Understanding Your Credit Score

Whether you have been the victim of identity theft or not, you may want to know what your credit score is in addition to viewing your credit reports.

The most widely used credit scores are FICO Scores, the credit score created by Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use FICO Scores to help them make billions of credit decisions every year. Fair Isaac calculates FICO Scores based solely on information in consumer credit reports maintained at the credit reporting agencies.

FICO Scores range from 300 to 850. FICO Scores are calculated by a mathematical equation that evaluates many types of information from your credit report, at that agency. By comparing this information to the patterns in hundreds of thousands of past credit reports, FICO Scores estimate your level of future credit risk.

You have FICO Scores for each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Each FICO Score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. (myFICO.com)

Nowadays, there are a slew of places you can obtain your credit score. Some opt to receive their score for an additional fee when requesting credit reports from the three main credit bureaus. More recently there are companies that will provide you access to a free credit score, or will provide it to you if you have an account, but be sure to know which credit bureau they are pulling the information. More than likely, they may only be tabulating the score based on one credit bureau, and with the credit bureaus reporting different information; the score can differentiate from one bureau to another.