Consumers are frequently confused by the often murky credit reporting agencies and the rating systems they produce and market. Things are not all that mysterious.

Once people understand that the industry exists to serve lenders first and consumers second, things become clearer. Learn the key definitions and the variations begin to make sense.


Understanding the meaning of your credit score is challenging enough. Now certain lenders may suggest that taking out a personal installment loan may prove to boost your ratings.

You may wonder whether you should believe or discount these claims. The best answer for each consumer depends on circumstances.


Credit score ratings mean different things at different points in our life.

Before we begin borrowing money, the agencies have no data to predict future payment behaviors. You have no record, and therefore have no ratings that mean anything.

Somebody has to be the first person to lend you money. Then the wheels are set in motion.