Score range misconception

— By Kari Michel

What is your credit risk score?  Is it 300, 700, 900 or something in between?  In order to understand what it means, you need to know which score you are referencing.  Lenders use many different scoring models to determine who qualifies for a loan and at what interest rate. For example, Experian has developed many scores, such as VantageScore®.  Think of VantageScore® as just one of many credit scores available in the marketplace.

While all credit risk models have the same purpose, to use credit information to assess risk, each credit model is unique in that each one has its own proprietary formula that combines and calculates various credit information from your credit report.  Even if lenders used the same credit risk score, the interpretation of risk depends on the lender, and their lending policies and criteria may vary.

Additionally, each credit risk model has its own score range as well.  While the score range may be relatively similar to another score range, the meaning of the score may not necessarily be the same. For example, a 640 in one score may not mean the same thing or have the same credit risk as a 640 for another score.  It is also possible for two different scores to represent the same level of risk. If you have a good credit score with one lender, you will likely have a good score with other lenders, even if the number is different.