Credit Bureaus Team on New Scoring System

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The three national credit bureaus said yesterday that they have developed a credit scoring system designed to simplify the process for credit grantors and consumers. The VantageScore system was created as a joint venture among Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and is owned by VantageScore LLC.


Credit grantors must have permissible uses to be eligible to access the data under the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Direct marketers of credit such as credit card issuers would be eligible to access the data as long as they follow all regulations set forth by the FCRA.


"VantageScore fills the market need for a choice, consistency and clarity in credit scoring," David Rubinger, spokesman for Equifax, Atlanta, said during a joint news conference. "The score itself was developed by a team of experts from all three companies."


Though each bureau has its own proprietary credit scoring system that it will continue to offer and market to clients, the new system tries to present a level playing field for users of the data and consumers.


"VantageScore is unusual in that it delivers a highly predictive and objective score by leveraging a consistent scoring methodology across all three national credit reporting systems," said Donald Girard, spokesman for Experian, Costa Mesa, CA. "The three companies sampled the very same consumers in our databases at the very same point in time to develop this score. It is virtually the same across all three national credit companies. Any score variance between the three is primarily attributed to content difference in the file or the data in each individual file."


According to information on the product Web site at www.vantagescore.com, the scoring system was developed from a national sample of 15 million anonymous consumer records, which were scored using a range of 501-990 based on a 24-month period.


"VantageScore is a direct response to market demand," said Colleen Tunney, spokeswoman for TransUnion, Chicago. "Credit grantors are always looking for more choices. This is about providing a consistent score that is easy to understand and highly predictive."


VantageScore's success depends on how it goes over with credit grantors, the main target audience for yesterday's announcement.


"The importance for today is that the regulatory bodies and credit grantors are aware of this," Rubinger said. "You need to have adoption by the credit-granting community in order for it to have the greatest impact for the consumer."


The bureaus will market VantageScore to their clients separately and would not take questions about those specific efforts during the conference. However, they did say that consumers likely would be the second wave of their individual efforts.


"Initially, the credit grantors will pay the most attention to this," Girard said, "and, in time, consumers will grow to understand the benefits of this score."


Tunney agreed, adding, "These days consumers are much more engaged in managing their credit."


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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