ReasonCode.org expands and learns Spanish
Lender survey indicates concern and frustration over lack of consumer understanding
ReasonCode.org, a VantageScore Solutions website that provides expanded explanations of reason codes through a user-friendly search engine, has been well received by consumers, lenders, advocates and regulators. To further the site’s mission, VantageScore Solutions has translated ReasonCode.org into Spanish.
ReasonCode.org has also been expanded to include a “white board” video that plainly explains how reason codes work and what consumers can learn from them.
Reason codes are two-character numeric codes accompanied by short statements that tell consumers why their credit scores are not higher. Lenders provide consumers with reason codes and statements in a variety of ways, including credit score disclosure notices and adverse-action letters. With the launch of its newest credit scoring model, VantageScore 3.0, VantageScore Solutions streamlined its reason codes, significantly reducing the number of separate codes, and rewrote its explanatory statements in plain English, rather than the complex “industry speak” found in traditional reason codes. At the same time, VantageScore Solutions launched ReasonCode.org to allow consumers to search for specific reason codes and receive deeper explanations and tips for addressing credit behaviors that negatively impact credit scores.
Lender concerns about disclosure notices
The enhancements to ReasonCode.org were informed by a recent lender survey administered by VantageScore Solutions that showed disclosure notices, which include reason codes, frustrate consumers and lenders alike. In an effort to better understand consumer needs, and to help lenders better educate their customers, VantageScore Solutions surveyed more than 200 lenders nationwide. More than 75 percent of survey respondents expressed concern over the lack of consumer understanding about the score disclosure notices, and nearly 50 percent said that they were concerned about consumer frustration related to the notices.
Other survey findings included:
- Only 10 percent of lenders currently provide reason codes translated in Spanish
- Thirty-eight percent of lenders said that more consumer understanding could be accomplished if tips for improving credit scores were provided
- Thirty-three percent said greater consumer understanding could be achieved if reason codes were written in clearer, easier-to-understand language
- Only 10 percent of lenders said their consumer audiences “understand reason codes well”
Spanish translation and ‘white board video’ added
The Spanish-translated reason codes and expanded explanations are available through a user-friendly search engine that recognizes code language, facilitating easy access to the expanded information. Translated reason codes and explanations are offered for all three VantageScore credit scoring models. Because the lender survey demonstrated that most consumers aren’t receiving the reason codes in Spanish, the search engine was designed so that either a Spanish or English reason code can be used to access the additional information translated into Spanish.
Finally, a video inspired by “white boarding” presentations also was added to both the English- and Spanish- language websites. In a light, approachable tone, the video describes reason codes, how to interpret them, and why a consumer may have received reason codes. The video is provided in both English- and Spanish-language versions.
“Score disclosure notices and the requirement to include reason codes are meant to empower consumers to better understand their credit profiles. However, for too long reason code language has been plagued with ‘industry speak’ and space limitations,” said Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions. “When we launched VantageScore 3.0, we were committed to presenting this information in plain English, limiting the number of reason codes and building a resource for further information, knowing that consumers desire deeper explanations. The latest site enhancements and the translation into Spanish underscore our commitment to consumer education and our core belief that an informed borrower is a better borrower.”