The Credit
Scoring Site

A bleak account
Dirty Data
in the media

Clark Howard
USA Today
Chicago Tribune
The Christian Science Monitor
Federal Reserve
Credit Repair
The Detroit News
The Columbus Dispatch
The Augusta Chronicle
Realty Times
MoneyCentral Radio
Realty Times
Money Maze Radio
Blow by blow, from day one

Index | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998


  • Since the battle for your scores is over (and you won; see the next item in this update), now shift your attention to the crux of the biscuit, the real issue: Accuracy, at, starring Bruce C. Luckman of Marion, Satzberg, Trichon & Kogan, P.C., lawyer for TransUnion (formerly Trans Union).
  • The Anticlimax, June 11, 2003 - A "big day" (a better description is "some long years")
    • Fair Isaac: "Consumers Can See All Three FICO Scores Used by Lenders to Make Credit Decisions" - "This is a big day for American consumers... " [alt, 2014-09-04] (conversely, Minnesota Spin, it was 12 years for American consumers)
    • A look at the recent past

  • History
    • The Nader Letter - July, 1996
      Despite a year of stumbles in the House Banking Committee and months of silence from the Senate Banking Committee, "regulatory relief" legislation remains alive as a possible agenda item in the final weeks of the 104th Congress.

      The Senate Banking Committee bill - pared down sharply from the original monster legislation introduced by Senators Richard Shelby and Connie Mack - may come up on the Senate floor with short notice.

      The only obstacle at the moment is Senator Mack's objections to key provisions of a major reform of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Senator Richard Bryan, sponsor of the amendment on FCRA, is vigorously opposing Senator Mack's efforts to gut the legislation.

    • "There were a hell of a lot of lobbyists involved." - former Sen. Richard Bryan (so, what else is new?)
    • Congressional bill described in 1996 as "Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997, and for other purposes." H.R.3610, Became Public Law No: 104-208.

      "(Sec. 2408) States that nothing requires a consumer reporting agency to disclose to a consumer any credit scores, risk scores, and other predictors relating to her or him."

