This article inspired and edited from a recently published article by Alan Hayon, Certified FICO Professional and President of Credit Advisory Group (CreditAdvisoryGroup.com) in Garden City, New York.
Many consumers preparing to purchase a home obtain credit scores from websites like Credit Karma or Credit.com to avoid surprises during the application process. With these free credit scores, consumers begin their mortgage search, lulled into a false sense of knowing what their true scores look like. It’s a common misconception for sure.
When lenders pull a consumer’s credit, they pay a significant fee to obtain the legitimate FICO (Fair Isaac Credit Organization) scores. Those free websites are not providing the actual FICO score that lenders and banks see when pulling your credit. They are showing you a “FAKO” score – or an educated guess of what your score could be. The only way you can get your actual credit score is from AnnualCreditReport.com or from a lender who has pulled your credit.
When checking your credit, keep two things in mind:
- Your FICO score will not be the same – Your score will be different between the three bureaus. When applying for loans, keep in mind various banks and lenders will look at different FICO scores for decisions and rates analysis. For example, an auto lender will look at one FICO score while a credit card company will look at another score.
- Your score gets calculated at different times – Your credit score is not being updated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Credit scores get calculated when a lender or bank requests the score. From the date the credit score was pulled, your report will be updated right then and there for all the banks and lenders.
To get the most accurate FICO score you can use to monitor and even negotiate with, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or ask one of us and we’ll be more than happy to provide you the actual score.
Warren Goldberg is President of Mortgage Wealth Advisors, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, and a published author. His interviews include Blog-Talk Radio, Newsday, The Daily News, Anton Press, and the Long Island Herald. Since 1992, he’s been sharing his financial knowledge and wealth-building strategies, including how to properly use your mortgage as a financial tool. His clients regularly express their trust and appreciation by recommending friends and family call when in need of mortgage, real estate, and financial guidance.