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Credit Scores

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About one out of three Americans have purchased some kind of a credit score within the past six months. Three years ago it was taboo in the credit industry for consumers to have access to their credit scores. Lenders were concerned that consumers would become credit score savvy and begin to game the system. Many thought such information in the hands of consumers would eventually undermine the integrity of the U.S. consumer credit system. However the mind-set changed after E-Loan began handing out credit scores to consumers in early 2000, followed by a new California law requiring lenders to disclose credit scores. The floodgates have since opened. It has become a profit machine for some credit bureaus and for the leading credit scoring firm, Fair Isaac. More consumers today are getting their personal credit files and obtaining credit scores than ever before. For example, Equifax, the largest of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, reported that its consumer revenues doubled to $12 million during the last three months of 2002, compared to the last three months of 2001. For all of 2002, Equifax’s racked up $39 million in consumer revenues, an 80% increase over 2001. Equifax and Fair Isaac previously reported that more than one million consumers purchased the “Score Power” service in the first year of the service, which was launched in March 2001. All three major credit bureaus offer access to scores plus optional services such as credit monitoring. For more information visit or call :Equifax (800) 685-1111 or www.equifax.com; Experian (888) EXPERIAN or www.experian.com ; or, Trans Union (800) 888-4213 or www.transunion.com.

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