Monday, June 04, 2007

Highs & lows for consumer in search of his credit score

Posted Monday, June 4th 2007, 4:00 AM
When Mel Larson requested his free annual credit report from a major credit reporting agency, he also ordered his credit score. "There was a $5 charge, but I felt it was a good idea since the number is important," he explained.
But he wasn't happy with what he got. "I received something called a VantageScore, not the FICO score I expected," he said. "My score was 898, well over the top FICO score.
Can a VantageScore be translated to a FICO score?"
Not exactly. Credit scores are the three-digit numbers that lenders use to assess the credit risk of a potential borrower.
Fair Isaac's Classic FICO score is the most often used credit score in consumer lending and mortgage lending. FICO scores range from 300 to 850.
Although FICO scores remain dominant, several alternatives have developed within the past few years.
In March last year, the nation's three leading consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - jointly launched their own proprietary credit scoring system, VantageScore.
When you order your credit report fromExperian or TransUnion, you receive a VantageScore. Equifax, however, still provides FICO scores.
If you want to get a FICO score based on your Experian or TransUnion credit report, you have the option ofordering it from Fair Isaac (
Otherwise, you can only roughly compare your FICO score and VantageScore.
VantageScores range from 501 to 990, and approximate the letter-grade system used in most schools. That means a score of 901 to 990 is an A, while a score of 801 to 900 is a B, 701 to 800 is a C, 601 to 700 is a D and 501 to 600 is an F.
If you have a FICO score of more than 730, then you're in the solid B range. If it's 770 or more, you get an A. FICO scores of 680 to 729 are in the C range, while scores of 620 to 679 are Ds. Anything lower than 620 is an F.
Asa Aarons is a consumer reporter whoappears at 5:30 p.m. weekdays on WNBC-TV, Channel 4. His special Daily News column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Send your questions to Ask Asa, P.O. Box 3310, NewYork, N.Y. 10116 or e-mail him ( Questions can be answered only through this column.End Content Columns -->

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