The FICO® Bankcard Score 9 is a credit scoring model FICO has created to summarize credit card risk. It's the score we purchase each month, and we are making it available to you for free through our website and mobile app. This can help you gain insight into your credit history and also help you make good financial decisions in the future.
View Your FICO® Credit Score for free.
FNBO has teamed up with FICO to give our customers free access to your FICO Score so you can better understand your financial wellbeing. Your FICO® Score is used by financial institutions to help gauge credit worthiness and can be one of the most influential and valuable pieces of information to shape your future.
- What is FICO?
- FICO Score Factors
- Credit Basics
What Is a FICO Score?
A FICO Score is a three-digit number calculated from the credit information on your credit report at a particular point in time. It summarizes information in your credit report into a three-digit number that lenders can use to assess your credit risk quickly, consistently, objectively and fairly. Lenders use the FICO® Score to estimate your credit risk – how likely you are to pay your credit obligations as agreed. It also helps you obtain credit based on your actual borrowing and repayment history without consideration of prohibited types of information, such as race or religion.
FICO Scores include "score factors" that affect the score. Addressing some or all of these 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.
How does it help?
- Get credit faster – FICO Scores can be delivered almost instantaneously, speeding up credit card and loan approvals.
- Credit decisions are fairer – Lenders can only focus on facts related to credit risk and not opinions or biases.
- Older credit problems count for less – Past credit problems on your FICO Score fade as time passes and recent good payment patterns show up.
What factors into a FICO Score?
A FICO score takes into account five categories of information in a credit report. Whether positive or negative, the importance of any singular factor depends on the information in your entire credit report. Those five factors include:
1. Payment History
- Payment info on credit card accounts; retail accounts, like department store credit cards; installment loans, such as car or mortgage loans; finance company accounts.
- Public record and collection items – reports of events like bankruptcies, foreclosures, wage attachments, liens and judgments.
- The number of accounts that show no late payments or are currently paid as agreed.
2. The Amounts You Owe
- The amount owed on all accounts of every type.
- Whether you are showing a balance on certain types of accounts.
- The number of accounts where you carry a balance.
- How much of the total credit line is being used on credit cards and other revolving credit accounts.
- How much is still owed on installment loan accounts, compared with the original loan amounts.
Credit utilization, one of the most important factors evaluated in this category, considers the amount you owe compared to how much credit you have available. For example, if you have a $2,000 balance on one card and a $3,000 balance on another, and each card has a $5,000 limit, your credit utilization rate would be 50%. While lenders determine how much credit they are willing to provide, you control how much you use. FICO's research shows that people using a high percentage of their available credit limits are more likely to have trouble making some payments now or in the near future, compared to people using a lower level of credit.
Having credit accounts with an outstanding balance does not necessarily mean you are a high-risk borrower with a low FICO Score. A long history of demonstrating consistent payments on credit accounts is a good way to show lenders you can responsibly manage additional credit.
3. Length of Credit History
In general, a longer credit history will increase your FICO Score, all else being equal. But even people who have not been using credit long can get a good FICO Score, depending on what their credit report says about their payment history and amounts owed. Regarding your length of history, your FICO Score takes into account:
- How long your credit accounts have been established. Your FICO Score can consider the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and the average age of all your accounts.
- How long specific credit accounts have been established.
- How long it has been since you used certain accounts.
4. New Credit
FICO's research shows that opening several credit accounts in a short period of time represents greater risk – especially for people who do not have a long credit history. In this category your FICO Score takes into account:
- How many new accounts you have opened.
- How long it has been since you opened a new account.
- How many recent requests for credit you have made, as indicated by inquiries to the credit reporting agencies.
- Length of time since credit report inquiries were made by lenders.
- Whether you have a good recent credit history, following any past payment problems.
Looking for an auto, mortgage or student loan may cause multiple lenders to request your credit report, even though you are only looking for one loan. The FICO Score compensates for this shopping behavior in the following ways:
- The FICO Score ignores auto, mortgage and student loan inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. So, if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won't affect your score while you're rate shopping.
