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Open letter to Equifax about credit scores, 20190207

Equifax publishes nonsense about what a good credit score is

| By Greg Fisher

Open Letter

Greg Fisher

February 7, 2019

Mark W. Begor, CEO

Dear Mr. Begor:

Your website contains nonsense.

It states

Credit scores from 580 to 669 are generally considered fair; 700 to 749 is considered good; and 750 and up is considered excellent. Higher credit scores mean you have demonstrated responsible credit behavior in the past, which may make potential lenders and creditors more confident when evaluating a request for credit.

Lenders generally see those with credit scores 670 and up as acceptable or low-risk borrowers. Those with credit scores from 580 to 669 are seen as "subprime borrowers," meaning they may find it more difficult to qualify for better loan terms. Those with lower scores – under 580 – fall into the "poor" credit range and may have difficulty getting credit or qualifying for better loan terms.

Equifax, Inc. (n.d.). What Is A Good Credit Score? | Equifax. Retrieved February 7, 2019, from

Arranging those numbers in tabular form, they look like this.

300-579 Poor
580-669 Fair
670-699 ? (29 points)
700-749 Good
750-850 Excellent

What is 670 to 699 "considered," and, more importantly, who considers it that? More importantly still, who considers 700 good? Fair Isaac pages indicate (and I daresay the people of the FICO score company know what they are talking about; they are actual experts) that 670 to 739 is "Good."

What is the date of your document?

On another page, you published

300-599 Bad
600-649 Poor
650-699 Fair (49 points)
700-749 Good
750-850 Excellent

I particularly enjoy your use of the term bad, which is funny to me. How dare you? Who do you think you are?

Another example from your documentation: "The Equifax formula, based on the FICO credit-scoring model, breaks down as follows: ... "

Then, the page indicates

280-559 Poor
560-659 Fair
660-724 Good (64 points)
725-759 Very Good
760-850 Excellent

Is the Equifax Score actually based on a Fair Isaac formula? Do you have access to proprietary FICO score information?

Three Sentences in French

Finally (for now), there are three things that are false published by Equifax: Three sentences in the French language.

A document in your domain, states, "Pour mieux répondre aux changements du marché canadien, Equifax et Fair, Issac lancent le nouveau modèle BEACON."

Isaac is not spelled Issac -- not even in French. It would be easy to dismiss that false information as the result of typographical error. However, there are three instances of that misspelling in the same document.

That page also states, "Le nouveau BEACON est le point culminant d’une décennie de recherche et d’expertise en modélisation de Fair, Issac, et il utilise une nouvelle conception directrice qui tire profit des avances en matière d’analyse de segmentation de la population, d’exploration de données et de variables prédictives."

And, it states, "Dans ce cas-ci, Fair, Issac a ajouté les nouvelles caractéristiques novatrices suivantes au nouveau modèle BEACON pour renforcer sa puissance prédictive."

That is Isaac, as in Isaac Newton, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Isaac Hayes.

Correct those errors today, Feburary 7, 2019, Mr. Begor; this is your first litmus test. And if you think that the only things I could find fault with are minor, by now, isn't that how it should be? That progress is the essence of the search for truth. Your company's cooperation in the past has been horrible.

While you grapple with your inconsistent information and authoritative but corny advice, consider the bigger picture. The person making that universal, omnipotent, god-like evaluation certainly should be identified. Indeed, the first of your pages mentioned above is titled -- and gives the answer to -- one of life's big questions: "What Is A Good Credit Score?"

Is Good 660 or 700? And, more importantly, who gives a flying rip about your opinion? Make yourself useful and provide statistics like default rates along a credit score scale.

For a different approach, see "The Bar." I wrote it. It is fascinating, and your pages are just silly and paternalistic. If you are supposed to be an impartial keeper of information, then get out of the qualitative descriptions business. Your score in that arena is -- well -- bad.

Here is some more needling to see if you are paying attention.

A typographical error (an unnecessary extra space between may and impact): "A higher balance compared to your credit limit may impact your credit score." #SloppySloppySloppy

And, in a search result, readers might see this HTML page description: "Learn more about credit scores. Whether you're getting started or getting back on track; Equifax can help you better understand your credit score."

Did you, actually, mean to use a semicolon after a dependent clause?

That is in a document whose title banner, in big red letters, is "Everything You Need to Know About Credit Scores, All in One Place."

If people in the shadow audience believe that, then they should have never read this.

Too late.

Greg Fisher
Truth and Falsity
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342
mobile/text 937-681-3224

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