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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.

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January 31, 2018

Learn about the Lock & Alert service and help control who has access to your Equifax credit report for free, for life.1

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  1. Locking your Equifax credit file will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties. Locking your Equifax credit file will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency. Entities that may still have access to your Equifax credit file include companies like Equifax Global Consumer Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file report; federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com.