My Credit Score Is 760. No It Isn’t.

March 7th, 2013

credit report

If you’ve looked up your credit score on your own before then you know your score, right? Well, you may not know your accurate score. You may only know one score instead of all three. Mortgage lenders use all three scores, one from each of the large national credit bureaus. These are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. So if you see a 741 score on a consumer credit report you pull, a mortgage lender may see a 698, a 723, and a 741. And the mortgage lenders use the middle credit score, or the 723. That may cause a change in the terms that are being quoted to you.

There are different types of credit scores

Another problem is in knowing the type of credit score that is being quoted to you. The most widely used is “FICO score.” FICO is a pioneer in the industry. FICO was founded in 1956 as Fair, Isaac and Company by engineer Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac.

However, there are actually 60 different iterations of FICO. Lenders may pull a different FICO score depending on what kind of credit you’re applying for. Or there may be a different FICO formula used depending on who is pulling the credit report. For instance, certain credit scores ignore collection accounts below $100. A person with a small $80 collection may not have that calculated into the score they see. And that score could be 100 points above a FICO score that doesn’t ignore such collections. So in my office we say consumers usually pull a Fake-O, not FICO.

Where do consumers get their credit report?

Many times the consumer pulls the credit score from places like freecreditreport.com, annualcreditreport.com, their own banks, or their own credit card companies. Whichever third-party provider they go to it is an “educational score” or a “generic credit score.” These scores are provided just to give you a perspective on your credit standing. They’re not the FICO scores that lenders actually use when considering a loan application. Your third party provider might also use a proprietary credit score that’s developed for use just for them.

Many reasons for confusion

FICO has released many updates to the score models over the years. And some lenders still use earlier versions. Many lenders use FICO 8 which is a score the firm launched in 2008. But most mortgage lenders use an older version. So if you get your credit score for free from your credit card company, that won’t equate to what the score is that a mortgage lender pulls.

Most car loan lenders use a FICO “auto score” that more heavily weights prior experience with car loans. Borrowers who previously had a car loan and made their payments on time could end up with a higher auto score than the score a mortgage lender pulls. And the same setup exists for credit-card lenders, some of whom use a “bank card score” which will be different than the score a mortgage lender sees.

Another important note: as a result of the FACT Act (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act), U.S. residents are entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each credit reporting agency once every twelve months. The law requires that all three agencies provide these reports. But these credit reports do not contain scores at all.

Conclusion

Unfortunately the only way to get all three accurate FICO credit scores, at least as far as it pertains to getting a mortgage approved, is to have a mortgage lender pull them for you.

To contact me to discuss your credit, mortgage rates, or other mortgage questions, click here to schedule a call or you can email me directly.

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Brian Martucci is a loan officer for Capital Bank Home Loans, a division of Capital Bank, N.A. He has been in the mortgage industry since 1986 and has served in a number of roles, including loan processor, loan officer, mortgage broker, branch manager, and vice president. Brian Martucci – NMLS# 185421. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Capital Bank Home Loans or Capital Bank. Capital Bank, N.A.- NMLS# 401599. Click here for the Capital Bank, N.A. “Privacy Policy”.

One Response to “My Credit Score Is 760. No It Isn’t.”

  1. […] You don’t know your real credit score. I wrote a blog about how the average consumer can pull their own credit score for free on many different websites or through their credit card companies, but then can be misled as to what the credit score would be when pulled by a mortgage company. There are many times that the credit scores are different when pulled by a mortgage lender than a free credit reporting service. And it is really critical to know your actual mortgage credit score. For more on this click here. […]

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