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Credit Score - What Does Your Credit Score Mean

Written by: Kristy Welsh

How to Interpret Your Credit Score

Before you can decide exactly what your credit score really means, you need to first determine exactly what type of credit score you are interpreting. TransUnion and Equifax use the FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) scoring system. Experian has abandoned this scoring tool and relies on their "PLUS" system. The 3 companies also use the "VantageScore" system which may use tricks to force borrowers to have a lower score unless they take out a mortgage on a house (which means many Americans who don't have a house will be forced to have a low VantageScore even if they are honest and reliable borrowers.)

There are other scoring systems such as TransUnion's "TransRisk" or Experian's "ScoreX", sometimes called "FAKO" or "Fake-O" derisively because they are not considered "real" credit scores but are used by companies offering cheap-to-free credit report and scoring services.

A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850, with 711 being the median FICO score of Americans. People with FICO scores below 600 are considered high risk borrowers, 620 being the dividing line between good and bad, 640 or above being pretty good, 650 as average general credit-use behavior, and above 740 being excellent.

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