1. What is a FICO® Score?
A FICO® Score is a type of credit score, which is a three-digit number that summarizes the data in your credit report. A FICO® Score is one of the many pieces of information lenders use to determine how likely you are to pay back a loan and to decide if they will lend you money. This is also known as your “credit risk”. When it comes to borrowing money, your FICO® Score may impact your interest rate and/or loan term.
2. When is a FICO® Score used?
Since FICO® Scores are used in over 90% of lending decisions, a lender may use your credit score when you apply for any kind of loan, mortgage or credit card, or when you request a credit card line increase.
3. How does my FICO® Score represent my creditworthiness?
The higher your FICO® Score, the lower credit risk you may be considered. Your score is made up of five key factors. These five factors are payment history, total amount owed, length of credit history, types of credit and new credit. Each factor impacts your credit score by a certain percent.
Determined by how well you pay credit accounts. This includes credit cards, mortgage, student loans, car loans and auto leases. Lenders like to see consistent, on-time payments and no delinquencies on all accounts.
Considers how much debt you already have and how much of your available credit you use.
Length of Credit History
Considers how long your accounts have been open. A longer credit history provides more payment history information that can be used to determine your FICO® Score.
Types of Credit
Considers the mix of accounts you have, such as credit cards, retail accounts, other lines of credit and installment loans.
This represents the frequency of credit inquiries and new account openings.
4. What is considered a good FICO® Score?
The range between a “good” and “bad” FICO® Score depends on the type of FICO® Score being used. There are actually different types of FICO® Scores institutions use depending on the industry. It is possible for auto lenders, credit card companies and mortgage companies to use different types of FICO® Scores.
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union uses FICO® Score 2, based on Experian data.
The range of FICO® Score 2 is 300-850. Here is how the scores are broken down:
800 or higher: Exceptional
740-799: Very Good
579 or lower: Poor
5. What is the benefit of using a FICO® Score?
Using a FICO® Score makes the process of lending and obtaining credit more streamlined. It also makes it fair amongst all borrowers because everyone’s credit risk is determined by the same standard.
6. Why is a FICO® Score important?
A FICO® Score gives lenders a fast, objective estimate of your credit risk. A FICO® Score may help you get credit faster, save you money, expand the amount of credit made available to you, and provide unbiased credit decisions.
7. What if I don’t have a FICO® Score?
Not everyone has a FICO® Score. Below are a few reasons you may not have a score:
- You do not have one account that has been open for six months or more.
- You do not have at least one account that has been reported to a credit bureau within the past six months.
- Your credit report states that you are deceased.
Please keep in mind that these are just a few possible reasons why you may not have a FICO® Score. There could be something else within your credit report that causes you to not have a score.
8. Why did I receive the FICO® Score shown?
As mentioned previously, your credit score is determined by five key actors. When viewing your FICO® Score, take a look at the “Score Factors” section. This section tells you the factors that are affecting your fcredit score most. Be sure to note the order in which the score factors are listed. The first factor indicates the area that impacts your score the most, and the second factor has the next most significant influence. Addressing these factors can benefit the score.
9. I received my FICO® Score from somewhere else, why is it different?
Because institutions use different types of scores, it’s normal for your credit score to vary between institutions. If you receive your credit score from one institution, and it is different from the one you received from another institution, consider the following:
- Which type of credit score is being used?
→ Each type of credit score uses a different scoring model. The two credit scores
you are comparing could be based on two different score versions.
- What date was the credit score pulled?
→ Information on your credit report changes as the way you handle credit changes.
Take a look at the date each score was pulled. It’s possible that they were pulled at two different times, which could explain any variance.
- Which credit bureau provided the scores?
→ Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all hold different information in your credit report, and therefore, scores from each bureau will not be the same. Check to see which bureau calculated the score. If you see that it’s from two different bureaus, this is likely a reason for the discrepancy. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union obtains consumer credit data from Experian.
10. Why does my score fluctuate?
Since your FICO® Score is based on the information in your credit report, and that information changes as you change the way you handle credit, it is normal for your score to fluctuate. Each time you check your FICO® Score, take a look at the Score Factors. These will be good indicators as to what is causing your score to increase or decrease.
11. How can I view my credit report?
You can view your credit report for free on annualcreditreport.com. You can also call 1-877- 322-8228 or submit the Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You are allowed to order one free copy of your credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion once every 12 months.
It’s advised that you view your credit report throughout the year to ensure all information is accurate. Staying on top of your credit reports could also help you catch possible fraud or identity theft in the event you become a victim. A good habit to obtain is to order your credit report from one credit bureau every four months. That way, at the end of the year, you’ve viewed your report once from each bureau, and can continue to monitor it each year.
12. Does pulling my credit report myself cause my FICO® to decrease?
No. Checking your FICO® Score or pulling your own credit report will not hurt your score.
13. What if I notice an error on my credit report?
If you notice an error on your credit report, immediately contact the credit bureau that notes the error and the institution that provided the information to the credit bureau in writing.
Viewing Your FICO® Score in Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union Online Banking
To view your FICO® Score in your online banking, click FICO® Score from the left-side menu, then accept the disclosure.
NOTE: If you are using a desktop computer, and you do not see the FICO® Score menu option, it may be located within the More… option, or you may have to add it to your menu. To add it, click the More… button and select Widget Options. Under “Available”, find the FICO® Score option and click “Add”. If you are using our mobile app and do not see the FICO® Score option in the left-side menu, follow the previous instructions for adding it from the Widget Options on desktop.
Once you accept the disclosure, you are enrolled in our free FICO® Score service.
Your score will be updated each quarter. After you enroll, you will see the below message until the FICO® Scores are updated in our system the following quarter. You can check back once we update the FICO® Scores, and from that point on, your score will always be available to view.
If you decide you would like to unenroll once your score becomes available, you can do so at any time by clicking the link to opt out. You can opt back in at any point by accessing the FICO® Score menu option again and accepting the disclosure.
Reading your FICO®Score
To access even more Frequently Asked Questions about FICO® Scores, visit ficoscore.com.
FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under the federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Jeanne D’Arc and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or advise or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.