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Janice France-Pettit: Credit score, FICO, credit report

Union Bank

Posted: October 15, 2010 10:45 p.m.
Updated: October 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

When applying for a loan, your credit score and credit report play an essential role in helping to determine if you are eligible for the loan, and may influence interest rates if the loan is approved.  

The following information may help you better understand how your credit score and credit report work.

Credit score and FICO
Your credit score is a record of your history. A credit score is based on a mathematical formula developed by Fair Isaac and Company. FICO® scores are widely used to gauge credit-worthiness. These scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. The median FICO score in the U.S. is 723, according to 

Having a high credit score has several benefits, including getting approved for loans with lower interest rates, home or business lease agreements and other financial  products. If you have a low credit score, then you might not qualify to receive certain lines of credit or loans. There are several online services that will help you access your credit score for a fee including, and

Credit report
Your credit report contains information on where you live and your payment history.  It may also reveal if you have filed for bankruptcy, have a tax lien, foreclosure, repossession or other major derogatory credit entry. Businesses can purchase your credit report from the national consumer-reporting companies in order to evaluate your applications for loans, credit cards, insurance, employment or renting a home.

You may request to receive a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Additional copies of your reports can be purchased from the credit-reporting agencies for a small fee.

Before making a major financial purchase like applying for a home loan or buying a car, it is smart to carefully review your credit report. Taking the time to thoroughly review your credit report and credit score can help you determine if your financial history is being reported accurately, which can mean the difference between getting approved or denied.  While the credit reports are free, keep in mind that you may need to pay a fee to obtain your actual credit score.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about credit scores, credit reports and FICO and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank.  Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

Janice France-Pettit is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, overseeing the Simi Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley region. Visit for more information. The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about financing choices for home improvements and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial or tax advisor. Ms. France-Pettit’s column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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