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Understanding Your FICO Credit Score

Jul 15, 2008
The FICO credit score, or simply FICO score, is perhaps the most important aspect of your credit report and history. Why is it important? Because it is the score MOST creditors use to rate your risk level, and determine whether to give you a loan or credit and at what interest rate.

Why is the FICO credit score rating so confusing? One thing you should know is that all the credit reporting agencies refer to their scoring by different names.

The Equifax Company calls their FICO score rating their Beacon credit rating score. TransUnion calls their credit scoring model the Empirica model. And at Experian, they call their scoring model the Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model. While we're referring to one scoring model, Fair Isaac, they confuse us by referring to various names.

One important thing to know is that not all credit bureaus offer the true FICO score to consumers. Only one of the three major credit bureaus currently offers you this all-important score. The others offer their own versions, which sometimes differ greatly from the FICO model.

The three major credit bureaus do not share the same information. Each creditor chooses which bureau they will deal with. It's completely up to the creditor which bureau will get the information about you. This is why it's essential to check all three credit reports. Each one contains different information and all three may not have the same creditors listed.

You must examine your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus before applying for any large loans such as a mortgage loan. Try repairing any errors on all three reports before shopping for any loans because it takes time to correct your credit score and a minimum of 30 days to fix those trademark mistakes.

One common myth, among several others, is that credit counseling can hurt your credit score.

Any of the credit scoring models don't know you're dealing with a credit counseling agency. FICO credit score rating systems ignore any reference to credit counseling that may be in your file.

The FICO credit scoring researchers found that people receiving credit counseling are not likely to default on their debts any more often than those not getting credit counseling. Yes, people who commit to counseling sometimes fail because they cannot deal with the strict debt management rules.

Credit counseling may hurt your ability to get approved for a loan because you probably have had trouble paying creditors and that will show up on your credit report. Some lenders may back away from loan approvals if you are in credit counseling.

The best way to improve your credit score is by keeping current on payments. Each of your bills show up on the credit report and each late payment is also reflected.
About the Author
Now find out which companies offer you the true FICO credit score that most creditors use. David Kamau offers credit repair tips at his site and is offering a free credit secrets report for a limited time.
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