Credit score tips, information and guidelines for journalists/reporters

Reporters, the internet is clogged with misinformation, rumor, urban legends and bad and inaccurate reporting with little mechanism for error correction.  Do not add to it.  Use these guidelines to avoid creating problems for yourself and for consumers of information.

  1. Do not report that employers use credit scores.  Despite what Fair Isaac, Reuters, the Federal Reserve and others say, employers do not use credit scores. You don’t want some unemployed person looking for a job spending their last dollar on a credit score because of your bad reporting, do you?
  2. Do not report that the so-called “utilization ratio” accounts for 30% of the FICO credit score.  Yes, it says that on Wikipedia, but it also says, inaccurately, that employers use credit scores (see item 1, above).  Do not use Wikipedia as your source for anything (unless you are criticizing it).
  3. Do not advise consumers to limit their so-called utilization ratio to 30%.  FICO spokesmen said, “The lower that utilization number is, the better it is for your score,” and “The FICO brain trust says there is no specific number that qualifies as a ‘good’ ratio, just that lower is always better.”
  4. Do not report an average credit score.  It is unknown.
  5. Tell your boss to institute a correction procedure for published errors and to make your correction policy public.
  6. Cite your sources, period.
  7. If you have any questions, send them via email.  If you’re on a fake “deadline” made up by your boss and cannot wait, too bad.  Delay your little report (and, start earlier next time) and tell your boss to stop being ridiculous.

Report something stupid and you’ll end up on

Tips for reporters for updates.