What is a Credit Score?
A credit score is a number ranging from 300 to 850 that predicts the likelihood that a borrower will be able to repay a loan. Your credit score can help determine how much a lender will loan to you and what the terms of the loan will be (APR).
How Credit Scores are Calculated
FICO® vs VantageScore
Your credit score is formulated using one of two algorithms, FICO® or VantageScore.
Lenders are more likely to use your FICO® score when evaluating your applications for credit, while you are more likely to be given your VantageScore when you request your score from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).
For more information about the differences between FICO® and VantageScore, visit credit.com.
Generally people with higher credit scores earn more attractive loan terms from lenders.
How to Raise Your Credit Score1
Many things have changed over the years, but the keys to building a good credit score have not. If you want to improve your credit, consider doing the following:
Keep your credit balances low
Only open new accounts when needed
Frequently Asked Questions about Credit Scores
WHY ARE THERE TWO WAYS TO CALCULATE CREDIT SCORES?
FICO® scores have been around for decades and are used in 90% of lending decisions by major lenders. In 2006, the three major credit bureas (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax®) worked together to create their own algorithm, named VantageScore. There are numerous differences between the two scores. While your FICO® score and VantageScore will often be similar, there are cases where one score might be considerably higher than the other.
WHY ARE MY SCORES DIFFERENT FROM EACH OF THE BUREAUS?
While all three bureas commonly give consumers scores that are calculated using VantageScore 3.0, the bureas might not have the exact same credit profile for a consumer, causing minor discrepancies. Hard inquiries, often reported as a result of applying for credit, are one of the most common places to see discrepancies between the three bureas.
HOW DO I CHECK MY CREDIT SCORE?
The three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax®) have worked together to build a website named AnnualCreditReport.com. Through this site you can request a free copy of your annual credit report from each agency.
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