Your Credit Score Counts
Your credit score goes a long way in determining what type of mortgage interest rate you're likely to obtain, or, if you're approved for a home loan. All three credit bureaus -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- use a slightly different scoring system, but the FICO score is the most universally recognized.
Your FICO score may range anywhere from the lowest, 300, to the highest, 850, and takes into account many factors:
- Credit History -- How long have you had credit?
- Payment History -- Do you pay your bills on time?
- Credit Card Balances -- How much do you owe on how many accounts?
- Credit Inquiries -- How many times have you had your credit checked?
Higher scores indicate to lenders that you're a better credit risk, which may qualify you for a better mortgage rate. Often, home buyers find their scores ranging between 600 and 850.
How can you boost your credit score over time? Keep a revolving line of credit, pay off loans, credit card bills and other debts on time (and in full), and minimize the amount of "hard" checks to your credit history. By law, you're entitled to your current credit score through each of the credit bureau's websites.