Fico Reason Codes – What We Can Learn from Them

The last few weeks I posted about a leaked Fico document revealing a full list of the Fico reason codes. The document also reveals a full description of all the reason codes. At Help Me Build Credit, we deeply reviewed this document. In this post, we will go through what we found interesting. We’ll also discuss some important points which we can learn from this document regarding the Fico scoring model.

Reason Code #01: Amount Owed On Accounts Is Too High

The full description for this one is as follows: “Your Fico score considers how much you owe on your credit accounts such as credit cards and non-mortgage loans. Generally, the more you owe on these accounts the greater risk you post to lenders.”

What I found interesting is that it says any loan that is not a mortgage loan with a high balance will hurt your score. This will include loans that are installment loans, but not a mortgage loan. This is something new that I learnt as I always thought that high utilization will only be effected by revolving loans and not by an installment loan.

The document goes further to explain that moving the debt from one account to another will usually not help your credit score. Please note that this does not refer to breaking up your balances between several credit cards and lowering the utilization,since it’s a fact that it does help your Fico score. What Fico means to say is that moving the full balance from one account to another is not going to help your Fico score.  (This is a classic example of what we discussed in the last week’s post, that Fico is looking to confuse consumers.)

You can read more on credit utilization here.

Fico Reason Code #06: Too Many Consumer Finance Company Loans

This confirms what we have already known, that taking out a loan from a consumer finance company or any high risk lender may hurt your credit score.

Fico Reason Codes #14: Length of Time Accounts Has Been Established

In the full description it says the following: “In your case the age of your oldest account or the average age of your accounts is too short.”

Does fico calculate your score based on your average age of credit? I personally don’t think so. Read more about this here.

Fico Reason Code #08: Too Many Inquiries in Last 12 Months

This confirms what we have already known, that although credit inquiries stay on your credit report for 2 years, they will only effect your Fico score for up to 12 months.

Fico Reason Code #17: No Recent Non-Mortgage Balance Information

Here again, you can see that Fico counts mortgage loans separately, and not with all other installment loans.

Fico Reason Code #33: Proportion of Loan Balances to Loan Amount Is Too High

The full description here is: “Your Fico score weighs the balances of your mortgage and non-mortgage installment loans against the original loan amounts. In general, when you first obtain an installment loan your balances are high and as you pay the loan down your balances decreases.”

This is telling us, as we see in real life,that a new mortgage loan reported on your credit report can have a pretty significant hit on a Fico score for as much as a year.

Fico Reason #41: No Recent Retail Accounts

This confirms that having retail accounts such as store card can help you have the proper credit mix.

Conclusion

Here in this post, we only went through some of the high lights of the leaked document which we found may interest our readers.If you’re interested, you can view the full document here. Please also note, that this post is part three of previous posts. You can read part one here and part two here.

Holiday season is here! Be smart and shop smart! At Help Me Build Credit we put together a great list of credit cards that will give you the maximum return on every dollar you spend. Check out the list here.

Have a great day!

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