FICO FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Does my FICO score alone determine whether I get credit?

A: No. Most lenders use a number of facts to make credit deci­sions, including your FICO score. Lenders look at information such as the amount of debt you can reasonably handle given your income, your employment history, and your credit history. Based on their evaluation of this information, as well as their specific underwriting policies, lenders may extend credit to you even if your FICO score is low; and, similarly lenders they may decline your request for credit although your FICO score is high.

Q: How fast does my FICO score change?

A: Your FICO score can change whenever your credit report changes. But your score probably won't change much from one month to the next. In a given three-month time period, only about one in four people has a 20-point change in their FICO score.

While a bankruptcy or late payments can lower your FICO score fast, improving your FICO score takes time. For this reason, it's a good idea to check your FICO score 6-12 months before applying for a big loan so you have time to take action, if needed. If you are actively working to improve your FICO score, you'd want to check it quarterly or even monthly to review changes.

Q: How can mistakes get on my credit report?

A: If your credit report contains errors, it is often because the report is incomplete, or contains information about someone else.

This typically happens because:

  • You applied for credit under different names (Mary Jones, Mary Jones-Smith, etc)
  • Someone made a clerical error in reading or entering name or address information from a hand­ written application.
  • You gave an inaccurate Social Security number, or it was mistaken by whoever made the credit inquiry.