- After 30 days, the FICO Score counts inquiries of the same type (i.e., auto, mortgage or student loan) that fall within a typical shopping period as just one inquiry when determining your score.
5. Types of Credit You Use
Your FICO Score considers your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. It is not necessary to have one of each, and it is not a good idea to open a credit account you don't intend to use. In this category your FICO Score takes into account:
- What kinds of credit accounts you have. Do you have experience with both revolving (credit cards) and installment (fixed loan amount and payment) accounts, or has your credit experience been limited to only one type?
- How many accounts you have of each type. It also looks at the total number of accounts you have. For different credit profiles, “how many is too many” will vary depending on your overall credit picture.
When you apply for credit, your FICO Score can influence the credit limit, interest rate, loan amount, rewards programs, balance transfer rates and other terms that lenders will offer you.
FICO Scores are used by lenders in connection with a variety of credit products including:
- Credit Cards
- Auto Loans
- Home Equity Loans & Lines of Credit
- Personal Loans & Lines of Credit
- Student Loans
Lenders can get your FICO Scores from all three of the major U.S. credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). Your FICO Score from each agency may be different because it is based solely on the specific credit information in that agency's credit file, and not all lenders report to all three credit reporting agencies. Even in instances where the lender does report to all three credit reporting agencies, the timing of when information from credit grantors is updated to your credit file may cause differences in your scores across the three credit reporting agencies.
Tips for Better Financial Health Management
The best advice is to manage your financial responsibilities over time. Here are some tips:
Tip 1: Pay on Time. Late payments and collections can have a major impact on your FICO Score. Also, note that paying off a collection account, or closing an account on which you previously missed a payment, will not remove it from your credit report – it will stay on your report for seven years.
The fewer times your payments are late and the longer that you pay your bills on time, the better off you will be. If you've had a hard time paying your bills on time, consider signing up for an automated bill payment service. You can enroll online in AutoPay for your credit card account on the Payments & Transfers tab.
If you are having trouble paying your bills, contact your creditors or seek help from a non-profit credit counseling agency. A legitimate credit counseling agency can work with your creditors to lower your monthly payments. If you can begin to manage your credit responsibly and understand the benefit of paying bills on time, this can help your credit health over time.
Tip 2: Manage Your Accounts. High balances on your credit cards and other revolving credit can lower your FICO Score. You may want to increase the amounts of your monthly payments until all balances are manageable.
Have credit cards but manage them responsibly. In general, having credit cards doesn't hurt your FICO Score if you make payments on time. People without credit cards actually tend to be slightly higher risk than people who have shown they can manage credit cards responsibly.
Do not open cards that you don't need. While your available credit amount might increase, this behavior could backfire and lower your FICO Score, because new accounts can lower the average time you've had credit accounts established. Even if you have used credit for a long time, opening a new account can still lower your FICO Score.
Close unused credit cards cautiously. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may actually lower your FICO Score. You may want to keep balances very low on your active credit cards when you close unused cards.
It's OK to request and check your own credit report. Every 12 months you are entitled by law to one free credit report from each credit reporting agency through AnnualCreditReport.com. Checking your own credit report will not harm your FICO Score.
Tip 3: When Seeking New Credit, re-establish your credit history if you've had problems in the past. Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them on time each month can help to develop a deep history for your FICO Score in the long term. Don't forget to keep paying all your other accounts on time. Just one delinquency reported on your credit report can set you back. Remember to avoid applying for credit you do not need.
Frequently Asked FICO Questions
- General Questions
- FICO & My Credit
There are many different credit scores available to consumers and lenders. FICO Scores are the credit scores most used by lenders, but different lenders may use different versions of the FICO Score. For example, mortgage lenders and credit card lenders may use different types of FICO Scores specific to their industry. The score available to you on our website is the FICO Bankcard Score 9, which is tailored for credit card lending, so it may be different from a FICO Score you have seen elsewhere.
FICO is the brand name for Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Fair Isaac is a company that was founded in 1956. They use advanced math and analytics to help businesses make smarter decisions. FICO Scores are the most widely used credit scores in lending decisions. Lenders can request FICO Scores from all three major credit reporting agencies, which are based solely on information in consumer credit files maintained at the credit reporting agencies. FICO is a trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and in other countries.
