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Understand Your FICO Credit Score


Fair Isaac Corporation Generates Your FICO Score

FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation. This firm created the original scoring model in the late 1950s. Since that time, FICO scoring has become commonly accepted by lenders as a reliable method for credit rating. Based on the data from your credit report, it provides the best guide to future credit risk. The lower the risk - The higher the score. In general, the following factors are used to make up the final score and determine how creditworthy you are:

  • 35% - Your Bill Payment History

  • 30% - The Total Amount You Owe

  • 15% - The Length of Your Credit History

  • 10% - The Number of New Credit Accounts

  • 10% - Types of Credit (Credit Cards, Retail Accounts, Installment Loans, Mortgage Loans, Car Loans, etc.)

Considerations include:

FICO Score
  • Current account balances including increases in balances

  • Late payments and the size of past-due balances

  • Accounts that are delinquent, defaulted or charged-off

  • Accounts in collection

  • Bankruptcy

  • How long credit has been established for each account

  • Credit available versus the total amount of credit used

  • Length of time you have lived at your current residence

  • Length of time accounts have been established

  • Number of revolving accounts

  • Number of accounts with balances

  • Number of accounts opened within last 12 months

  • Recent derogatory public records of collection

  • The number of recent credit inquiries (It's good to limit these.)


Using mathematical tables, points are assigned to each finding and totaled for the final score. There is no single cutoff score used by all lenders. FICO scoring is not a definitive method of determining who will be a “good” or “bad” risk. Each lender has its own overall strategy.

Click the links below to see ways you can improve your credit score.

How to Improve your FICO Score

If your FICO score is lower than you like, see steps you can take to repair credit scores.

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