Your credit score is one of the most important numbers you’ll encounter in your adult life. Having a solid FICO score, which is typically any score over 750, can help you get the best terms on a new mortgage, saving you thousands of dollars on interest, as well as lower your automotive premiums and even secure employment. And while you think you may know a lot about how your credit score is calculated, there are secrets to the way these numbers are calculated that may surprise you.
For starters, there are three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – and therefore three unique FICO scores and credit reports available. The reason for this is largely because each of these companies has different information regarding your credit history and a different methodology for composing a score.
Not only that, but not everyone even has a credit history if they have never applied for a line of credit, taken out a mortgage or attempted to borrow in order to purchase a car.
You also need to make sure you understand that your credit report and FICO score are two very different things. Your credit report is a comprehensive listing of all your financial and borrowing history that would be pertinent when viewed by lenders to help them decide whether or not to conduct business with you. Your score, however, is essentially a grade to indicate positive or negative borrowing behavior.
Your credit report is also a document you must check to skim for cases of ID theft, as there could be activity listed that wasn’t accurate and is the work of a criminal who took advantage of your personal identification information to purchase goods or services. To be alerted to certain kinds of suspicious activity when it happens, reach out to a credit monitoring service to act as a second set of eyes watching your financial information.