"They act like it's a matter of national security." - Greg Fisher, author of creditscoring.com, The Credit Scoring Site, in 2000, quoted in Newsweek magazine
|September 30, 1996||The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act (an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act) becomes law, allowing secret credit scores, but providing consumers access to all information in their files.|
|April 1997 - May 1998||Author of what becomes The Credit Scoring Site engages the three national credit reporting agencies in a correspondence regarding credit scores. Formulates the question: What is the right number of credit cards to have to maximize the score?|
|September 30, 1997||The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act becomes effective.|
|September 4, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site is released.|
|September 17, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site is named a USA TODAY Hot Site.|
|October 11, 1998||Silicon Valley Congressman Tom Campbell posts address of The Credit Scoring Site in his Online Town Hall Meeting.|
|October 12, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site appears in the Technology Leadership Center at Kansas State University: "Why is it an important site?"|
|November 5, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site is listed in the International Real Estate DigestTM (4 stars (97th percentile); Equifax, Experian and Trans Union each have 4 stars).|
|November 16, 1998||A front-page story about The Credit Scoring Site appears in Credit Management & Marketplace News. [2013-09-03 update: That periodical is no longer published. Its publisher was listed (with the publication) as a member entitled to admission in the U.S. Congress Periodical Press Galleries.]|
|December 8, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site appears in InvestorGuide: "CreditScoring.com - What credit scoring is and why it's important."|
|December 19, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site appears in the "Consumer Credit Resources" section of yourcredit.com: "This section features the best sources of information on consumer credit, from government to non-profits, on the web."|
|December 30, 1998||The Credit Scoring Site appears in the "U.S. General Store" in the General Services Administration web site.|
|January 7, 1999||
Responding to the November 8th report that "... Fair, Isaac, and home real estate, mortgage and credit industry leaders have begun quietly meeting to develop ways to better educate the borrowing public about scores and how they work...", creditscoring.com announces the offer of free web space for the leaders to explain, and points out that creditscoring.com is the most memorable address for the job.
Equifax's May, 1997 statement about educating you. They, however, may not have been in on the recent quietly held meeting.
|January 26, 1999||Experian CEO and Chairman of the Board announces retirement.|
|February 4, 1999||Fair, Isaac conducts a survey which includes the question: "How interested would you be in knowing your own credit score?"|
|March 17, 1999||The Credit Scoring Site appears in the invest-o-rama! -- directory of credit card sites on the web: "CreditScoring.com. The facts behind credit scoring and how it works."|
|March 24, 1999||The Credit Scoring Site's Auto Insurance section appears.|
|April 8, 1999||Fair, Isaac Announces Larry Rosenberger to Become Head of R&D Unit and Resign as CEO|
|May 6, 1999||Equifax Chairman of the Board announces retirement.|
|May 9, 1999||The Credit Scoring Site adds a hyperlink to Credit Reports - - with your Credit Score!, a page on www.creditconnection.org.|
|May 10, 1999||The Credit Scoring Site appears on About.com.|
|May 27, 1999||The page titled Credit Reports - - with your Credit Score! disappears.|
|June 3, 1999||The Federal Trade Commission announces: FTC Staff To Hold Public Forum on Credit Scoring|
|July 22, 1999||FTC staff holds and tape-records public forum on credit scoring; national credit bureaus are represented by some guy.|
|July 25, 1999||About.com - Personal Credit: US: "The Credit Scoring Site - A must see site if you want the inside track to credit scoring."|
|July 28, 1999||About.com - Banking/Financial Services: "See The Credit Scoring Site for one person's account of attempts to understand credit scoring and a comprehensive directory of Web resources."|
|September 14, 1999||Fair Credit Full Disclosure Act - H.R.2856, SPONSOR: Rep Cannon, Chris (introduced 09/14/99). A bill to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require the disclosure of all information in a consumer's file, including credit scores, risk scores, and any other predictors.|
|November 12, 1999||HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo: "In effect, FHA's new automated underwriting system will be like a glass box, exposed to the light of day and public scrutiny."|
|March 20, 2000||Fannie Mae riffs on HUD's "glass box" simile, announcing that Fannie Mae will "stop relying on the FICO credit score, which is too opaque... We won't have a black box or even a glass box. We will have a completely open book."|
|May 15, 2000||Trans Union announces that it is creating a credit score that it will make available to consumers. creditscoring.com comments, "It's just an attempt to draw attention away from the real score."|
|May 25, 2000||California Senate passes SB 1607, a measure to require credit score disclosure to consumers. The vote is 32 to 1.|
|June 7, 2000||Freddie Mac calls on Fair, Isaac and the credit reporting agencies to take "whatever steps are necessary to ensure that borrowers can receive and interpret the FICO credit scores used in the mortgage decision.|
|June 8, 2000||
Fannie Mae announces: "... Fannie Mae's system - due next month - will no longer rely on the FICO credit score... "|
One day after Freddie Mac's admonishment (see above) Fair, Isaac states, "Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. (NYSE: FIC) today made public a clear and comprehensive list of the factors used in its FICO® credit bureau risk scores."
