Suze, what is FICO?Gayle King, host ofAsk Oprah's All Stars

Suze Orman: Are you kidding me? It is 2011 and not everybody knows what a FICO score is? No!

All right. FICO actually stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that about 50 years ago created what's known as the credit score. A credit score, a FICO score, is a three-digit number that determines the interest rates that you pay on credit cards. FICO scores run from 300 all the way up to 850. Anything under 500, let me just say it this way, you are FICO'd. Okay?

Your goal should be 760 or above. FICO scores just don't determine the interest rates that you pay on credit cards, car loans and home mortgages. A FICO score will determine if a landlord will rent to you. It's starting to determine if an employer will hire you. It determines if a telephone company will give you a phone and it even determines what your car insurance premium happens to be. Nothing is more important today in your finances than your FICO score.

Learn more about your FICO score 

It is as important as your SAT score if you're going into college. It is your financial SAT score that opens or closes every door for you in the future. So, if you don't know it, you better know it.

Next: What can I do to get out of my mess of credit card debt?


Next Story