Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

It's the multibillion-dollar question that every credit-card company, auto lender, and mortgage outfit wants to know: If they lend you money, will you pay it back? Fair Isaac -- creator of the famous FICO score -- is the company that answers that question most often today. But on Mar. 14, the Big Three credit-reporting companies unveiled what had been a tightly guarded secret plan to knock Fair Isaac from its throne and become the dominant provider of credit scores to lenders.

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