Later, Fair, Isaac brags about it before the U.S. Senate as its "Initiative to Demystify FICO Scores."
According to an FTC official, Fair, Isaac announces "that it was holding discussions with the three major credit reporting agencies about changing contract agreements that may prevent lenders from disclosing scores to borrowers."
|June 9, 2000||USA Today headline, "Credit scores, criteria to be disclosed." "'We've not said we'll gladly go along with any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to engage in free-range disclosure' of credit scores, [Fair Isaac's] McCorkell says."|
|June 18, 2000||The Washington Post reports, "Next month, Fair, Isaac, the creator of the FICO scoring system used by numerous lenders, plans to provide consumers with the three-digit grade that plays a giant part in determining who receives loans and how much they pay." Scores are released nine months later.|
|July 17, 2000||The Credit Scoring Site is quoted by The Detroit News: "But if you can't tell me how many credit cards to have, you can't tell me I have too many or too few.|
|July 18, 2000||U.S.Senator Charles Schumer sponsors S.3063 (introduced 9/18/2000), Consumer Credit Score Disclosure Act of 2000.|
|September 21, 2000||
U.S. House Financial Institutions Subcommittee holds hearing on credit score disclosure. Schumer states, "I find it not only wrong, but somewhat sinister, that in the mortgage process, lenders have access to all the decision-influencing information and consumers are left in the dark.
Federal Trade Commission says that it "supports the disclosure of credit scores and information regarding those scores in a context that is useful and meaningful to consumers." The Commission vote authorizing the testimony was 5-0.
|September 29, 2000||California governor signs credit score disclosure law.|
|December 28, 2000||Part Two, creditaccuracy.com is released.|
|January 11, 2001||Equifax proclaims, "Fair, Isaac and Equifax Form Strategic Alliance To Provide Consumers Premier Online Credit Score Service."|
|February 21, 2001||Part 1 (The Credit Scoring Site, the first act in this three-act play-- just a convenient introduction starring the little three-digit number) climaxes as Part 2 (creditaccuracy.com, the second act, and the story of the real, broader and deeper problem: consumer file inaccuracy) begins in earnest. The first premise: You don't get all information in your file, even though the law requires it. Stars TransUnion and Equifax.|
|March 19, 2001||Fair Isaac/Equifax "credit bureau score" is released to consumers.|
|October 17, 2001||Georgia insurance commissioner holds insurance credit scoring hearing.|
|May 21, 2002||Fair, Isaac introduces Equifax FICO Score Simulator|
|August 11, 2002||The Credit Scoring Site announces "TransUnion Releases Its FICO Score, but forgot to tell anybody." Fair, Isaac mentions it in its November/December newsletter.|
|December 17, 2002||Consumer Federation of America releases the study Credit Score Accuracy and Implications for Consumers, concluding, "We estimate that tens of millions of consumers are at risk of being penalized by inaccurate credit report information and incorrect credit scores."|
|January 26, 2003||After stating "We're not a household word. I don't know that we want to be" in 2000, Fair, Isaac runs spot during Super Bowl (transcript)|
|June 11, 2003||Fair Isaac encourages "consumers to check all three of their FICO scores" (13 years after instituting its first credit bureau score). Experian FICO score released to consumers. From 2009 to 2013, the Experian-based FICO score would be unavailable on myFICO.com.|
|June 26, 2003||The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (The FACT Act) to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. As passed, requires disclosure of "the current credit score of the consumer or the most recent credit score of the consumer that was previously calculated by the credit reporting agency for a purpose related to the extension of credit."|
|December 4, 2003||The President signs The FACT Act into law.|
|March 3, 2004||Sacramento Bee reports "Allstate Insurance Co. will pay a $3 million fine to settle charges by state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi that it used credit information to discourage low-income applicants."|
|September 17, 2004||
The Credit Scoring Site and creditaccuracy.com author submits comment to The Federal Reserve regarding credit reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion's illegal practice (hiding information from consumers; disclosure of "all information" in a consumer's file has been required since 1997): "Since your study deals with disputes of accuracy of consumer information, it would be incorrect for you to assume that a consumer can obtain all the information in his files in the first place."
