DAYTON, Ohio - An Internet web site discussing credit scores, which consumers have no right to know, was released to the public today.
Named The Credit Scoring Site, it reveals the secret nature of credit scoring, and consists of links to dozens of sources to learn about the practice, used by credit bureaus to distill a person's credit report into one number to facilitate faster, more objective credit granting decisions. Over 12 months of correspondence with the bureaus is included.
Consumers, however, have no legal right to know their score. Previously, the Federal Trade Commission required credit bureaus to disclose the scores to individuals, but the latest version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not make that requirement.
Now that the mortgage lending industry has embraced the use of the grading system, the credit bureau scores -- sometimes referred to as "broad-based risk scores", and ranging from about 350 to 900 [new information] -- are practically universal, used by all types of lenders from credit cards to car loans to million dollar home loans.
Greg Fisher, "Cadillac owner (1978 Eldo)(Red)" (a title used as a mnemonic device), the site's author, contends the new rule bears discussion in a time when information gathering is exploding and the rules of the new information age have yet to be clearly defined. "They've got the goods -- and the bads on you," argues Fisher. "And they're not giving up the one number that has the single most important impact on a creditor's decision to lend money: the credit score. How's a person supposed to know where they stand?"
The nation's three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, refuse to release the scores to consumers. They contend the numbers are their property and are not for sale to the public, and only release them to lenders and others they permit to obtain the information. Experian, a British company, claims knowing the tally will not help a person understand his credit standing because: 1) the score changes, 2) there are many types of scores, and 3) the same score could be used differently by different lenders.
Fisher counters, "Baloney. If I have a 750 credit bureau score today, and when I look in six months, I have a 700, I know I'm doing something wrong. It's that simple. These guys just don't like having the light on them."
Published stylishly in depressed shades of black and white, The Credit Scoring Site can be found at the address creditscoring.com. Says Fisher, "When things look brighter, we'll give it some color, but for now: monochrome. It's still a gray day."