Unless you are able to pay cash for all of your purchases throughout your life your credit scores are vitally important. They are the basis for every decision lenders make on whether to exend credit to you. Unfortunately, as important as these scores are to your purchasing ability, you were never given a formal education on how to manage and maintain an acceptable score.
Your credit score is only as accurate as the information is is based upon. If there is inaccurate information residing in the data bases of the big three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – your credit scores will be inaccurate and may cause you to be declined for credit by a lender. Managing your information in your credit files will be covered in another article. Here I want to cover the origin and process of credit scoring.
In 1956 Bill Fair and Earl Isaac created the Fair Isaac Corporation to help companies apply computer technology to their business challenges. In the 1980's they began using the vast amount of information in the data bases of the credit reporting agencies. This led to the creation of the FICO credit scores. These scores are the defacto standard among lending institutions. These FICO scores are used by 99% of all lenders. There are, however, other scores out there. But unless they are advertised as a FICO score you will not be seeing the same information as your lender. Be sure to always get your FICO scores.
There are many factors that affect your credit score but the one that most often is the culprit is a credit inquiry. There are several types of inquiries and some of these do not affect your credit. The are also certain entities that have permission from the Fair Credit Reporting Act to check your credit. The instant your score is ordered, it is recalculated. Therefore, if you are in the market for a major purchase it is a good idea to begin monitoring your credit reports on a regular basis. Although your scores are calculated immediately, it can take as long as 60 days for an update to appear on your credit report.