A credit score is a judgment of financial stability at a specific point in time. Credit scores indicate the risk an individual represents for lenders, compared with other consumers. There exist many different ways to work out ones own credit scores. Of the three major credit-reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion use a scale from 300 to 900 to rate consumer credit standings. High scores on this scale are good and the higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender. According to how one uses his/her credit card, the credit rating agencies build a score estimate based on credit card interest, credit card payments and credit card offers taken.

The lenders themselves also have their own ways of figuring out credit scores. In addition, lenders are also required to decide on the lowest score one can have and still be able to borrow money from them. They can also use a credit rating or score to set the acceptable payable interest rate.

A true credit score is based on a wide variety of factors including-

Consumers hoping to obtain their credit scores can sometimes purchase them separately from the credit bureaus to expedite the process, instead of using a free credit report service. Consumers can purchase their FICO score directly from the Fair Isaac Corporation. Credit scores can be made available for “free” through subscription to one of the many credit report monitoring services available from the credit bureaus or other third party lenders. “Free,” because to actually get the scores one must use their credit card to apply for a free trial subscription of the financial service, and then cancel before the first monthly charge. As an incentive to encourage business, credit cards issued by Washington Mutual have offered free monthly FICO scores through their web site. Chase bank executives, who bought control of Washington Mutual in 2008, announced that this feature would be discontinued in March 2009. Under the FCRA, consumers are entitled to a free credit report within 60 days of any adverse action like credit denial, or receiving substandard credit terms from a lender resulting from a bad credit rating. To note, FICO credit scores range between 300 and 850 and the VantageScore score ranges from 501-990.