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Field Guide to Credit Scoring

(Updated September 2015)

Credit scoring has become a serious issue in the lending community and it can affect your ability to obtain or refinance your next mortgage. Credit scoring systems can gauge a mortgage applicant's credit rating and assign an interest rate and risk value based upon information provided in the loan application. Credit scoring offers several advantages. It provides quick recommendations while taking human judgment out of the equation. Credit scoring also is extremely efficient and, usually, inexpensive. This updated field guide includes articles and books relating to credit scoring. (D. McCormick, Operations Analyst)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Photo credit: Finance Blue

Photo credit: Finance Blue

Information Fro​m NAR

Through Thick and Thin, (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 2015).

First Step for Buyers: Know Your Credit Score, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 29, 2015).

26 Million Consumers are ‘Credit Invisible’, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 6, 2015).

Credit Access, Weak Income Curb Housing Market Demand, (National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 21, 2015).

The Voice for Real Estate 20: Credit Scores, Vacation Homes, (National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 10, 2015).

Most Don’t Know Their Credit Score, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 8, 2015).

REALTORS® Reported High Credit Score Requirements are Easing, (National Association of REALTORS®, Economist Outlook, Apr. 3, 2015).

Credit Access Symposium Brings HUD Secretary Castro to NAR, (National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 1, 2015).

Advances in Credit Scoring, (National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 18, 2015).

Consumers will have access to FICO, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 13, 2015).

Lawmakers Weigh Credit Score Changes, (REALTOR® Magazine Daily Real Estate News, Sept. 22, 2014).

Get That Revolving Balance Below 50 Percent, (Speaking of Real Estate Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 10, 2014).

FICO Scoring Changes May Help More Qualify for Mortgages, (REALTOR® Magazine Daily Real Estate News, Aug. 11, 2014).

REALTORS® Continue to Report Tight Credit, (Economists Outlook, National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 5, 2011).

Credit Scores and Reporting, (National Association of REALTORS®).

NAR Credit Policy, (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®, June 2011).

Credit Tight? Fannie and Freddie FICO Scores are Still High, (Economists Outlook, National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 14, 2011).

What You Can Do to Improve Your Credit, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, n.d.).

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, n.d.).

Credit Scoring Basics

Credit Scores Are Rising, and Becoming More Visible, (New York Times, Aug. 20, 2015).

What is a Good Credit Score?, (The Simple Dollar, Aug. 10, 2015).

How Credit Scores Impact Mortgage Rates, (Zillow, Aug. 5, 2015).

10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score, (WiseBread, Aug. 4, 2015).

FICO exec offers tips for boosting your credit score, (USA Today, July 14, 2015).

What is a Good Credit Score?, (Credit.com, July 1, 2015).

Credit Reports and Scores, (USA.gov, June 10, 2015).

Are you dumb about credit scores? Try this quiz, (Chicago Tribune, June 1, 2015).

A new kind of credit score for those with no credit, (Washington Post, Apr. 2, 2015).

10 Ways to Raise your Credit Score, (San Jose Mercury News, May 15, 2015).

Can Your Credit Score Be Too High?, (Huffington Post, May 11, 2015).

5 Reasons New Lenders are Ignoring FICO Credit Scores, (Forbes, Apr. 21, 2015).

FICO Gives Millions a Path Toward Decent Credit Score, (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 1, 2015).

Understanding Your FICO Score, (NerdWallet, Mar. 23, 2015).

A nearly perfect credit score can still be golden, (The Detroit News, Mar. 16, 2015).

A Guide to Credit Scoring Models, (U.S. News & World Report, Money, Jan. 6, 2015).

What’s Your Credit Score IQ?, (Credit.com Blog, Sept. 18, 2014).

FHA Wants Fewer Defects and More Low-Credit-Score Loans, (National Mortgage News, Sept. 15, 2014). Q

Secrets to Boosting Your Credit Score, (Realty Times, Aug. 6, 2014).

Understanding Your Credit Scores, (Realty Times, July 17, 2014).

What’s so important about your credit score?, (Realty Times, Feb. 7, 2014).

Who’s Got Your Back When Your Credit Report is Wrong?, (HouseLogic, Mar. 19, 2014).

Credit scores continue to confound consumers, (Realty Times, May 22, 2013).

Will the real credit score please stand up?, (Realty Times, Oct. 4, 2012).

4 Moves That Can Lower Your Credit Score, (Kiplinger.com, Sept. 2011).

The New Credit Score Rules, (Forbes, Aug. 19, 2011).

Five Credit Score Secrets of the Young and FICO-Savvy, (Fox Business, Aug. 10, 2011).

9 Seemingly Innocent Ways to Severely Damage Your Credit Score, (InvestigatingAnswers, Aug. 5, 2011).

The Myth of a "True" Credit Score, (U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 3, 2011).

