FICO Has Your Number

Retirement

FICO Has Your Number

Be mindful of the factors that impact your credit score and know your numbers.

March 23, 2015

When engineer Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac founded a business in 1956 dedicated to the principle that data, used intelligently, can improve business decisions, they had no idea their Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) would grow into a global credit rating agency. As it happened, they were on the cusp of the consumer credit explosion. Today, FICO scores annually factor into about 10 billion decisions worldwide, the company says.

Other credit-rating sources exist, but the bulk of U.S. lending institutions rely on FICO. Individual scores range from 300 to 850, and almost 40% of the scores are “high” – 750 or above. The average score is around 690, a relatively meaningless figure; only your individual score matters in determining whether credit will be extended and on what terms.

Anatomy of your credit score

The company uses relative weightings of five data elements to determine your score.

What FICO doesn’t count

Contrary to what many believe, FICO says it ignores:

  • Your age
  • Your salary, occupation, job title, employer and employment history
  • Your ZIP code
  • Interest rates you are paying
  • By law, it may not consider your race, color, religion, national origin, sex or marital status

 

Sources: fico.com, nationalbusiness.org, finance.yahoo.com, wsj.com, creditcards.com, governing.com



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