Get your FICO score on your iPhone

Apple iPhone app for FICO score
Apple iPhone app for FICO score

You want to finance a car? Check your credit score. Want a mortgage? Check your credit score. Want your credit score? There's an app for that, turns out.

FICO, which developed the industry-standard credit-risk score, has introduced the myFICO App, available from the Apple App Store. It gives iPhone and iPod touch users a free tool to get an estimate of their credit scores. Needless to say, along with the estimate -- which is obtained through a series of questions asked by the "FICO Score Estimator" -- users have access to the site's fee-based scoring products as well. It's likely users will tap into that, as the free tool does not zero in on your specific credit score -- it gives you a range -- which could make the difference between getting financing for that Infiniti G37 Coupe or not.

If you haven't bought anything on credit for a while, it's important to know what exactly a FICO score is. FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the California-based company that developed the credit score. The score itself places a value on all sorts of accounts you hold, and includes your credit history. Don't ask for the formula it came up with -- it's top secret. Credit scores run from 300 to 850. Most people's scores fall between 600 and 800. The higher the score, the easier to get a loan, and the better the interest rate.

The most important factors FICO relies on are: your payment history, the amount of outstanding debt you have compared with your credit limit, your credit history, which types of credit you use, and credit-report inquiries. The issue that carries the most weight -- 35% of your score -- is how you've paid your bills, especially most recently. If you have a lot of late payments, your score goes down, big-time. Also important is the amount of money you owe -- all of your debt -- and how much credit you have available.