Alternative Credit Scores, (Mortgage Banking, June 2011). Q

Seven Deadly Credit Score Sins, (Realty Times, May 19, 2011).

5 Credit Score Myths Decoded, (CreditSesame.com, Apr. 5, 2011).

What You Should Know About Credit Scores, (Realty Times, Mar. 17, 2011).

Explaining Credit Scores, (Realty Times, Feb. 16, 2011).

Boost Your Credit Score to Buy a Home, (realtor.com®, n.d.).

How Credit Scores Work, (Banking.about.com, n.d.).

Social Media and Credit Scoring

What you need to know about social media credit scores, (Yahoo! Finance, Sept. 2, 2015).

Can social media hurt your credit score?, (Bankrate.com, Aug. 10, 2015).

How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activities into a Credit Score, (The Nation, May 27, 2015).

Could Your Social Media Profile Be Your New Credit Score?, (The Nation, May 27, 2015).

Your Future Credit Score May Depend on Who You Know on Social Media, (Motherboard, Jan. 21, 2015).

Why your Facebook profile may be more important than your credit score, (The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 20, 2015).

The Surprising Ways that Social Media Can Be Used for Credit Scoring, (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton, Nov. 5, 2014).

Should your Facebook profile influence your credit score? Startups say yes, (PC World, Mar. 11, 2014).

What’s your Facebook credit score?, (Marketplace.org, Jan. 24, 2014).

How Bad Moves on Social Media Could Damage Your Credit Score, (Daily Finance, Jan. 15, 2014).

Lenders Generating Your Facebook Score, (Realty Times, Jan. 16, 2014).

FICO may start including your Facebook presence in your credit score, (The Verge, Jan. 9, 2014).

Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles, (The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 8, 2014).

Facebook Isn’t Always Your Friend: Don’t Get Burned By Social Media, (Forbes, Sept. 5, 2013).

Social Media May Influence Your Credit Worthiness, (Information Week, Sept. 3, 2013).

Can Your Social Media Activity Lower Your Credit Score?, (Mint.com, Aug. 30, 2013).

Facebook friends could change your credit score, (CNN Money, Aug. 27, 2013).

Could social media impact your credit?, (Mother Nature Network, Aug. 27, 2013).

A credit score is not as simple as a three-digit number, (The Buffalo News, Aug. 26, 2013).

Keep calm and tweet on: creditors have been sizing you up online for years, (Digital Trends, Sept. 1, 2013).

Why your social media profile might be your next credit score, (VentureBeat, May 26, 2013).

Lenders are turning to social media to assess borrowers, (The Economist, Feb. 9, 2013).

Your Social Networking Credit Score, (Slate, Jan. 30, 2013).

Useful Websites

Federal Trade Commission – Free Credit Reports

Fannie Mae

Fair Isaac Corporation

Credit Scoring Organizations

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
Phone: 202-326-2222
email: uce@ftc.gov

Click here for full-text of Fair Credit Reporting Act

Credit Information Services

P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Phone: 866-349-5191
Email: customer.care@equifax.com

475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-830-7000

Trans Union
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: 877-322-8228

Books, eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

American Credit Repair (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Credit Repair Kit (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Improving Your Credit Score (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Repairing Your Credit (Adobe eReader)

The Credit Cleanup Book (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Credit Diet: How to Shed Unwanted Debt and Achieve Fiscal Fitness (Adobe eReader)

Credit 911 (Adobe eReader)

Credit Repair (Adobe eReader)

Credit Repair Kit for Dummies® (Adobe eReader)

Credit Smart (Adobe eReader)

The Everything Improve Your Credit Book (Overdrive Audio)

How to Repair Your Credit Score Now (Adobe eReader)

Make Money Get Out of Debt and Repair Your Credit (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Repairing Your Credit (Adobe eReader)

Repair Your Credit and Knock Out Your Debt (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Credit scores & credit reports: how the system really works, what you can do, (Privacy Times, Inc., 2007). HG 3751 H46

Mortgage rip-offs and money savers: an industry insider explains how to save thousands on your mortgage or re-finance, (John Wiley, 2007). HG 2040.5 W25

Credit road map: a practical guide for navigating your way to good credit, (Success Road Map Press, 2006). HG 3751 R51

Credit risk modeling: theory and application, (Princeton University Press, 2004). HG 3751 L36

Home Buying Without the BS!, (Hall Street Press, 2002). HD 1341 T39

Eliminating credit barriers to increase homeownership, (Research Institute for Housing America, 2001). HG 3751 R72

Credit risk and mortgage lending, (Arlington, VA: Research Institute for Housing America, 2000). HG 2051 P38

An introduction to credit scoring, (San Rafael, CA: Fair Isaac & Company, 1992). HG 3751 L58

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.