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What is a credit score?

What is a credit score, and what is the difference among the three credit reporting agency (CRA) credit scores?

A credit score is a three digit number, typically between 300 and 850, which is designed to represent your credit risk, or the likelihood you will pay your bills on time. A credit score is calculated based on a method using the content of your consumer file.


The way your credit score is calculated and the contents of your consumer file may vary between each of the three national CRAs (Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®). This is because not all creditors report to all three agencies.


While most creditors do report to all three, you may hold an account with a creditor that only reports to one, for example, or a creditor that doesn’t report to any. There are many different credit scores used by lenders, including credit scores provided by the national CRAs, and credit scores that are custom built and used by a specific lender.