Credit Score Dictionary

3 credit scores – refers to the credit scores provided by the three major credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

AnnualCreditReport.com – a website run by the credit reporting agencies, which provides one free credit report per bureau per year. It does not provide free credit scores.

Average credit score – the average, or median credit score for a certain population, such as the United States.

Bad credit score – a credit score well below the average that results in denied credit card and loan applications, and higher interest rates on any loans that are subsequently approved.

Credit check – the act of either you or a creditor pulling your credit report and/or credit score to determine creditworthiness.

Credit history – the information on your credit report, such as account details and payment history, which make up your credit score.

Credit inquiry – an alert that remains on your credit report for two years, which reveals to creditors that you’ve applied for credit recently. Too many inquiries can lower your credit score.

Credit report – a comprehensive written report that details your credit and payment history, along with employment and address history, used to assess your creditworthiness.

Credit reporting agency – a company that collects, tracks, and reports consumer credit information, and issues credit scores.

Credit score – a three-digit numerical representation of a borrower’s credit history and default risk, utilized to sum up their creditworthiness.

Credit score monitoring – a program that keeps track of your credit history and provides updates and alerts to keep you in the know, especially useful when attempting to improve a credit score or monitor identity theft.

Credit score scale – the numerical range of a credit-scoring model, such as Fico score or VantageScore. Fico scores range from 300-850, while VantageScore ranges from 501-990.

Equifax – one of the three major credit reporting agencies, which is also the oldest being established in 1899.

Excellent credit score – a credit score that will ensure a borrower receives the lowest interest rates and easiest approvals.

Experian – one of the three major credit reporting agencies, which is actually headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

Fico score – a proprietary credit scoring algorithm developed by Fico, formerly known as Fair Isaac. This is most widely used credit score.

Free credit report – a credit report issued free of charge, either via AnnualCreditReport.com or via another free trial. It may or may not contain a free credit score.

Free credit score – a credit score provided for free by a given company, typically on a short-term trial basis.

Good credit score – a credit score that is sufficient to get approved for all types of credit cards and loans with competitive interest rates.

Hard pull – a credit inquiry that involves a request for new credit, such as a credit card application, which can affect your credit score negatively.

Highest credit score – the best possible credit score for a given credit scoring model.

Insurance credit score – a credit scoring model used by insurers to determine the likelihood of you filing an insurance claim.

Lowest credit score – the worst possible credit score for a given credit scoring model.

Soft pull – a request for a credit report or credit score that does not involve new credit and thus will not affect your score, such as a free credit score trial.

VantageScore – a proprietary credit scoring algorithm developed by the credit reporting agencies in response to Fico’s domination of the credit score market.

Tri-merge credit report – a credit report that contains three credit scores and information from the three major credit reporting agencies.

TransUnion – one of the three major credit reporting agencies, which originally began as a railcar holding company.


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