Picture this scenario: You’re applying for a home loan. It’s a big life event, so obviously you want to be prepared. So you’ve checked your credit score on one of the many online sites that offer the service, were happy with what you came in at and believe you’ll be able to secure a home loan with a low interest rate. Then you connect with your lender, and, as is customary, they pull your credit score too. It comes in tens of points lower than it did when you checked online.
It can be frustrating to be in a situation such as the scenario above, only to discover that what you thought was going to be your credit score is different from what the lender came up with. And in a situation such as a home loan, what the lender discovered obviously trumps what any website came up with.
So how do you get the right credit score? Credit scores vary based on the type of loan you’re applying for (i.e. auto, home, etc.), but what the lender comes up with is always the accurate score for whatever type of loan you’re applying for.
Why the Credit Score Discrepancies?
Just why do credit scores pulled by lenders sometimes vary from the ones you receive via online websites? It’s simple – websites are typically using either their own scoring models, or more updated versions of the FICO score. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind when pulling your score online that these websites serve more of an educational purpose than anything else. These sites can give people an idea of what their credit scores are, and also help them identify areas where credit repair may be necessary to improve. But they’re certainly not scores that are set in stone – those come from the lender.
In noting this, experts advise individuals to just start early in the loan process. For example, if you’re anticipating applying for a loan a year or two down the line, pull your credit score from one of the online sites, see how it looks and analyze whether or not there are areas you can improve it to make yourself a more qualified buyer. Then, when it’s closer to applying for the loan, simply get pre-approved by the lender to get a precise idea of what your score is.
In conclusion, it’s worth noting that there’s certainly nothing wrong with using one of the online credit sites – but don’t take it to be 100 percent accurate, just use it for educational purposes. In the end, the only way to truly get the right credit score is by having your lender run your information before starting the loan process. That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and not be afraid to start the process early.