This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Your Credit Score: 3 Surprising Facts You Should Know

Learning your credit score helps you gauge where you stand with lenders and credit card companies, which is a good step to take before you shop for credit. But credit scoring is fairly complicated, and misunderstandings abound. Here are three surprising facts you should know to interpret your credit score.

1. Scoring models are geared to produce different results

Your credit score is often touted as one absolute number that grades your credit. But you can have many different credit scores. Experian, one of the major U.S. credit reporting bureaus, says some estimates peg the number of credit scoring models at more than 1,000. The scoring models used most by creditors are the FICO credit score, developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation, and the VantageScore, developed by Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Sometimes lenders use their own proprietary credit scoring models.

Even the same credit scoring model has variations. Fair Isaac developed three FICO score models, one for each of the three credit bureaus. Although the models are very similar, they can produce slightly different results using the same information. In addition, not all the information reported about you to one credit bureau is reported to another, so your FICO score could vary according to which credit bureau is doing the calculations.

2. Credit score ranges are not universal

Different scoring models use different ranges, so whether your number is considered good depends on which formula is used.

VantageScores range from 501 to 990, and the breakdown of excellent to bad credit is similar to the scale used to calculate grades in school -- 900 to 990 is excellent; 800 to 899 is good; 700 to 799 is fair; 600 to 699 is poor; and under 600 is very poor.

FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850, with the top 20 percent of consumers above 780.

Knowing the scoring range is critical for interpreting your number. A 782 FICO score is excellent -- usually enough to qualify you for the best credit card rates -- but a 782 VantageScore is about average.

3. Credit scores sold to lenders may differ from what you see

Because there are so many different credit score models on the market, you should know what you're buying when you pay for your credit score. Be aware that some of the scores sold are based on models not used by lenders or credit card companies.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.19 0.00%
FB $118.06 0.00%
GOOG $695.70 0.00%
TSLA $222.56 0.00%
YHOO $37.40 3.90%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,651.26 -99.65 -0.56%
S&P 500 2,051.12 -12.25 -0.59%
NASDAQ 4,725.6390 -37.5850 -0.79%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs