A:

Your FICO score is used by creditors to determine the overall credit risk of any individual consumer. This score is calculated by using a proprietary tool developed by the Fair Issac Corporation (NYSE:FIC). Each major credit bureau in the United States - Experian, Equifax (NYSE:EFX) and TransUnion - uses Fair Issac's technology to calculate a FICO score for any borrower. The more information the credit bureau has on you, the more accurate their calculation of the FICO score will be. This is why you may have a different FICO score from each of the three major credit bureaus.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850, where 850 is considered to be the best score achievable. According to myFICO.com, a division of the Fair Issac Corporation, only 13% of the U.S. population has a FICO score greater then 800, while only 2% has a FICO score lower then 500. The largest proportion of the population, 27%, has a FICO score between 750 and 800. (To learn more about how your FICO score is calculated, see How Is My Credit Score Calculated?)

If your FICO score is not as high as you would like it to be, there are things you can do to improve it. First of all, be sure to keep all of your bills current and in good standing. Always pay your bills when they come due, never make any payments late, and pay more than the minimum balance on your credit cards or pay them off completely if you can. The longer you have a good payment history, the higher your credit score will be.

To learn more see Check Your Credit Report and The Importance of Your Credit Rating.

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