A credit score is a number that summarizes your credit risk – how likely you are to pay your credit obligations as agreed. The score is based on a snapshot of your credit file at a particular point in time and helps lenders evaluate your credit risk. Your credit score influences the credit that's available to you and the terms, such as interest rate, that lenders offer you.
There may be several reasons for this. If you are an authorized user, your FICO Score will not appear, only the primary cardholder's score will appear. For accounts that have joint cardholders on the account, only the primary cardholder's FICO Score will be displayed. Some months, however, we are simply unable to match the primary cardholder to a score at the bureau. Here are a couple of reasons why this could happen and you would not see a score:
- Your account is new. It may take a 30 to 45 days for us to populate your score on our website and mobile app. Please log in again after your next statement to check your FICO Score.
- The FICO Score we have on file for you is more than 90 days old. Your account may be closed or has not been used in several months.
You can check your current score on our website or mobile app 24/7. You will notice that it is updated every 30 days, usually around the middle of each month. If there has been no activity on your account for a number of months, we may not receive your FICO Score. In this case, a score will not be displayed. When there has been activity again on your card, your FICO Score will be displayed with the next 30-day update.
We already receive our cardholders' FICO® Scores from a credit bureau each month to help us manage your account. This is an industry-standard practice that does not impact your credit bureau score in any way. With this service, we are simply taking that same score and providing it to you so you may see the score we are using to manage your account.
When a lender receives your FICO Score, key "score factors" are delivered with the score. These key score factors are the top factors that affected the score. Addressing some or all of these score factors can help you better understand your financial health over time.
Key score factors explain the top factors that affected your FICO® Score. The order in which your FICO Score factors are listed is important. The first indicates the area that most affected your FICO Score, and the second is next most significant area. It's important to take note of these items so you have a better idea of what is impacting your credit score over time. However, if you already have a very good FICO Score (usually in the mid-700s or higher), score factors may not be as helpful, since they represent very marginal areas where you could improve your financial health.
We are not a credit repair organization, so we are unable to provide advice for how you can increase your score. For information on credit scores and tips for managing your financial health, click the Credit Basics tab above.
There are many reasons why a score could change from month to month. View your key score factors to see the top factors that affected the score. For additional information, you may want to refer to your credit report, which you can request at AnnualCreditReport.com from any of the three major credit bureaus.
It's hard to say what a good FICO Score is outside the context of a particular lending decision. For example, one auto lender may offer lower interest rates to people with FICO Scores above 680; another lender may use 720, and so on.
The general practice assumes that the higher the score, the better the credit quality. The FICO Score Meter next to your score on our webpage will give you a general idea of the strength of your FICO Score.
Below is a breakdown of FICO Score ranges found across the U.S. consumer population. It provides general guidance on what a particular FICO Score represents. Each lender has its own credit risk standards.
- 800 or Higher, Exceptional: Your score is well above the average score of U.S. consumers and clearly demonstrates to lenders that you are an exceptional borrower.
- 740 to 799, Very Good: Your score is above the average score of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a very dependable borrower.
- 670 to 739, Good: Your score is near or slightly above the average score of U.S. consumers and most lenders consider this a good score.
- 580 to 669, Fair: Your score is below the average score of U.S consumers, though many lenders will approve loans with this score.
- Lower than 580, Poor: Your score is well below the average score of U.S. consumers and it demonstrates to lenders that you are a very risky borrower.
FICO and “The score lenders use” are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.
FNBO and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. FNBO and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating. To request a copy of your credit report, please visit: http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
For answers to the complete set of potential questions you may have about FICO® Scores, download the complete FICO® Score FAQs (PDF). FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries. FNBO and FICO are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. FNBO and FICO do not provide "credit repair" services, advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit record, credit history or credit rating.
All FICO® Score materials are Fair Isaac proprietary information. © 2018 Fair Isaac Corporation. All rights reserved.
Cards are issued by First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO®).