Credit scores simply explained

Let's start with the basics

Credit scores provide a snapshot of your financial health. Most visitors to LendingTree are interested in the credit score needed for a home loan. But your credit score can affect everything from credit card limits to loans to your ability to rent an apartment or buy a home. Higher credit scores indicate that you are more credit worthy whereas lower credit scores suggests you may be a risky borrower.

Credit scores can differ depending on which credit bureau calculates your score. To simplify this confusion, the three main credit bureaus partnered together to create the VantageScore. LendingTree provides you with the most recent version of this credit score: VantageScore 3.0®.

How Your Score Is Calculated

Specific credit related behaviors, such as late payments, show up in your credit file as 'reason codes'. We simply call them “Reasons.” You can receive up to 5 good or bad reasons that explain why your score is what it is. But if your score is low, don't worry. There are opportunities to get a home loan with a low credit score.

Glossary Terms

Credit Score
A credit score is a number generated by a statistical system used to rate the credit of an applicants according to various characteristics relating to... <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-score' title='See the full definition of Credit Score'>read more</a>
Credit Report
A credit report is a report of an individual's credit history that a credit reporting company or credit repository prepares to determine a borrower's... <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-report' title='See the full definition of Credit Report'>read more</a>
Credit History
The record of how you've borrowed and repaid debts. <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-history' title='See the full definition of Credit History'>read more</a>
Credit Bureau
An agency that keeps your credit record. <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-bureau' title='See the full definition of Credit Bureau'>read more</a>
Credit Reporting Company
Company that collects information received from more than one credit repository, merges all the information, and reports it in one form; merged credit... <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-reporting-company' title='See the full definition of Credit Reporting Company'>read more</a>
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion,... <a href='/glossary/what-is-equal-credit-opportunity-act' title='See the full definition of Equal Credit Opportunity Act'>read more</a>
Revolving Debt
Open-ended accounts, usually with variable interest rates, pre-determined credit limits and payments that are calculated as a percentage of the unpaid... <a href='/glossary/what-is-revolving-debt' title='See the full definition of Revolving Debt'>read more</a>

Make your credit score work for you

Savings Alert

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A smart credit score works to save you money

Every day we automatically evaluate your credit score and your current loans to see if there are any potential savings. We do this by comparing your current loans to recent loan offers from hundreds of lenders. If we think you can save money, we’ll simply send you a note. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything - we’ll take care of it for you.

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What you get

Your Free Credit Score & Summary Updated Every Month

What is VantageScore 3.0®?

You’ve probably heard of the FICO score – the Fair Isaac Corporation – that calculates your credit score based on the 3 major consumer reporting agencies (CRAs): Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Now that Vantage has been available for the past seven years, even if you get a FICO score, you’ll likely get a Vantage score along with it because they are both accepted industry standard for credit reporting.

We use the newly constructed VantageScore 3.0 because it’s an incredibly robust, predictive and consistent credit scoring model. The VantageScore 3.0 is based on the last two years of your credit data and behavior and converted into a score that ranges between 300 and 850.

  • Poor300-599
  • Fair600-659
  • Good660-719
  • Very Good720-779
  • Excellent780-850
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of Americans don't know their score.
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Need an annual credit report?

Why do you need an annual credit report?

Getting your free credit score is a great way to take ownership of your financial well being. But it’s also a good idea to get a copy of your credit report, too. A credit report isn’t just for your records, it’s a good opportunity to check it thoroughly for any mistakes and, if you find any, to promptly correct them. We don’t offer annual credit reports at LendingTree, but you can get yours by simply following the directions to the right on an annual basis.

How to order an annual credit report

You can order your annual credit score by either visiting, call 1-877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.

How to improve your score

There are a few things you can do to improve your credit score over time. Things like always paying bills when they’re due, keeping a modest balance on your credit cards and paying more than the minimum due each month. However, even if you’re doing all these things, you may find that a debt consolidation or professional credit assistance could be the quickest route to get you back on track.

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