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Why It's Important to Ask: "What's Not in My FICO® Score?"

, by Rob Kaufman

Knowing what's not in your FICO® Score can help provide peace of mind when applying for credit.

As you probably know, your FICO® Score represents your creditworthiness based on the data within your credit report(s). That number is used by 90% of top lenders to determine how much credit they'll offer you and at what interest rate.

Knowing your FICO® Score and how it's calculated can help you improve your score and make the most out of the credit you have. So before getting into what's not in your FICO® Score, let's talk about what is in your score.

Your FICO Score is calculated using 5 primary categories:

  1. Payment History... Do you pay your bills on time?

  2. Amounts Owed... How much do you owe on different credit accounts and what percent of your available credit is being used?

  3. Length of Credit History... How long have you had established credit?

  4. Credit Mix... What mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans and other credit are open in your name?

  5. New Credit... How many credit accounts have you opened with a certain period of time?

These are the items you need to be aware of when applying for credit because they do affect your FICO® Score. However, there are some things you might have thought were important to generating your FICO® Score that, in reality, aren't even considered.

What's not in your FICO Score? You might be surprised.

So now that you know what credit report information goes into generating your FICO® Score, let's see what information makes no difference to the final number. Go down the list and see if you thought any of these might have had an effect on your FICO® Score...

  • How old are you? It doesn't matter. Unlike some other scores, age doesn't affect your FICO Score.

  • Where do you live? Your address, city and state have no impact on your FICO Score.

  • Are you married? Marital status means nothing when it comes to your FICO Score. Same goes for race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

  • Who's the boss? Although some lenders might consider your employment information, your employer, salary, occupation, title, and employment history have no bearing on your FICO Score

  • Any interest? Interest rates currently being charged on your credit card or other accounts aren't included in your FICO® Score calculation.

  • Getting Help? It doesn't matter if you're getting any kind credit counseling...or not... it doesn't affect your FICO® Score in any way.

  • Credit Curious? Requests for your credit report or "soft pulls" that are consumer-initiated (help you get a pre-approved credit offer), made by lenders to review your account with them, or marked as coming from employers won't influence your FICO Score

  • PLUS... items reported as child/family support obligations, information not found in your credit report, or data not proven to be predictive of future credit performance, do not have an impact on your FICO Score

Now that you know what not to dwell on when it comes to your FICO® Score, you can focus on the things that could impact it - like the 5 categories listed above. And the best way to help ensure those 5 categories enhance your score is to always make sure your spending is in line with your income. Like most things in life, moderation is the key to success - in this case, it's the key to financial success.

See how the 5 categories break down when calculating your FICO® Score. Before clicking the link, see if you can guess which category holds the most importance.

Rob Kaufman

Rob is a writer... of blogs, books and business. His financial investment experience combined with a long background in marketing credit protection services provides a source of information that helps fill the gaps on one's journey toward financial well-being. His goal is simple: The more people he can help, the better.