Credit Score

8 Replies

Ok, I feel like this is a dumb questions but I am seeing a lot of different information online. I am about to be a first time home buyer and I am looking for financing in Dallas Texas. 

-Where is the best place (Online /Offline) to check my credit score?

-When I check my own credit score online does it hurt my score?

Thank you for your time on a such a small question. 

You can check your score online from

FreeCreditScore.com or CreditKarma.com

Hard inquiries hit your score, soft ones do not.

You can also contact a loan officer who can pull it for you.

You'll want to ask for, and pay for, your FICO score, not just the bureau's "internal" scores.

Originally posted by @James Wise :

You can check your score online from

FreeCreditScore.com or CreditKarma.com

Hard inquiries hit your score, soft ones do not.

You can also contact a loan officer who can pull it for you.

Pulling your own credit is a "soft" inquiry to clarify this a bit. So no matter where you pull it, you shouldn't impact your score. But there is another issue here... not all "scores" are created equal... you need to check the score that banks are actually using, for the product you are trying to get. For a mortgage, they're pulling the big 3 (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.) For a loan or credit card, typically they only pull one of the three.

The best bet is to go and see a loan officer.  Not all credit models are the same.  Some of the consumer models will not produce the same scoring as the institutional models.  It is not as much of a bureau thing as it is a "score model" thing.  

A consumer is expected to shop for a mortgage.  So multiple mortgage inquires onto a consumer's credit will not impact the score (within reason).  So two or three inquires within a short time (a week to 10 days I think, if I remember correctly) frame works best.  There is also a allowance for a re-pull which typically occurs as the loan comes out of underwriting.  That will also have minimal affects on scores.

Also note, that a score is not all there is.  Credit history is evaluated as well.  This furthers the idea to seek a mortgage professional if the purpose is to see if you qualify for a loan.  That will be your best and most accurate bet. 

@Levi Terrell

 The gold standard for all things credit score related is myfico.com.  There is so much misinformation regarding credit scores so it's important you trust your source and that is THE source.   I've spent countless hours on their forums and they have moderators and contributors who are very experienced in the industry.

There are a lot of websites like FreeCreditScore.com and CreditKarma that have a lot of feel good ads and appear to offer free credit scores.  The problem with this is, it's almost always their own scoring model that banks don't ever and will never look at.  In other words the whole purpose of a credit score is to determine credit worthiness from potential creditors- that means that we only care about what potential creditors care about.  And something like 90% of financial institutions only care about and only use FICO scores.  So if it's not a FICO score I don't care about it.  FICO is an acronym of a company that has been producing scoring algorithms since the '50s.  FICO scores range from 300-850 where some of these "free credit score" websites' own scoring model might range from 400-999.  These sites can actually mislead consumers because their scoring ranges are different.

Because FICO knows they have the scoring model that everyone wants (banks and therefore consumers) you usually have to pay for your FICO credit score.  There are three different credit bureaus that provide FICO credit scores (with slightly different scoring models) are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.  It's important to note that each of the 3 bureaus provides a "FICO score".  So to personally check all three it will cost around $40 depending on the promotion going on at myfico.com.  Another myth is people think that checking their own credit score counts as an inquiry and dings their credit score.  This is not true if you personally check your credit score.  Where it does count as an inquiry and lowers your score by only 5 points or so is if you initiate a potential lender to check your score, e.g. you apply for any sort of loan.

Technically those free sites can provide some value but only if you use it to see how you're doing relative to previous scorings from the same site.

The free one is here.

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/yourRights.action

You only get it once every twelve months but it could change in the future. Some states have special laws that allow you to get it more than once in a 12 months span.

Understand the reports and the score are two separate things. They are not obligated to give you the credit score. The report online will show all information usually for each agency with the negatives. You have to use the report number to dispute.

You can call around to mortgage lenders and get a tri-merge credit report pulled usually for free ( the lenders eat the cost or just add on the cost if you close on something) but understand that you cannot use this report to dispute something.

The credit agencies want their money so you have to go through the free report way or pay at their site. If you have been recently denied credit then you have other options and rights as well.

Even though you cannot see your score the free way on the above site you will generally know with how many negatives you have if score is low or not. The burden to prove the debt is yours is on the creditor. Do not pay partial payments to a creditor as this re-ages the debt and makes it new again. Do not acknowledge that the debt is yours. Do not place a statement in your credit file explaining something. All those are traps to make you validate something that they can hang onto for leverage and not removing from your report. There is a whole science to improving your score. Stay away from companies saying they will fix your credit for a fee. If your credit is bad you will need to work at it diligently for awhile.

No legal advice given. 

Thanks everyone, this is all very helpful! 

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