Rant: Credit Score stupidity

First – why do I have to subscribe to a service to get my FICO score? Sure I can cancel within the trial period and pay nothing, but I’m naturally averse to promotions that are betting on you to screw up. I’m sure my realism cost me a few points.

Second – the credit reporting agencies threw a hissy fit with Fair Isaac and came up with some kind of new scoring system amongst themselves since I last checked. WTF??

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I just blew $10 on my TransUnion credit score after getting my free report. Know what I found  out? My 837 puts me in the 65th percentile. Apparently credit scores and SAT scores have a lot in common – you get several hundred points for putting your name on the paper.

According to the apartment complex I’m trying to get into in Colorado, I need to be in the 75th percentile or better. There is nothing bad in that report – just a bunch of credit cards that I closed 8-10 years ago and my two current ones showing a debt ratio of about 12% (I let my mom use one of them to part-pay for my little sister’s wedding).

Is the lack of variety in my types of debt really worth 1/3 of my credit score?

How about giving me 50 points for living in NYC for 10 years and always paying my hideous 4-figure rent on time every month? After all, if I need a credit score to get the roof over my head, certainly my ability to pay for it should count!

How about giving me another 50 for financing all education since my BA (master’s degree, teaching certificate and now the Rolf Institute) out of my savings? And I got through undergrad at a private college with no parental contribution and no GSL/Stafford/Sallie Mae or whatever the kids are calling in these days. Just a Perkins – $6200 – paid it off 2 years early. 

So I’m too old for a student loan. I don’t have a mortgage and rent doesn’t count. I live in Manhattan and don’t want or need a car, so no car payments. The most expensive things I lust after are a plane ticket to Nairobi and an LCD TV, both of which I am capable of charging and paying off immediately. Even if I didn’t pay them off immediately, it’s still “only” credit card debt.

Correct me if I’m wrong folks…
If I buy anything that involves a payment plan, it boosts my score.
However, they do a credit check – which knocks points off my score.
Sounds like a zero-sum game to me, and yet I’m at 65%.

So I’m stewing in the juices of injustice (yes I’m getting melodramatic). I suppose I should expect this from a system that invented the concept of “good debt”.

5pm UPDATE:  Caved and did the free trial at scorewatch.com – at least they promise to warn you of the expiration of the free trial 3 days in advance. And the news was much prettier – a score of 797 out of 850. I’m in the 88th percentile. I still think I belong at 100% though. Hmph!

2 Responses

  1. Would you please check the 3rd paragraph where you say, “My 837 puts me in the 65th percentile”? In the 5pm Update you say, “And the news was much prettier – a score of 797 out of 850. I’m in the 88th percentile” which suggests the original 837 might be a typo.

    • It’s not – it’s my actual FICO score, not the Transunion one mention in para 3. Sorry for not making that clear.

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