How your FICO® Score is calculated
A FICO® Score is a three-digit number calculated from the credit information on your credit report at a consumer reporting agency (CRA) at a particular point in time. It summarizes information in your credit report into a single number that lenders can use to assess your credit risk quickly, consistently, objectively and fairly. Lenders use your FICO® Scores to estimate your credit risk—how likely you are to pay your credit obligations as agreed. And it helps you obtain credit based on your actual borrowing and repayment history.
If you have a Sallie Mae private student loan, you may have access to your quarterly FICO® Score for free. You’ll also have access to the key factor(s) affecting your score and information to help you understand why knowing your FICO® Score is important.
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FICO® Score FAQs
What is a FICO® Score?
FICO® Scores, the credit scores created by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), are the most widely used credit scores in lending decisions. Lenders can request FICO® Scores from all three major credit reporting agencies.
FICO® Scores are based solely on information in consumer credit files maintained at the credit reporting agencies. Understanding your FICO® Score can help you better understand your credit risk and allow you to effectively manage your financial health. A good FICO® Score means better financial options for you.
What is a good FICO® Score?
The “score cutoff” is known as the point above which a lender would accept a new application for credit, but below which, the credit application would be denied. Since the score cutoff varies by lender, it’s hard to say what a good FICO® Score is outside the context of a particular lending decision.
What are the lowest and highest possible FICO® Scores?
The classic FICO® Scores in use today by the vast majority of lenders all fall within the 300-850 score range. This score range was introduced to establish an easy-to-understand, common frame of reference for lenders and consumers.
What are “key score factors"?
When a lender receives your FICO® Score, "key score factors" are also delivered, which are the top factors that affect the score. Addressing some or all of these key score factors can help you improve your financial health over time. Having a good FICO® Score can put you in a better position to qualify for credit or better terms in the future.
More Frequently Asked Questions about the FICO® Score (PDF)