How Many Credit Scores Are There?

Credit Scoring

For many businesses and consumers, understanding the way credit attributes are turned into credit scorecards can be difficult. While the three major agencies have maintained a strong hold on consumer focus, the truth is that there is a nearly endless array of metrics that can be used to formulate a credit evaluation — leading to there being nearly as many different scores as there are agencies to create them.

“Educational scores”

“There are a nearly endless array of metrics that can be used to formulate a credit evaluation.”

For many consumers who think that they only have the three major scores, the truth is that most Americans have over 40 scores — they may just be unaware of the existence of the others. Different models mean different scores, which in turn serve different purposes. A some free credit score scoring agencies may offer an “educational score” that is never used in lender formulations of credit worthiness for loans and mortgages.
Not Just One FICO Score
Even the supposedly be-all, end-all of credit agencies Fair Isaac (FICO) uses multiple varying metrics to determine their scores, including scores that are uniquely formulated to involve a specific loan product. This could be an auto loan, mortgage, bank card, installment loan or personal finance score. This cuts to the root of what ConsumerAffairs senior editor John Kiernan identifies as confusion over the existence of a single, supposedly “definitive” score.

Credit Score Models

“To the contrary, there are more than 1,000 different types of credit scores in use today, meaning your score will inevitably vary from model to model, and the score that’s most accurate ultimately depends on a given situation,” writes Kiernan. “Most lenders use publicly available scoring models as the basis for in-house rating systems but apply proprietary modifications that can lead to drastically different final results.”
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