Why do you need to understand what a FICO® Score is and how it’s used?
The FICO® Score is the credit score most commonly used by U.S. lenders. Every day, thousands of lenders use it to more accurately understand your credit risk and make more well-informed credit granting decisions.
In a nutshell, the FICO® Score is a number that helps predict how likely you are to pay back a loan or other credit obligations in a timely fashion. The FICO® Scores are calculated from the data in your credit reports housed at the three main credit bureaus. The score considers payment history, use of available credit, plus other factors. Most of us have FICO® Scores for each of our credit reports.
Of course, if you don’t have any recently reported credit history, you won’t have a FICO® Score. FICO® Scores are dynamic and can change up or down if and when your data at the credit bureaus changes. And they’re calculated at the time you or a lender requests them. FICO® Scores generally range from 300 to 850. The higher the score, the less risky the borrower appears to lenders.
Ultimately, your FICO® Scores are in your hands, because it’s based on your credit habits as captured in your credit report. Your FICO® Scores do not determine whether you are approved for credit or what interest rate is assigned—that’s up to the lender. But it does help the lender make that credit granting decision.
So, why do FICO® Scores matter to you? First, it makes the lending process faster and more fair. It provides you with more credit choices at competitive rates. And you’ll get faster answers from lenders since the scores streamline the application process. And it applies the same set of standards to all borrowers. Finally, as you prepare to apply for a loan and view your own FICO® Scores, you can see what a lender sees—your credit history all rolled up in a three-digit number that helps predict your likelihood to pay your bills on time.