isaac Company. FICO scores are offered to lenders by the three primary credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you've ever applied for a credit card or a loan, at least one these three reporting agencies has provided your potential lender with a credit report.

In addition to the credit report, lenders can purchase a copy of your credit score based on the information provided in the credit report. Your FICO score is calculated by a mathematical equation that assesses all different types of information that exist on your credit report with each specific agency. In the end, your FICO score is a number that represents your level of future credit risk.

Getting a FICO Score
Your credit report must contain at least one account that has been open for a period of six months or more if a FICO score is to be calculated on your credit report. Your credit report should also contain information on all accounts that have been updated in the last six months. In addition, the report must contain at least one account that has been updated in the past six months.

You need at least that much information on your credit report in order to get a FICO score. The higher the score you have, the lower the risk you are perceived to be by lenders. Your FICO score and your risk have an inverse relationship. If you have a low FICO score, then you are a high risk candidate. If you have a high FICO score, you are a low risk candidate.

Lenders use FICO scores as a tool to help them make lending decisions. However, your FICO score isn't the only thing lenders look at when deciding whether or not to grant a loan. In fact, many lenders use their own scores and their own formulas. These formulas will probably include your FICO score, but your FICO score won't comprise the entire formula.

Lenders Look at Different Things
Different lenders have different standards. What one lender feels is an acceptable level of risk another lender might find unacceptable. Lenders have different strategies when it comes to granting loans and some are willing to take more risks than others. Many people I've talked to in the past thought there was a cutoff point lenders used when examining FICO scores. That is absolutely not true.

Your FICO score changes all the time. If you were delinquent on some credit card payments your FICO score will drop and lenders will consider you to be a risk. However, your FICO score will rise if you consistently make all your payments on time over a period of time. Fortunately, you aren't stuck with your current FICO score.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your FICO score. First, make sure you pay your bills on time. Late payments and bills referred to collections agencies will have a negative impact on your score. If you have missed some payments, get current and stay there no matter what. Even if you pay off a collection account, it will remain as a stain on your credit report for seven years.



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