When applying for a loan, many applications may ask for your FICO score to determine your eligibility. However, you may be wondering when this score becomes available for access and what your score is currently.
In order to ensure that you are eligible for certain loans and other applications that require a credit score, continue reading to learn more about how long does it take to get a FICO score and where to find it.
Table of Contents
What is a FICO score?
A FICO score is a credit scoring model that was founded by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). This three digit number is determined by your credit history and allows lenders to determine your creditworthiness.
Even though a FICO score is a credit score, the company also provides additional products that are not related to credit. Similar to other credit models, FICO predicts the likelihood of a consumer paying their bill on time or not past 90 days of the payment’s due date.
Additionally, FICO has released updated versions of this scoring model to ensure their scores are as accurate as possible. Due to this, it is one of the most popular credit scoring models for lenders to overview.
When will my FICO score be available?
A FICO score will be available after you have opened at least one account for the last six months. After these six months, FICO is able to calculate your score and somewhat determine your creditworthiness.
However, if you have only recently opened a credit account, it may be why you don’t have a FICO score. If this is the case, there are ways to build your credit in the meantime to get a better FICO score.
How are FICO scores calculated?
FICO scores are calculated based on different components of your credit history. This history is divided into different categories that have a distinct impact on your score.
Your FICO score is weighted by the following factors:
- Payment history: 35%
- Debt owed: 30%
- Age of credit accounts: 15%
- New credit: 10%
- Credit mix: 10%
Since these categories are weighted differently, some of your previous credit behavior may have a larger impact on your score. Additionally, if you are looking to improve your credit, observe which category is negatively influencing your overall score.
Why are FICO scores important?
FICO scores are very important since they show lenders how creditworthy an applicant is. If one has a low FICO score, it impacts their ability to qualify for a loan, purchase property, and much more.
Specifically for loans, if one has a high FICO score, they are likely to be approved to borrow more with less interest. Since this score plays a crucial role in the approval process from lenders, it is important to know what your score is and what is negatively impacting it.
How to check your FICO score
Since FICO scores are used by 90% of top lenders, there are various ways to access this information. You can easily access your FICO score through Experian or MyFico.
Additionally, Equifax can provide you with your FICO score on specific products such as their CreditScoreWatch product or ScorePower product. Another way to check your FICO score can be through the FICO Score Open Access program.
This program was developed to educate consumers on their FICO scores through partnering companies. Some of the companies included in this program are FLEXcutech, PSCU, and Ser-Tech.
How do I get a credit score?
These companies calculate your credit score based on your credit history. There are varying factors, components, and weighing models that make up for overall your score. Read more to understand what credit categories are heavily impacting your score.
Credit card accounts are one of the most popular ways to build credit. While this is a great resource to use when building your credit, it can also negatively impact it if used irresponsibly. This includes making consistently late payments and opening various accounts frequently.
Additionally, if you just opened up your first credit card account, its short lifetime could also negatively affect your score. However, if you make payments on time and keep a low credit utilization rate, you will be establishing a good credit history.
Credit bureaus look through your payment history to dictate your creditworthiness. If you have not taken out a loan, whether it be for a car, house, or personal reasons, there is no payment history to report to these bureaus.
Taking out a personal loan is a great way to build credit and show a track record of payment responsibility. Additionally, it can add to the length of your credit history and show credit mix which can positively affect your score. However, taking out a loan is only advised if one can ensure they will make payments on time.
Unfortunately, regardless of perfect credit behavior, a portion of your score comes from the length of your credit history. If you just opened your first credit card account, you may not have a credit score until it has reached six months of usage.
Being patient in this process may be frustrating but worthwhile. During this period, you can begin the practice of good credit building behavior to ensure you will have a foundation for establishing quality credit.
Credit bureaus want the most updated information on your credit and payment behavior. If you have closed off your credit card account and paid off your loan, this may reflect negatively on your score due to inactivity.
To prevent this from happening, be sufficiently active on your open accounts or think of alternative ways to build your credit. This could include taking out a personal loan, having your rent or phone bill payments reported to credit bureaus, and much more.
5 simple ways to establish and build FICO score
Since your FICO score plays a crucial part in how lenders evaluate your creditworthiness, here are five simple ways to help you build or establish a good score. These tactics range from taking out a credit builder loan to becoming an authorized user. Keep reading to find out which strategy may be best suited for you.
Credit builder loans
A credit builder loan is a type of loan that is designed for people with little or no credit. Due to this, a credit score is not required in order to qualify or get approved. These loans are typically only provided by smaller financial institutions, such as credit unions or community banks, for those without credit to get on these credit bureaus’ radar.
How the loan works is that once approved for the loan, the amount you borrow will be held in the bank while you make payments. Usually, you won’t be able to access the money until the loan amount is paid in full. This process acts as a safety net for the lender since generally those who apply have no credit history and are seen as a risk.
A secured card is a great option for those who wish to build credit through a credit card and have no previous credit history. How these cards work is that money must be deposited to the credit card issuer for the account to function.
Think of this process as similar to putting down a security deposit for a landlord when renting an apartment. Once your credit is established, you can often get a refund for your deposit back if you decide to close your account.
Low limit unsecured card
An unsecured credit card is a technical name for a “regular” credit card. Therefore means the money isn’t backed by a deposit in comparison to a secured credit card.
When starting to build credit, companies offer consumers low limits due to a lack of credit history. Equifax labels credit cards with a $2,000 to $2,500 maximum balance as “low limit”. However, if you show consistent good credit behavior, these limits can be increased over time.
Become an authorized user
Becoming an authorized user of another person’s credit accounts can help you build your own credit history. Essentially, the consumer who becomes an authorized user is able to utilize a credit card as if it was theirs however they are not the primary account holder.
Additionally, as an authorized user you are not legally responsible for paying this credit card’s bill since you are not the primary user. However, the primary account holder’s good credit behavior can reflect positively on your credit score.
Another way to build credit is to report your bills to the credit bureaus. For example, if you pay your rent on time each month you can report this to one of the credit bureaus. Unfortunately, you can not directly report to the credit bureaus and will need your landlord or third-party service provider to verify these bills.
Additionally, you can report your cell phone, utility, and streaming service bills with Experian Boost. Reporting these bills to the credit bureaus, allows them to have more information about your credit history and improve your credit score.
Start building your FICO score now
Your FICO score is an important factor when it comes to applying for loans, mortgages, and much more. Understanding how this score is calculated can help you dictate what credit category is weighing it down and how you can increase it.
Additionally, if you don’t have an extensive credit history, you can build your credit by taking out a personal loan or reporting bills. Start establishing your credit now to ensure a good foundation for your FICO score.
What will my first fico score be?
If you have a credit history of less than six months, you will not have a FICO score. Once you start establishing this credit, assume your score will start at the lowest point (300).
What is a good score for fico?
A good FICO score ranges from 670 to 739. However, having a score of 800 or greater is considered excellent.
What will my credit score be after 6 months?
Even with perfect payment history, due to the age of your accounts, your credit score will probably be around 500.