    • EPIC ALERT, Volume 3.18, October 23, 1996: [3] Credit Report Bill Revised

  • Palm Beach Post editorial: "The cost of bad credit"
    In their rate filings, they will be required to tell state insurance regulators how they are using the information. A separate bill, however, gives their methods a "trade secrets" exemption from Florida's public-records law, so customers can't see how they do it. That may lead to problems when lawsuits arise.
  • Teresa Dixon Murray, reporter for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland: "Savvy Consumers Are Eager to Know the Score" - "Scores are also being used increasingly by... Judges to determine the character of people appearing in court."
  • Consumer Reports' annual April auto issue lays out 10 common traps to avoid... The False Credit Score. The dealer checks your credit report but lies about your score... "
  • Columnist's experience: "Can't get any credit for not being in debt" - "Big Don's letter suggested that I had borrowed too little, not too much."
  • In Michigan:
    • "'Credit scoring' as a means of determining the size of insurance premiums - the subject of recent columns - continues to draw the wrath of readers... "
    • "After just two weeks in office, the state's insurance commissioner has cracked the whip on "credit scoring" as a way of setting insurance premiums... Speaking of credit, I've written about companies offering credit to children, pets and, in one memorable case, a garage."
  • In Ohio: "Department of Insurance Credit Score Rule Effective in September - Rule Establishes Consumer Protections"
    The rule prohibits insurance companies from using a consumer’s credit score as the sole criterion for rating or underwriting personal auto and homeowners insurance policies. The rule also will require certain disclosures be made to consumers, including an explanation of what factors in their credit report have contributed to a higher rate or rejection of coverage.
  • In Maine: "Maine Sends NCOIL-based Credit Bill to Governor" - "'It enabled legislators to preserve insurers' ability to use this highly predictive tool while providing consumer protections,' Weber concluded."
  • In Deleware: "Insurance chief: Consumers protected" - "For the first time, the state will have some control over the use of 'credit scoring' for insurance purposes."
  • In Wisconsin: "Credit revs up policy costs" - "Dick Luedke, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, said there’s a clear link between credit information and insurance claims."
  • U.S. House - H.R.1473: "To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide disclosures of credit-based insurance scoring information by insurers and credit reporting agencies, and for other purposes."
  • "Ask credit 'genius' for advice" - "More important, Warnken knows how to fix these glitches to boost his credit score - and boost his chances of getting the best loan at the best price."
  • NY Times: "Surprise Jumps in Credit Rates Bring Scrutiny" - "While each credit card issuer decides which factors warrant a rate change, virtually all companies keep tabs on a cardholder's credit score, the single number calculated to represent the information in a credit report.
  • Syndicated national columnist Robert Bruss describes FICO scores as "arbitrtary": "For example, the arbitrary FICO scores are based on credit history alone."
  • Chicago Sun Times: Credit scores "over 900"! (!!!) (Fair Isaac: "FICO scores range between 300 and 850.")
  • is mentioned by Clark Howard
  • Consumer Reports: "In his 'Memo to Members' in the October 2002 issue of Consumer Reports, Consumers Union President Jim Guest calls for every state to ban insurance companies from using credit scores to set rates."
  • Kansas City Star columnist: "SURVIVAL SKILLS: Credit score could determine flight status"
  • The FDIC chimes (Why not? Everybody else does.) in: "Note: Under some credit scoring systems, canceling credit cards can lower your credit score, not raise it."
  • CBS, The Early Show: "Understanding Your Credit Score" (video)
  • Fair, Isaac
    • You big dummies
      • "American Consumers Score a 'D' on Fair Isaac's National Credit Genius Quiz"
      • Ironic, premature (who "celebrates" a D grade?) press release: "The event is a week-long celebration of the financial gains available to consumers by knowing their credit health and using that knowledge to boost their financial prospects." (note to copyboy: Get serious. This is a dull topic; you're not peddling soda-pop and bluejeans anymore.)
    • Newsletter: "A signal to mortgage lenders: Standard & Poor's accepts NextGen scores"
      So, here's a signal to Fair, Isaac: If you're going to hustle a new score, then release it to consumers. Haven't you learned a damned thing?

      Let's ask.

      And, what do you think, Mr. Harney?

