Are Free Credit Reports Really Worth Anything?
Many companies advertise that they will give you a free credit report making you
think that you are actually getting your FICO score. Think again.
You will probably get a VantageScore instead of FICO score. They are not
the same. It's better than nothing but if your goal is to prepare yourself
for shopping for a mortgage, you need to have the same score as your lender.
Lenders use FICO scores from Fair Issac Company.
Also, your free credit report from
Credit Report.com does not give you any kind of
credit score. It just gives you a report with all of the information
that's at the credit bureaus.
If you want the real deal, the same number that your mortgage lender will be
looking at, you need to buy the scores at
www.myFICO.com . The three scores will cost you $59.85. There are
three credit bureaus that use the same FICO scoring system. They differ slightly
because each credit bureau doesn't have exactly the same information.
Usually a lender will use the score in the middle as the one to base your
I highly recommend getting your scores before you apply
for a mortgage so you know where you stand. If you are just below the
cutoff for the next price break in rates you can try to increase your scores a
few points. Sometimes just
a few points makes a big difference in rates.
If you aren't using the same scoring system as the lenders use, it's difficult
to know exactly where you stand.
Fortunately, there's a way to actually get all FICO scores for free if you have
the right credit cards.
Discover Card gives you your FICO score from TransUnion
Chase Card gives you your FICO score from Experian
Card gives you your FICO score from Equifax
If you don't have those cards already, it might not be good for your credit
score if you went out and opened up three new credit card accounts just to avoid
paying for the reports at www.myFICO.com.
Credit card companies will make a inquiry to your credit which will show up and
negatively affect your score. When you check your credit score by buying
your report, it does not count against you.
If you just want a general idea of how good your credit is, use the free sites
that give you a score that is similar to the FICO score but isn't exactly the
CreditKarma.com offers your
which is based on your TransUnion and Equifax data.
CreditSesame.com offers the
Experian National Equivalency Score which is based on the Experian data.
gives you a credit score from Experian plus a VantageScore 3.0
Quizzle.com gives you a VantageScore and a credit report from Equifax.
Once you find out your credit scores you can decide if there's anything you can
do to get you the best rates. Usually a good loan officer will be able to
analyze your credit report and give you some recommendations on what to do to
gain a few points. Sometimes they have a credit score simulator and can
simulate what your credit score might be after some changes. Instead of
waiting a month for the changes to take effect, they can do a
rapid rescore to get your credit scores updated in a few days.