CreditFYI: Knowing All 3 Credit Scores Can Help You Manage Your Credit

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Knowing your range of credit scores can prepare you for loan negotiations

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According to, a leading educational consumer website on consumer credit and fraud, there are three types of FICO credit scores, not just one. The three credit scores come from credit-reporting agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These scoring systems use a methodology provided by FICO (originally known as Fair Isaac Corporation). Although the credit-reporting bureaus have also introduced their own versions of the credit score, FICO scores are most commonly used by lenders and generally range from the low 300s to the mid 800s (higher is better). Therefore, most people actually have three FICO scores -- one from each of the three major credit bureaus.

It's important to know all of your credit scores, because radical differences from one to the other might indicate one or more of the reporting agencies are using inaccurate data to calculate your score. If that's the case, you'll need to correct the misinformation by contacting the specific credit bureau. (Although consumers used to have access to all three FICO credit scores, as of February 2009, consumers can no longer obtain their Experian FICO score, although lenders can still use it.)

It's also a good idea to know your highest and lowest credit scores in advance of applying for any loan, credit card or line of credit, so you know what lenders will see when they check your credit.

"While some lenders prefer looking at just one of your credit scores, from one reporting agency, others will check all three," said Rob Wyse, a spokesperson. "The problem is that you won't know which of your credit scores is being used to evaluate your creditworthiness. Plus, it's important to know whether the score or scores lenders use are, in fact, an accurate reflection of your credit history."

Wyse recommends these four steps for securing and checking the accuracy of credit scores:
1. Go to to select a credit score provider that offers all three scores.
2. Obtain your scores and your credit history, and review them in detail.
3. Contact any credit bureau that reports inaccurate or erroneous information, and make sure those errors are corrected.
4. Learn more about credit scores and credit reports through an educational resource such as

Because credit scores are used by most lenders to determine your credit risk when you apply for a loan, credit card or line of credit, credit scores -- and the credit history they're based on -- can help qualify for the most attractive interest rate and terms the next time you need to finance a purchase.

For more information on credit scores, visit

About is a leading educational consumer website on consumer credit and fraud. For more information, go to


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Anita Buchanan

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