Thursday, September 10, 2009

Credit Scores: What You Need to Know Now

Most people wrongfully assume that they have only one set credit score that anyone who runs a credit check will see. However, as this Washington Post article discusses, the average American actually has several different credit scores that creditors use to decide if you will qualify for a line of credit or not. Read the very informative article, below.

Are you keeping score?

Credit scores have been getting a lot of attention lately, as lenders tighten credit standards and contend with new legislation that has, among other things, reined in how credit-card issuers can raise rates.

Meanwhile, several firms, preying on our insecurities, are pushing credit scores and credit-score-tracking services for a monthly fee.

For all the attention they generate, though, credit scores are largely misunderstood. For instance, your precise score matters only when you're in need of new debt, like a home, auto or education loan or a new credit card, which should be a fairly rare occurrence.

You don't have just one score, but many. Your FICO score, the one developed by Fair Isaac Corp. that runs from a low of 300 to a high of 850, will vary depending on which credit bureau is reporting it and the kind of lender that requested it.

So the score that costs you $15.95 at may not be the score your lender sees. Beyond that, the three credit bureaus— Equifax, Experian and TransUnion— sell their own proprietary scores.

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