Credit Scores

Is there a difference between a "credit score" and a "FICO score"?

Answer

Credit bureau scores are often called "FICO scores” because most credit bureau scores used in the U.S. are produced from software developed by Fair Isaac and Company. FICO scores are provided to lenders by the major credit reporting agencies.
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Why do financial institutions use FICO scores?

Answer

FICO scores provide the best guide to future risk based solely on credit report data. The higher the credit score, the lower the risk. But no score says whether a specific individual will be a "good” or "bad” customer. And while many lenders use FICO scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable for a given credit product. There is no single "cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders use to determine your actual interest rates. 
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Are there other names for FICO scores?

Answer

FICO scores have different names at each of the credit reporting agencies. All of these scores, however, are developed using the same methods by Fair Isaac, and have been rigorously tested to ensure they provide the most accurate picture of credit risk possible using credit report data.
EquifaxBEACON® Score
ExperianExperian/Fair Isaac Risk Model
TransUnionEMPIRICA®

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What does my credit score need to be to get a loan?

Answer

There is no exact number a credit score must be to qualify for a loan. Loans are approved or denied on a case by case basis.  
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How can I get my credit report?

Answer

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act entitles you to one free credit report from each credit bureau each year. You may also obtain a free credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft. To get your free credit report call 877-322-8228 or log on to www.annualcreditreport.com. Should you find something on your credit report you believe to be fraudulent or incorrect, contact each credit-reporting agency. NOTE: Heartland FCU also provides a free credit analysis for members. Find out where you stand with your credit, what goes into making up your FICO score, and what you can do to raise your score. Contact us for more details.
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