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.
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.
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