Experian Credit Score and Report Review

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-02-0810

If you’re expecting to take out a mortgage, car loan, or other type of credit, it helps to find out your credit score ahead of time. That’s because a lower credit score can mean higher interest rates and payments for you. The credit bureau Experian is one of the key firms involved in disclosing your credit score to potential creditors, so let’s take a look at what’s offered.

The credit score Experian uses is called the VantageScore. Experian and the credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion developed this credit score as an alternative to the more popular FICO score provided by the Fair Issac Corporation. Since the VantageScore was developed with a large number of consumer data, Experian claims that the VantageScore can be more consistent than other credit scores. It’s also claimed that people without much of a credit history or those with bad credit can benefit more from this type of credit scoring system.

VantageScore Breakdown: From Excellent to High-Risk

To your potential creditors, a higher credit score means that you aren’t likely to be at risk of defaulting on your loan or credit line. For the VantageScore, the A scores fall into the 900 and above range. These scores can net you the best credit rates for your mortgages, auto loans, and other types of credit.

B scores are in the 800 to 899 range. You’ll generally be offered good terms of credit from lenders, though perhaps not the absolute best rates.

In the 700 to 799 range is the C range. Consumers in this range may find that they need to share more information and creditors might go over more details about your credit history before offering credit.

The D scores fall between 600 and 699. For these consumers, creditors may extend credit at higher interest rates as there’s more risk of defaulting on loans.

For those in the final category, the F scores range from 501 to 599. Since this is considered a high-risk category, consumers may find that creditors reject them or offer much higher interest rates than to consumers in the top categories.

We explain credit scoring differences and variations further in this article on FICO vs VantageScore.

Where To Pick Up The Experian VantageScore

A variety of items go into your VantageScore. Among these items are your balances, payment history, and your recent credit. Additional components are your available credit, your utilization of credit, and your depth of credit.

Your payment history has the biggest weight of the different components — over half your score. Another major component is your utilization. If you’ve utilized a large percentage of your available credit, you might negatively impact your VantageScore. The amount of your balances impacts your score, especially if you’ve increased the balances lately or you have missed payments.

Given that, where can you pick up your credit score? Here are some suggestions.

1. Check out services offering custom Experian credit scores (non-FICO).
As mentioned, there are places where you can get an Experian credit score, but there are caveats. You can still receive proprietary Experian scores by visiting Experian.com directly. Other options include signing up to memberships at certain sites like Credit Check Total, Triple Advantage (freecreditreport.com) and FreeCreditReports360, but be sure that you are aware of the fine print: you’ll be charged a monthly fee for the scores, reports and credit monitoring service unless you cancel your free trial membership within 9 days of enrolling (the trial membership lasts 7 days, while it takes 2 days to set up).

When applying, be ready to fill out information about your address, Social Security number, date of birth, and phone number. Also, if you’ve moved in the last few years, you should prepare to disclose your previous addresses.

2. Do business with a financial institution offering Experian FICO credit scores.
If you’re only interested in your Experian FICO credit score, then with a little bit more work and luck, you may still get your hands on it. For instance, you can obtain your score from your lender, if you so happen to be applying for a big loan. But watch out! When your lender gets your information this way, it constitutes a hard credit check that can affect your score temporarily. Or you may decide to become a customer at certain credit unions or banks that offer Experian FICO scores. But that list is quite short. Right now, only the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU) is known to have a relationship with Experian that allows this benefit.

Note as well that you can always access your free Experian credit report information via AnnualCreditReport.com. Note that credit scores are not offered through this site.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah S February 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Heard that Experian no longer offers a FICO score. Might be a good idea to check my husband’s score anyway. Since my own score is over 800, I feel it’s pretty moot to be fussing over a couple points when a person’s that high.

Gennaro February 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Experian was actually my favorite of the big three. Their record was clear and detailed.

Ron@TheWisdomJournal February 9, 2009 at 8:31 am

In my experience, Experian was always the least accurate of the three reports. They were also the least helpful when my identity was stolen.

Manshu February 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Experian with no FICO score — that’s a loss for consumers and we lose a bit of transparency.

scott February 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I see credit agencies and credit score companies offering proprietary scores these days. I thought Congress was tightening up on the credit bureaus instead of loosening up?

Experian has always been the worst of the 3 major credit bureaus. My local credit bureau,Credit Bureau of Nashville (in Tennessee) and other cities use their scores, and their scores are always the worst and their credit reports full of errors. It is a poorly mismanaged company.

I’m particular about my credit score, so I plan to specifically ask lenders if they use Experian or any other type of special score.

Myers February 12, 2009 at 1:39 am

I don’t really see how this works…Experian owns and operates FreeCreditReport.com which is a consumer facing website. They have been absolutely DUMPING advertising dollars into that brand. It would be foolish to be spending all that money on a consumer facing product and then pulling it away…even if you were cutting your advertising spend. I find this hard to entirely believe.

cj February 12, 2009 at 10:23 am

Financial institutions will give you a copy of your credit report when you apply for a loan. Just ask for it. The problem isn’t Experian but the credit card companies that demand higher monthly payments or cut your credit limit. Each consumer can get a free credit report once a year from each credit reporting agency. It won’t have a score but will show if any current lates are reported and you can calculate the % of your limit you’re using by dividing the limit by the balance.

Aya @ Thrive February 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

I wonder if they decided to do this because of the new FICO 08 system? We’re already stressing out about how the new criteria will affect us, and now we have one less resource for our score…that’s just great. But as you point out, there are alternatives out there that might help make up for it.

Jefferson March 14, 2009 at 7:10 am

“Pick up an Experian FICO credit score (if you haven’t already) over the next few days before it’s gone.” Now that it is, it’s still a good idea to keep up with and track your credit score — with or without Experian in the mix.

fcmoney.com February 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Transunion, Equifax credit score has increase to 19.95 per score at myfico web site, why lender charge so much to view consumer credit score? Is there a way to view experian credit score without actually applying for loan?

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