A FICO Score is a three-digit number based on the information in your credit reports. It helps lenders determine how likely you are to repay a loan. This, in turn, affects how much you can borrow, how many months you have to repay, and how much it will cost (the interest rate).
When you apply for credit, lenders need a fast and consistent way to decide whether or not to loan you money. In most cases, they'll look at your FICO Scores.
You can think of a FICO Score as a summary of your credit report. It measures how long you've had credit, how much credit you have, how much of your available credit is being used and if you've paid on time.
Not only does a FICO Score help lenders make smarter, quicker decisions about who they loan money to, it also helps people like you get fair and fast access to credit when you need it. Because FICO Scores are calculated based on your credit information, you have the ability to influence your score by paying bills on time, not carrying too much debt and making smart credit choices.
Thirty years ago, the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) debuted FICO Scores to provide an industry-standard for scoring creditworthiness that was fair to both lenders and consumers. Before the first FICO Score, there were many different scores, all with different ways of being calculated (some even including gender and political affiliation).
FICO Scores help millions of people like you gain access to the credit they need to do things like get an education, buy a first home, or cover medical expenses. Even some insurance and utility companies will check FICO Scores when setting up the terms of the service.
The fact is, a good FICO Score can save you thousands of dollars in interest and fees as lenders are more likely to extend lower rates if you present less of a risk for them.
And overall, fair, quick, consistent and predictive scores help keep the cost of credit lower for the entire population as a whole. The more accessible credit is, the more lenders can loan and the more efficient they can be in their processes to drive costs down and pass savings on to the borrower