How to get free annual credit score using government sponsored website

Credit Score is a number that represents the risk of lending to a certain person or, in other words, the chances of that person missing a loan payment or defaulting on a loan completely. Based on your credit score, your loan applications can be approved or denied. It also affects the interest rate that you’ll get as banks try to offset their potential losses in case of default by charging higher interest rate. The higher your credit score is the better for you, as you are considered a less risky borrower by creditors. Credit score is based on the information collected by 3 major consumer reporting agencies. There are several different credit scores that are commonly used. Although, they are all very similar in principal. more….


Most credit scores are computed based on your credit history using statistical methods. In other words, the system attempts to find groups of people who had similar credit in the past; based on their credit performance, hit would predict yours. The system has been in place for decades and proved to be a reliable tool when properly used.

Credit Score (FICO Score) Ranges and Distribution

Credit FICO score was developed by Earl Isaac and Bill Fair who created Fair Isaac Corporation in 1956 for this particular purpose. FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. Scores are distributed in such a way that 60% of them fall between 650 and 799. Median FICO score is 723. This means that 50% of people would have credit score higher than that and 50% would have score that is lower. FICO score is affected by several factors to a different degree.


Below are definition of approximate ranges for credit scores.

  • Any score up to 640 is considered poor.
  • 640 to 680 could be considered fair.
  • 680 to 720 is good
  • 720 and up is great credit score

Still each lending company has its own guidance on credit score ranges and there are many components which will be considered when issuing a loan. Make sure to get your free credit score government sponsored before going to lenders.

  • 35% – how timely do you make your loan payments. If you miss one or several payments by more than 30 days, your FICO score will significantly decrease.
  • 30% – ratio of your revolving debt (credit cards) to your credit limits. Although no specific data is available on this matter publicly, it is considered that using less than 25% of your credit line will not affect your credit score in adverse way at all. As you use larger percentage of credit that is available to you, the negative effect on the credit score will increase.
  • 15% – credit history length.  It is the amount of time that has passed since your first credit application – the more the better. For this reason it’s considered good practice to open a credit card as early as possible and keep it open even though you may get better cards at later time and stop using your first one. This component of credit score is particularly important to immigrants who have just arrived in the US. Luckily, it doesn’t affect your credit score a lot. It is generally considered that once credit history gets longer than 7 years, it stops being an issue at all.
  • 10% – types of credit used. Generally, something like house mortgage is considered “good credit” because it signifies long term commitment on your behalf. Next go auto loans and then credit cards.
  • 10% – recent credit applications and their results. The more you’ve applied for credit during last 12 months, the more it affects your credit score in a negative way. Although this factor is not really significant, it should still be considered. Don’t go applying for 10 credit cards if you know that you’ll need to apply for mortgage or auto loan sometime soon.

Negative information doesn’t stay on the credit report forever. Credit inquiries are stored only for the last 12 months. Late payments, judgments, tax liens, etc. stay on the report for 7 years. However, for tax liens 7 years are counted from the moment lien is fully paid. Bankruptcies stay for 10 years. Free credit score sponsored by the government program can be obtained via http://annualcreditreport.com/ website.

VantageScore

Historically, 3 major consumer reporting agencies each used a slightly different system to compute credit score. Although in principal, all these systems were similar among themselves and to FICO. To eliminate customer confusion and to simplify the system, in 2006 TransUnion, Experian and Equifax agreed to a common system called VantageScore. Though their system is the same,  credit score obtained from different agencies may be different because of data discrepancies (minor errors, some data not yet being available to all 3 CRAs, etc.).

VantageScore ranges from 501 to 990. This range is divided in 5 sub-ranges that are identified by letters and names:

  • 901..990 – A – Super Prime
  • 801..900 – B – Prime Plus
  • 701..800 – C – Prime
  • 601..700 – D – Non-Prime
  • 501..600 – F – High Risk

Other credit scores

There are many other credit score systems out there including NextGen, CE Score, Beacon, Empirica, Precision Score, etc. They are very similar among themselves and are based on the same data, so it’s very rare that person would be approved or turned down for credit because one credit score system was used and not the other. Much more common scenario is being rejected credit because one of the consumer reporting agencies  has some incorrect information on file.

If you want to get your free credit report right away you can visit government owned site annualcreditreport.com. Alternatively you can use annualcreditreport.gov or freecreditreport.gov or freescreditscore.gov websites which will redirect you to http://www.ftc.gov/freereports and will give you the same information. The reports on these sites are absolutely free and provided to you by FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act.