For decades, a single number between 300 and 850 has largely determined whether you could get a loan. It’s your FICO credit score, of course. But that’s changed. Now there are two FICO scores. Fair Isaac and Company, or FICO, has a new system to measure your credit worthiness. Financial planner and teacher Rob West has the details and explains how it works to your advantage or not. Then it’s your calls at 800-525-7000.
- FICO is now offering two different scoring methods to lenders and if you follow the basic rules about credit scores you have nothing to worry about.
- The rules are pay your bills on time, never have a balance that’s more than 30-percent of your available credit, keep the number of credit accounts to a minimum, and don’t apply for several loans or credit cards at once.
- The traditional FICO score is based on five factors, each making up a percentage of your score. Payment history is the big one … whether you’ve made at least your minimum payments on time. That makes up a full 35-percent of your score.
- That’s followed by the total amount you owe in relation to your income comprising 30-percent. Then the length of your payment history accounts for 15-percent, followed by the types of accounts you have, 10-percent, and last new credit, another 10-percent. When FICO crunches those numbers, they come up with a score somewhere between 300 and 850.
- The new score, which is called the FICO Resilience Index or FRI, essentially tosses out your payment history, historically, the single most important factor in determining your credit worthiness.
- It’s designed to predict which consumers are more likely to default on payments during a time of economic stress. That explains the word “resilience” in the name.
- The new score doesn’t replace the old score, but instead gives lenders just one more tool to use when deciding whether to give you a loan.
- The new score is based on pretty much the four remaining factors of the old score - Your credit mix, meaning the types of accounts you have.
- The total of your revolving balances. Obviously, the lower that number, the better.
- Next is the number of active accounts you have. FICO says resilient consumers have only about three active accounts, while less resilient consumers have more like 10.
- The number of inquiries lenders have made concerning your credit. More resilient people have one or less in the past year … less resilient folks have between one and three.
Here are some questions we answered from our callers on this program:
- My credit score is in the 700s. How can I get it in the 800s?
- I am in the market to buy my first home and the homes I am looking at are selling for more than what the home owners want to ask for them. Should I wait to buy?
- I received an unexpected pension of 16K. I owe 8K on my car. I want to keep some of it liquid to make some needed home renovations. I receive disability every month. I would like to put the money somewhere where it will grow. Advice?
- My parents have done a will. Is this the best way for me to inherit?
- My credit score went down 8 points in June because of a Sears credit card. What is the best way to cancel this card and not reduce my credit score more?
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