Today, one of my Soldiers asked me how they could get a copy of their credit score and credit report. My answer to him was myFICO.com. It’s a great website. And, no I do not receive a dime to promote them. It’s a website and company that I have personally used. It is run by the Fair Isaacs Corporation, and they invented the FICO score (your credit score) that lenders use to measure your credit worthiness and likelihood to repay the money they loan you.
Just a quick recap….there are three credit bureaus that all of our banks, credit card companies, landlords, mortgage lenders, the federal government when you need a security clearance, and a host of other agencies and businesses use to evaluate how good you are with borrowing and repaying your loans. The three credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
The problem is that the three credit bureaus do not issue you a “credit score”. And that score is what a lot of lenders use and judge you on. For example, you need 750 or better to get a killer interest rate on a home mortgage these days. A person with a top credit score could expect to pay approximately 6% today for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, while someone with a poor score could pay as high as 10% for the same mortgage. The difference is tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the lifetime of the loan. A FICO credit score can range from 300 to 850. The median score is 725, and many lenders consider a score below 660 is a cause for concern.
Fair Isaac Corporation is the company that gives the official credit score. They are a private company not affiliated with the three credit bureaus. TransUnion and the others may claim to give you a score if you visit their website and pull your credit report from them, but that score is an estimate based on their own calculations. To get your real score you HAVE to get the Fair Isaacs Corporation’s FICO score. That’s the only one that matters. You can get it straight from the company’s website, myFICO.com. You can also get copies of all three of your credit reports from them for a fee (about $15 per report, but your score comes with it).
But wait…..you get one free credit report per year, right? Yes, you can request a credit report from one of the three at annualcreditreport.com and you should do that, but you will not get your credit score with the report. See the glitch now? myFICO.com is also an excellent resource for help fixing errors in your credit bureau reports and teaching consumers what they need to do to raise their credit scores. I will talk in future postings about what exactly makes up your credit score and tips you can do to increase it.
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