Even some of the most financially savvy consumers find credit scoring confusing — the numbers change all the time, there are dozens of scoring models, and you never know which score a lender will use when reviewing your credit application.
Yet of all the consumer scores out there, credit scores are the most widely known and understood. Reassuring, isn’t it?
Not to harp on depressing realities, but to most industries out there, you’re not a name, you’re a number. Unlike credit scores, a lot of these ratings systems are not accessible to you, and many aren’t subject to regulation. That brings up a slew of questions about privacy and the legality of using these scores in decision-making situations, a topic explored by the World Privacy Forum in an 80-page report on consumer scores called “The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future.”
About 40 of those pages outline consumer scores that assess the meaning of hundreds of tendencies you may have, and you probably haven’t heard of most of the scores. Some fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows consumers access to the reports scores are based on and gives them the right to correct inaccurate information. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act bars credit scoring companies from including race, sex, marital status, religion or national origin in credit scores. But that’s just it — ECOA is limited to credit scoring.
Except for those scores under Fair Credit Reporting Act, most consumer scores are not regulated for privacy or fairness. Here are a few of the most interesting, weirdest and surprising consumer scores out there.