  • FICO vs. Fake-O (this is getting old): Experian still won't give you the real score. Why would anybody pay $14.95 for theirs when they can get the real scores from TransUnion or Equifax for only $12.95?
  • "Fair Isaac Announces National Credit Power Week... "
    • Press release, 4/3/03 calls it a "celebration."
    • Attention news media (the target audience-- along with legislators-- of this Web site): Lining up your guests or quotes? For the antithesis-- and some fun questions with which to ask Fair, Isaac-- call
  • Tricky, tricky! Here's the new secret score:
    • Fair Isaac: "NextGen scores provide financial institutions with unsurpassed broad-based risk assessment. Their acceptance will allow Standard and Poor's to help lenders tap into a powerful credit risk assessment solution, and will help accelerate widespread adoption of our NextGen scores in the mortgage loan industry."
    • Some Fair, Isaac email addresses; ask them for your "NextGen" score. Please copy
    • Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
      • "TSA Selects Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems to build TSA Passenger Pre-Screening System"
      • Downplaying it (the missing press release): Lockheed M&DS News
    • Oakland Tribune: "After this week's summit, members of the American Civil Liberties Union and Washington-based privacy advocacy, the Center for Democracy and Technology reported that the TSA told them than the Delta experiment "'is on hold.'"
    • ACLU: "Under the proposed CAPPS II system, a check against various databases, including law enforcement, intelligence, and credit agencies, would be run each time someone buys an airline ticket and a risk assessment “score” for each passenger would be assigned: green for minimal, yellow to spark heightened security procedures and red for those judged to pose an acute danger. People with red scores would be referred to law enforcement."
    • EPIC:
      • "Documents Show Errors in TSA's "No-Fly" Watchlist"
      • "Coalition Letter on Passenger Profiling" (American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union, American Defense Council, Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Democracy and Technology, Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Free Congress Foundation, People for the American Way)
    • "Budget Office: No Airline Security For You!"
    • NPR: "Frazzled Travelers Fight to Clear Their Names" (audio)
    • CNN: "The government's plan to assign a threat level to all airline passengers is running into trouble with budget officials who aren't convinced it will reduce the risk of terrorism."
    • "FED CIO Says CAPPS II Funding At Risk" - "Once that information is entered, the airline computer reservation system will automatically link to the TSA for a computer background check on the traveler that can include a credit, banking history and criminal background check."
    • Wired News: "Traveling? Take Big Brother Along"
    • "According to James Loy, administrator of the TSA at the Department of Homeland Security, the system will survey databases available to every commercial entity in America but will not reach crime computers or bank records."
    • CAPPS II News
    • "Senators call for CAPPS oversight"
    • "Senator Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.), who earlier this year spearheaded an effort to cut off funding for the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program, won Senate Commerce Committee approval last week of an amendment to require Congressional oversight of the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) being developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)."
    • CNN: "Transportation officials say a contractor will be picked soon to build the nationwide computer system, which will check such things as credit reports and bank account activity and compare passenger names with those on government watch lists."
    • "Never before in the history of this country has the travel of free citizens been contingent on government permission."
  • Rhode Island state representative Victor G. Moffitt:
    "I find it incomprehensible that something as simple as checking your own credit for possible errors can result in harming your overall credit score. When I learned of this deceptive practice, I was compelled to introduce legislation to end this immediately. This clearly discriminated against consumers shopping around for better rates on mortgages, automobiles, et cetera."
  • Pop media
    • Dueling reporters
      • Tracy Davidson, Philadelphia NBC 10 Consumer Reporter: "FICO says that having open accounts you don't use or an available line of credit will not lower your score."
      • Michelle Singletary, Columnist, The Washington Post: "If you want to improve your credit standing, one place to start is to close unused credit card accounts."
    • Liz-- she's everywhere.
      • Liz-- gettin' jiggy wid' it:
        "Rather than making assumptions about how credit scoring works, you might want to contact the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, which has information and seminars for lending professionals on this topic. Your clients deserve a broker who truly is well informed -- not just one who thinks she is."
      • Liz-- with friendlier advice: "Closing accounts can hurt your credit score, so accounts once opened are usually best left alone."
      • Fair, Isaac Reason Code #4: "Too many bank or national revolving accounts" (the secret list)
    • More recent Liz: The Opting Out Controversy!
      • Liz:
        "By the way, selling such lists is the way credit bureaus make money. These are private businesses that gather and sell information about consumers.

        "Other than using the opt-out service -- which reduces, but doesn't eliminate such credit solicitations -- there's not much you can do.


      • Equifax: "Consumer's Right to Opt-Out: Consumers may opt-out of pre-approved offers of credit or insurance by calling one toll-free number: 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)."
      • Experian: "You can remove your name from prescreened credit or insurance offer mailing lists from Experian, Innovis, TransUnion and Equifax, by calling 1 888 5OPT OUT (1 888 567 8688)."
      • TransUnion (formerly Trans Union): "If you opt out, you will no longer appear on direct marketing lists obtained from these four credit reporting agencies."
    • Quick and easy pop media fodder: Slow news day? Write about credit scores.
      • Dos Mundos: "Understanding and reviewing one’s credit score" - "FICO scores range between 300 and 870." (Fair, Isaac: "FICO scores range from 300 to 850.")(more Fun with Numbers)
      • Channel 7, San Diego: "How To Boost Your Credit Rating" - "According to Consumer Reports, there are three digits that can control a person's life... The credit reporting companies rate a consumer's credit worthiness by giving them a three digit score from 300 to 900, the higher the better." (Fair, Isaac: "FICO scores range from 300 to 850.")(more Fun with Numbers)
      • Liz Pulliam Weston, contributor to the Los Angeles Times: "Does it help or hurt to have one consolidated payment rather than paying on multiple accounts?"
      • Houston Chronicle: "Hurts: The introductory price for all of this is $39.95. That's a lot to pay for reports you can get for free if you're turned down for a credit card, loan or other financial arrangement."
  • How Fair, Isaac makes, spends money
    • "Consumers helping Fair, Isaac score" - "However, some of Fair, Isaac's success can be attributed to the company's decision in 2001 to provide FICO scores to consumers. Fair, Isaac and lenders once jealously guarded the proprietary credit rating system, but legislative and consumer pressure eventually prompted them to make the scores publicly available."
    • Minneapolis: "Fair, Isaac takes ritzy downtown space at AT&T Tower"
    • San Diego: "Fair, Isaac inks lease deal - Agrees to occupy 129,752 square feet in San Diego"


