As you are likely well aware, your credit score is very important when it comes to your finances. It is like your financial finger print if you will. Specifically it is your FICO score that is the most important, as this is what most lenders use. While it is true that some lenders use different scoring systems such as the Vantage credit score, you will find the majority of lenders use the FICO9 scoring system.
I always tell people to check their credit score before they take out any loan or apply for any type of credit. You need to know where you stand credit wise in order to fill out an application for any type of credit, else you could be applying for something you have no hope of getting, or you could be getting a bad interest rate and would never know it. Yet did you you that the credit score you are checking may not be your actual credit score?
For one each of the 3 major credit bureaus calculates its own credit score, so if you are using their services, this will not be your FICO score. Each credit bureau uses its own unique algorithm to determine what it thinks your credit score should be. You can use these scores as a rough guideline, but it will not be your exact score. You score can vary by as much as 25 points between all of these models and your actual FICO score, which is a huge difference, and could be the difference between being stuck in “fair credit” or “good credit”, so you will want to pull your actual FICO score.
Now is where it can get even trickier. Some lenders take the FICO model, but run their own unique algorithm on that data, coming up with a variant of your FICO score. These in house scoring models put more weight into various factors that appear on your credit report. They can even factor in questions from your credit application, such as how some personal loan lenders today ask if you have a college degree or not. They can even hone in on certain financial behaviors of yours.
If you do check your credit score, do not be fooled. Some pay sites even do not use your actual FICO score. Most of the free credit score websites also do not offer your real FICO score. If you do want to make use of a pay site, I would suggest using http://www.myfico.com, as this is the most accurate one out there, but it does cost $29.95 per month. This will auto renew unless you cancel, which could catch you by surprise the next month, if you only meant to subscribe for 1 month, like most people. Includes is a variety of other services such as 3-bureau credit monitoring, additional FICO score versions and identity monitoring, which can make it well worth keeping a subscription for. Just remember with the free sites you get what you pay for, which is basically a near useless score, other than simply giving you a general idea of where you might stand.
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