What is a FICO® credit score (and why does it matter)?

What is a FICO® credit score (and why does it matter)?


Your FICO credit score is calculated using a specific scoring model that is used by over 90% of lenders. These specific credit scores are calculated by three different credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Each credit bureau calculates your FICO credit score a little differently, and each bureau may have slightly different information. Because of this, each bureau will typically report a slightly different score.

For mortgage lending purposes, lenders will disregard the highest score and disregard the lowest score, using the score that is in the middle as your official credit score. So, if you have a 620, 636, and a 633, your credit score would be a 633.

Free Credit Scores

There are many online sites that offer free credit scores. Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, even some of the actual credit bureaus offer free credit scores.

It’s important to check the fine print though. Most of these free services DO NOT provide you with a FICO credit score. There are different scoring models that are used to produce these free scores.

Often times this score can be significantly higher than your FICO credit score. While these services are great for monitoring the contents of your credit report, they will not help you determine if you meet the minimum score requirements for various loan programs.


Ready to find out what loan programs you qualify for? Apply online or give us a call at 877-892-8222. You don’t need perfect credit to purchase a home. If you don’t get pre-approved today, we’ll let you know exactly what you need to do to get pre-approved in the future!