Consumers can purchase credit scores in at least two ways. They can buy them as an add-on when obtaining a credit report from a CRA or certain other vendors, or they can receive them as part of a “credit monitoring” service. Some of the scores consumers can purchase in this way are used widely by creditors; others are not. In any case, if a consumer buys a score, it is quite likely that any
particular lender that consumer approaches for a loan will use a different score, given the diversity of scores in use in the market.
In light of the important role of credit scores in consumer credit markets, there is a great deal of interest on the part of consumers in obtaining their credit reports and credit scores.
The market for providing credit reports and scores has grown in recent years to more than $1 billion in revenue, and sales to consumers make up roughly a quarter of the U.S. revenues of the CRAs and their affiliates.
21 In addition to consumer credit score purchases, there are several circumstances in which a lender is required to provide a consumer with a score, as discussed further below. In these cases, the score comes from the lender using the score, and the score the consumer receives will likely be a score that was used by the lender.