A credit score is the statistical probability of you defaulting on a credit facility, expressed as a simple number to help manual credit underwriters to handle them. In general terms credit scores presented to consumers run between 0-1000, with 1000 being the best score (the least likely to default).
There is no universal credit score card– each credit reference agency and lender has its own and as such you do not have a definitive credit score. All credit score cards are built on the same principles of probability, but scores from one score card cannot be compared with those from another. Even the credit scores that the credit reference agencies sell to lenders bear no relation to the credit scores they sell to consumers. Every credit score card is different, as each is developed specifically for a particular type of lender. What works well for a credit card company might not work as well for a mobile phone supplier for instance.
Most commercial score cards are produced by a US company called Fair Isaac. The UK credit reference agencies also sell to lenders their own generic scores known as bureau scores. Experian's is called Delphi, and Callcredit's bureau score is called Callscore, for example. Equifax’s is simply called the Equifax Bureau Score.
Credit Reporting Agency, which runs Checkmyfile, Givemecredit and AnnualCreditReport.co.uk, was the first company in the World to provide consumers with online access to their credit scores, followed by Equifax, Experian and Callcredit.
In all cases except Equifax the score range of 0-1000, bad –good, and the 5 credit rating bands were copied. But even so, the credit scores are still not comparable. Equifax uses a score range which mirrors that used by Fair Isaac in the US - a much narrower range generating credit scores of between 450 and 650. Experian’s Credit Expert scorecard tends to generate scores typically in the range of 850 to 999.
The credit scores we provide used to point our customers in the direction of lenders who are most likely to say yes to credit applications. We rarely get a complaint that the lender we suggest has declined an application. If an application is declined, the reason is often one such as an undisclosed fraud warning (which do not appear on credit reports) or other similar, non-credit report related issue.
See also Fair Isaac