Obtaining copies of your credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus is a must for all American consumers. If you order your copies directly from each bureau, you can get yours for free [once per year per bureau]. That is the law. There is, however, one piece of information not included with your credit reports and that is your FICO score. Your FICO score can determine several things, including what interest rate mortgage lenders will charge you and the rate you will pay for your credit cards. For just a small fee you can order your FICO score and get a hold of a piece of information that is critical to you fully understanding and improving your credit rating.
FICO, or Fair Isaac Corporation, is a score that helps determine what interest rate creditors will charge you. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will be resulting in lower mortgage payments and more money for you. Indeed, when you apply for a new cell phone account, purchase a car, or make just about any type of credit application, your FICO score is obtained by creditors. Unfortunately, you typically do not know what that score is unless you get the information yourself. Don't count on creditors sharing that information with you!
Your FICO score is based on five determining factors. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, these five factors are weighted differently and each one is assigned a percentage figure based on their importance. Specifically, they are:
1. Payment History - 35%
2. Outstanding Balances - 30%
3. Length of Credit History - 15%
4. New Credit - 10%
5. Types of Credit Used - 10%
Obviously, if you have made several late payments and owe a large amount of money to your creditors, your FICO score will be much lower than the person who pays what they owe on time, has a manageable level of debt, and possesses a solid credit history.
Coupled with your credit report, your FICO score can help you determine the plan of attack you need to take to improve your credit standing. This is very important step to take especially if you anticipate making any sort of credit application within the next year. If there are errors in your credit report than these will lower your FICO score. Make certain that the three credit reporting bureaus correct each error now and, once amended, run your FICO score again to determine if it has been adjusted upwards.
Remember, the higher your FICO score, the lower your monthly payments will be on virtually everything you finance through a creditor. Order your free credit report today and pay a little extra to obtain your FICO score.
Copyright 2006 Ed Vegliante. Free online reprints of this article are allowed provided the resource box remains intact with a live link back to http://www.credit-card-surplus.com