Equifax and TransUnion do not respond.
|September 21, 2004||Consumer Federation of America releases survey indicating that "most Americans do not understand credit scores even when they think their knowledge of credit is good."|
|December 1, 2004||Western states' consumers become eligible for free credit report as part of the FACT Act.|
|January 25, 2005||TransUnion announces contest for highest credit scores; $1,000 prize. Credit score used is not Fair Isaac's.|
|January 31, 2005||State of Texas Department of Insurance completes legislatively mandated study on the use of credit scoring.|
|March 1, 2005||Midwest states' consumers become eligible for free credit report as part of the FACT Act.|
|March 20, 2005||Author of The Credit Scoring Site states that the issue of consumer credit file accuracy is more important than credit scoring.|
|May 13, 2005||Anti-trust suit against national credit reporting agencies proceeds.|
|June 1, 2005||Southern states' consumers become eligible for free credit report as part of the FACT Act.|
|September 1, 2005||Eastern states' and all U.S. Territories' consumers become eligible for free credit report as part of the FACT Act.|
|June 18, 1997||Was asked if it will release credit score.|
|July 2, 1997||"I don't want to respond to him and have an e-mail correspondence, whther he is a Cadilac owner or not. The best response going forward is no response."|
|September 12, 1997||"... Repeating the same request to different people within Trans Union is pointless..."|
|May 20, 1998||To attain the highest credit score (in the score Trans Union produces for conventional mortgage loan underwriting, the "Emperica"), how can I tell what is the right "number of bank revolving accounts"?|
|May 29, 1998||"Your message was received and forwarded to Mr. Pritzker. He is looking into it."|
|April 23, 1997||Was asked how to obtain credit score.|
|July 5, 1997||"... The FICO/Risk Score is a software package that is provided by Experian to credit lenders..."|
|August 21, 1997||You have told me nothing of any use. Maybe it would help to narrow the scope. Here is one specific question: What is the right "number of revolving bank accounts"? Two? Five? Ten? Fifty? Four-hundred sixty-three?|
|October 8, 1997||CEO and Chairman of the Board is asked, "...what is the right "number of revolving bank accounts?..."|
|October 9, 1997||CEO and Chairman of the Board: "... all future correspondence from you to Experian must be in written form mailed through the U.S. Postal Service..."|
|October 10, 1997||(via U.S. Mail) Was asked, "...how can I tell what is the right 'number of revolving bank accounts?'..."|
|October 22, 1997||(via U.S. Mail, return receipt requested) Was asked "...how can I tell what is the right 'number of revolving bank accounts?'..."|
|November 4, 1997||(via U.S. Mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery) - Was asked "...how can I tell what is the right 'number of revolving bank accounts?'..."|
|April 1, 1998||Experian, UK refuses to forward email to The Rt Hon Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale, The Great Universal Stores P.L.C.|
|April 2, 1998||"... further correspondence will achieve nothing... "|
|May 5, 1998||His email address obtained, The Rt Hon Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale, The Great Universal Stores P.L.C. is asked, "... how can I tell what is the right 'number of revolving bank accounts'?"|
|May 21, 1998||"I have confirmed with Dr Rudge that as a non-executive director he does not have the information to answer your question..."|
|January 26, 1999||CEO and Chairman of the Board announces retirement.|
|April 23, 1997||Was asked how to obtain credit score.|
|April 23, 1997||States - "... the scores are not available to the general public for 'ordering'..."|
|May 12, 1997||"Because of the growing interest in scores, Equifax is looking at ways to help educate consumers more directly about scores along with credit grantors, but there is nothing immediately available yet."|
|October 24, 1997||States, "... A highest score does not exist..."|
|November 7, 1997||
GF: Oh, O.K. Ah, to attain the highest credit score known as the Beacon, how can I tell what's the right number of bank revolving accounts?|
RC: O.K., and I- and I guess the answer- and unfortunately I'll probably give you the answer you might have heard before- there, there is no right number. I mean those, those scoring models are based on statistical- you know, regression analysis that one variable affects what's- how it reads another.
