Help Desk FAQ

Credit reports and scores


Is there more than one type of credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that summarizes the information in your credit report and ranks your credit history against that of other consumers. A higher number makes you a lower credit risk. In other words, lenders are more likely to make loans and offer the best interest rates and terms to consumers with higher credit scores.

There is more than one credit scoring model for businesses to use when making lending decisions. The most widely recognized one is called the FICO score, with a scale from 300 to 850. Other scores have different scales. For example, the older versions of the VantageScore, which was developed by the three major credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), had a scale of 501 to 990. On that VantageScore scale, a score between 801 and 900 equaled a grade of B, which is good. On the FICO scale, a score of 800 and above is excellent. (The newer VantageScore scale matches FICO's 300-850 range, but other scales may use a different range.)

Because the same score can mean different things on the various scales, it’s important to understand which credit scoring model was used in calculating your score and what the scale is for that particular model. Read the information that comes with any score you receive to know how to interpret it.

Be aware that you could see different scores from two different sources even if they both use the same scoring model. That’s because the underlying data used in the calculation can differ somewhat among the three credit reporting agencies—not all creditors report to all three agencies, or an error corrected with one or two of the agencies may not be corrected with the other(s). There also may be slight variations in the formula used.




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