  • Fair, Isaac: Then and Now - The corny spin on its debacle

    Also, see:
    "Loan Biz Not Playing Fair, Isaac" - "So why do the credit scorers want their tallies kept secret?... According to a statement from Fair, Isaac, the answer is simple: Consumers won't understand what the numbers mean." - Wired News, April 7, 2000

    "Fair, Isaac drops the ball in credit info game" - "Seemingly oblivious that the times and the tide are both turning against it, the Marin County financial software company is struggling to keep its coveted credit-scoring system out of the view of consumers." - San Francisco Business Times, June 2, 2000

    "Whose Credit Is It Anyway?" - "Cannon's bill is one of three such bills working their way through Congress." - Wired News, September 22, 2000

    "How Fair Is Fair Isaac? The secrecy surrounding the company's proprietary credit-scoring system is sparking a firestorm of criticism -- and legislative action" - "The insurance hubbub isn't Fair Isaac's first run-in with privacy advocates. In September, 2000, it was hauled in before a congressional subcommittee to explain why consumers don't have access to their FICO scores." - Businessweek Online, April 4, 2002

    "Take Advantage of Fair Isaac's New Openness" - "A Complete 180. This vision of the future is quite a departure from Fair Isaac's past." - The, August 6, 2002

  • More on Fair, Isaac
    • Fair, Isaac's new secret scores: NextGen
    • Press release, 2/12/03: "Fair, Isaac Introduces TransUnion-Based FICO Scores On"
    • Fair, Isaac's Super Bowl spot:

      Tree-lined street, Anywhere, USA, viewed from a moving vehicle ANNOUNCER (bland voice): YOUR HOME, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR
      Real estate agent working a couple in a sun-drenched room LIFE. WHEN MAKING MAJOR PURCHASES, THERE'S A
      (close up) Two smiling pre-school children in pajamas LOT YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT. AND
      More Americana street viewed from the moving vehicle EVENTUALLY, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HOW
      Family (with dog) sitting on the porch of the American Dream LENDERS SEE YOU BECAUSE THEY DETERMINE
      Teenager mowing lawn with adult supervision WHAT YOU PAY FOR A LOAN.
      Infant toddling from an adult to another adult's arms AT MY-FICO-DOT-COM, YOU CAN GET THE CREDIT SCORE
      The same infant with mother and father, posing under a shade-tree LENDERS USE TO MAKE THEIR DECISIONS.
      A young couple smiling at a computer screen
      > FICO score
      > credit report
      > FICO score simulator
      (HOLD SUPER-IMPOSED WORDS) Car salesman handing over the keys to a 40-ish couple STRENGTHEN YOUR FUTURE. KNOW YOUR SCORE.
      (HOLD SUPER-IMPOSED WORDS); (close-up) Two school girls. GAIN CONTROL OF
      Family of four in front of house with a white picket fence [oh, brother] YOUR FINANCIAL WORLD. VISIT MY-FICO-DOT-COM AND
      (Disolve to slide):
      See how lenders see you
      (fade out)

      The final count: 12 slices of life; 15 adults, 10 children.

  • Insurance
    • Alaska legislation: "'Bill would halt 'credit scoring'" - "Their testimony revealed that the driver with better credit paid a lower insurance rate despite the fact that he had been arrested for driving while intoxicated... 'Just having a store credit card like JC Penny's or Nordstrom's can lower your score,' [State Senator John] Cowdery said in a prepared statement."
    • In Washington State: "Starting Jan. 1, Washington's new law, expected to be closely tracked by the industry and by regulators from other states, limits a company's use of consumer-credit history in deciding whether to issue a new policy or to renew or cancel an existing one."
    • In Montana: "Dawn Torte, 47, called her agent when she got a notice that her car insurance bill was going up $70 a month."
Credit Info Center
National Mortgage News
MSN MoneyCentral