GF: If a reason code says that I have two few or two many bank revolving accounts, how can I tell how many to add or subtract to avoid having that as a reason the score is not higher?
RC: Um, again, you could eliminate all of them and then something else might come up as a, as a reason. What, what, what- if it prints out at the top of a report, all it's giving you is one of, one of the top reasons.
GF: Uh, huh.
RC: Ahhm, but, but again there could be an- oth-other reasons behind that. If you, if you eliminated one reason, there-there-there could be another. Um, just so- there is no one magical number that you want to hit.
GF: I see. Do-do you think that makes the reasons- um, useless?
RC: Are we talking about- I mean, a particular situation? I mean maybe I'm able to address your concerns if I'm able to look at your report and-and-and see what-what problem I'm trying to fix.
RC: You're-you're asking me... you're asking me for what-what really is proprietary information and I've worked with folks that write those models, and you know, some of them had master's, some of them had doctorates in econometric modeling. I mean, so it's not as simple as, "give me-give me one-one value for one variable." Ah, you if you have a particular concern as a consumer, I-I'll be glad to try to address that, but I mean to-to sit down and discuss and explain how credit scoring and our models work, I mean, I don't-I don't feel obliged to do that.
GF: Yes, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act says you don't have to. Um, and that's o.k., uh, you're well within your rights not to. But it doesn't make any sense to me that nobody can tell me, ah, if that's a reason what action I can take to eliminate it. Um, so how do I get the highest possible score?
RC: I don't know if there is such a thing.
GF: Fair, Isaac told me that 900 was the highest.
RC: And, it might be.
GF: You don't know.
RC: And I don't know if every credit grantor would look at that as a positive.
|November 19, 1997||
WG: I mean, and I don't know how somebody's going to explain all that to you. And I also don't know why you—you—you- I mean, I-I don't know why you want to know that. But I, you, you know, (laughs) I don't know how that's going to benefit you.|
GF: Ah, just simply so I can have the highest score so that I can get the best rates and so that my- credit applications go smoothly and- that they're approved at all.
GF: Doesn't that make sense to you?
WG: Y-Y-Y-Yeah, I guess it does to some degree. But, I-I-I will tell-
GF: To what degree?
WG: To what degree, what? I mean, eh, ah, eh, what-what, as long as they're approved, why do you care?
GF: Uhm, I have-
WG: Uh, uh, are you—uhp, are they being declined? Then that obviously is-is a problem. If they're not being declined, then, you know-
GF: Have you heard of variable, ah, pricing based on credit scoring?
GF: Have you heard of va-
WG: Yes, I have-
GF: - riable pricing?
WG: Yes, I have. But I-I-I-
GF: That's why I want to know, then. You asked.
WG: Un-un-un- O.K- unfortunately, I cannot provide that to you.
|December 3, 1997||States, "The highest score in numbers for Beacon is about 850... I would suggest asking you lender or mortgage underwriting what they are looking for in regards to your file. They have stated you have too few revolving accounts so it would be best to ask them."|
|December 3, 1997||Requested President and Chief Operating Officer respond.|
|March 19, 1998||First of letters to individuals of Board of Directors|
|May 19, 1998||"Mr. Dahlberg in a spaceman suit is much better."|
|May 21, 1998||"Mr. Thayer stated 'A highest score does not exist.' The subsequent message from firstname.lastname@example.org states 'The highest score in numbers for Beacon is about 850.'
So, which one is it really?"
|May 6, 1999||Chairman of the Board announces retirement.|
A 1999 archive of this page, itself (before the 2001 release of FICO credit scores directly to citizens).