In the world of credit cards and credit ratings, there are three main lending agencies. These agencies provide interested consumers with their full credit score and report. These reports give a detailed and accurate history of one entire credit based spending and reliability. The three main lender companies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus are similar in that they both use a number system ranging from 300-900 for their credit scoring. Experian uses a number system from 330-830. These bureaus, given access to individual financial records can use their algorithms to determine a credit score. Since each bureau has a slightly different algorithm, scores from the 3 companies may be slightly different, even when the same information is provided to them.

The lenders review: the number of open credit lines, number of report checks, late payments, credit card applications, spending limits and a host of other qualities. A positive combination of these factors results in a high credit score, where numbers over 650 usually indicate “good credit.”

With a high score, one will find it easier to receive financial aid, loans, and benefits from the credit card agencies. Adversely, low scores resulting from credit damage have the potential to severely limit financial opportunities for a consumer. Low scores notify lenders that an individual has a tendency to abuse financial privilege.

Aside from the 3 major bureaus, there exists another highly important credit information source: The Fair Isaac Corporation. This company provides what is known as a FICO score, a number similar to the other credit scores. This number can be applied for online for free, where some personal information on credit must be surrendered, or it can be purchased directly from the company for a fee. By purchasing directly, less information is required by the company and the results are returned to the consumer much more quickly.