BECU recently added FICO® Scores to a small group of Online Banking accounts in a pilot program as a new service to members. Knowing your FICO® Scorecan be empowering – it’s a piece of information that can help you understand your financial health, just like your blood pressure or heart rate. And since we have access to this information, we think you should, too.
Having a great FICO® Score is a worthwhile goal. Landlords look at credit scores when deciding who to rent to and how much of a deposit they may require. Cell phone companies and utility companies use credit scores to decide if they need security deposits and which payment plan you may be eligible for. Financial institutions (including us!) use FICO® Scores, along with other information, to determine whether members are qualified for credit cards, loans and mortgages, how much to lend, and what rate to offer you.
The higher your FICO® Score, the lower your rate is likely to be. That's because we know you're low risk – you're going to pay your loan back on time. In our case, that means we can use that money to help other members out, or to give you another loan. It's a matter of responsibility on our part.
The mention of credit scores makes many people nervous, and for good reason. It can feel like you're being graded on a test you didn't know you were taking or how to prepare for. But there are a couple of pieces of good news.
The Good News
Firstly, there are other important measurements of financial health, and here at BECU, we're happy to sit down with you and work with you on a more holistic picture.
Secondly, FICO® Scores can and do change. FICO® Scores are based on your behavior, which means you have the power to understand them and to potentially improve them. All that matters is where you are and where you're going, not where you used to be.
Understanding Your FICO
Once you understand the equation behind FICO® Scores, they're not mysterious at all. So let's break them down and then get to some resources that can help.
A FICO® Score is a snapshot of your credit worthiness, or your credit risk, at a certain point in time. Your FICO® Score is based on your credit file at TransUnion, and we'll be updating your FICO® Score on a monthly basis if it's available.
- 35% Payment History
- 30% Outstanding Debt
- 15% Credit History Length
- 10% Pursuit of New Credit
- 10% Credit Mix
The most important factors are payment history and debt. Do you pay your credit cards and loans on time each month? Do you pay more than the minimum amount? Great – you're on your way to reducing debt and being a credit rock star, and you will appear less risky to lenders.
Learning More About Your FICO® Score
We have a number of resources to help you learn even more about credit.
FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.