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Credit Scores Aren't Always Accurate

Savvy ATM: Credit Scores Aren't Always Accurate

Just as there are several companies and agencies capable of generating your credit report, there are many sources that offer credit scoring services. The September issue of Consumer Reports describes how The Consumer Reports Money Lab spent $130 to determine how the scores may vary, and the results proved the point that scores from different sources can seem like they belong to different people! See the details of their experiment and what it all means to you when you


Their experiment returned 11 scores with a 72-point range, meaning the scores were rated from fair to good to excellent. To get a general idea of your credit score, purchase your score for $15.95 from the FICO website, but remember that score isn't necessarily the figure lenders will use when determining a borrower's creditworthiness. They will often purchase other Fair Issac scores specific to their industry, for example, if you're applying for a car loan the lender may look at your Industry Option FICO score.

While the FICO score will give you an estimation of your creditworthiness, Consumer Reports recommends practicing good financial habits, as a way to ensure whatever score is used will be high. They suggest getting your credit reports from all three bureaus six months before applying for credit, paying bills on time and keeping balances low.


Join The Conversation
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Renees3 - my understanding is that pulling your credit score CAN knock off about 5 points, so it won't necessarily have an effect. Your responsible spending habits have a bigger effect overall.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
They did take an average for our home loan but all 3 numbers were different from the number I pulled, like 20 points off the lowest one. Also I don't think when they pull your credit it decreases that much because I've had it pulled a bit in the last month and it's gone up not down. Maybe Savvy can answer that
hmcmcd hmcmcd 8 years
I thought that when you applied for a home loan, they add all three together and then average your score? That's what they told me when I bought my first house. Whenever I apply for a loan, I always print my score and bring it with me. The last time I bought a car, I did that and they didn't even pull my credit! I was really happy, b/c Iknow that each time your credit is pulled it decreases your score by like 10points.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i have always noticed that my score varied a few points based on where i was getting it from. i subscribe to a service that sends me alerts and/or updates each month to keep me up to date and they report on 3 different credit bureaus. they are usually pretty close to each other but they are deffinitely not the same number. i find this to be a bit frustrating since it's hard to really know what my score is - but at least they are all in the same 'range' so it's not like looking at one will hurt my chances of getting something
thelorax thelorax 8 years
When my husband & I were going through the application process for our home loan, both of our credit scores were pulled from all three sources, and each score was different. The spread was about 30 points for each of us, so I don't know what the "final score" was, or if it's looked at more like a confidence interval rather than one solid number.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I pull my own credit pretty often (just from one of the 3) and I thought I knew what it was. We applied to be preapproved for a home loan and it turns out to be like 20 points higher then I thought it was! Which was awesome, but still kind of annoying that I don't know what my score actually is.
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