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What Is My Real Credit Score?

What Is My Real Credit Score?

Now more than ever consumers are proactively monitoring their credit. Not only can you easily get a copy of your credit report on the internet, you can also view your credit score. Companies like Credit Karma, MyFICO.com and Experian.com make it easy to access that information so you can take the necessary steps to improve your score before making significant purchases, potentially saving you thousands. There’s just one problem: many consumers are finding the score provided to them by companies like Credit Karma, Experian.com, and MyFICO.com may not be the same score their financial institution uses when they consider extending credit.

This news can come as a shock to consumers. After all, when consumers proactively monitor their credit scores, they assume they are seeing the same scores that lenders see. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While FICO® scores are reportedly used in up to 90 percent of lending decisions, other scoring models such as VantageScore are becoming more popular. They may use the same type of information to calculate a credit score, but the algorithm is different. This means your FICO® score and VantageScore could be considerably different from each other.

To make matters even more confusing, your FICO® or VantageScore being used by the bank you want to borrow money from is highly likely to be enormously different from the scores provided by websites like MyFICO.com, Experian.com, and CreditKarma.com.

But wait…it gets worse! Each bank – especially the large ones – may use multiple variations of the credit scoring model within their own company. One model for car loans, another for mortgages, another for credit cards, etc. all in an attempt to more accurately predict your likeliness to repay the particular type of loan you are applying for. You see, since some people are good at paying their monthly mortgage payment but not their credit cards, the bank can customize their credit scoring model based on the type of loan the applicant is seeking.

Different models produce different credit scores

Enter client Will A., who found this out the hard way. Credit Karma reported his score to be 662, but CreditWise.com showed he was an 831 credit score. Then his lender pulled his credit the same day and told him his FICO® score was 767! That’s a whopping 169-point difference that saved Will thousands of dollars on his loan.

Credit Karma credit score after BoostMyScore services:

Credit Karma credit score

FICO (R) credit score on CreditWise.com after BoostMyScore services:

FICO score

The point is that you have no guarantee your lender will ever see the same score you’ve been working on because they may be using an entirely different scoring model. This makes monitoring and boosting your credit score whenever possible more important than ever. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to ask your lender what scoring model they use before applying for a loan.

When companies like CreditKarma.com, Experian.com, MyFICO.com and Credit Sesame offer you your free credit score, you should also ask them exactly which score they are providing you. Is it a FICO® score? A VantageScore? And which version of those scoring models are they using? Working to improve a score your lender is never going to see won’t help you much. The good news is that FICO® is still the most widely utilized scoring model in the financial industry, even if others are gaining some traction. The great news is that you can raise your credit score across all scoring models with BoostMyScore.

How Do I Compare the Different Credit Scores?

When comparing your credit scores on these websites, it’s critical to know the following, to be sure you’re making equal comparisons:

  • Which scoring model was used to calculate your score (FICO ® or Vantage ® , or something unique to the website you’re looking at).
  • The credit model version.
  • The credit score ranges for that model, like 350-850.
  • Which credit bureau furnished the credit report from which the score was based on (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion).

Whenever you view your “credit score”, either from a creditor explaining a lending decision or when you check your own score on the internet, it is critical to understand the score you see in one place is highly likely to be different everywhere else. In fact, if the score with the lender is the same as the score you see on the internet, you’re extremely lucky.

Boost scores across all credit scoring models

BoostMyScore uses a method known as piggybacking to give your credit score a strong and immediate boost. This can be especially helpful if you are ready to start your own business, purchase a new vehicle or even buy a home. BoostMyScore does this by adding you as an authorized user to a seasoned credit tradeline with a high limit and a low balance. While you won’t have access to the card or be able to use it, the positive history associated with that card will be virtually copied onto your credit report resulting in an immediate impact to your credit score. The process is simple, fast, and results are guaranteed.

Check out the credit tradelines simulator designed to help you select the right tradelines for your or contact BoostMyScore today at 800-531-1472 to learn how you can raise your credit score fast.

Bill Airy

About the Author:

Bill Airy is the CEO and Founder of BoostMyScore. For over 12 years he has helped American consumers get a second chance at a better financial life by helping them to improve their credit score. He regularly publishes helpful content on this Blog to educate others about Credit Scores and best practices when trying to improve them.

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BoostMyScore Team