Never rely on a credit score you buy online for your mortgage planning. There are dozens of websites selling your credit score reports, but there is no guarantee that the scores you are provided are accurate or even the same scores used by your lender.
The FICO score used by most lenders ranges from 300 to 850. Lenders rely on this score to determine a borrower’s credit worthiness. But beware of online companies marketing credit scores, FICO or otherwise. The FICO score a lender pulls for a mortgage application may not be the same one you bought online. Even if you buy your score from myfico.com, it may not be the same one a lender uses. FICO has introduced multiple models over the years, so the one you get may not be the same one your lender uses. Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) fined Experian, one of the top 3 credit reporting agencies, for deceptively marketing credit scores to consumers by misrepresenting them as the same scores lenders use. In fact, the scores were Experian’s own proprietary scores that virtually no lenders use. Equifax and TransUnion, the other 2 major credit reporting agencies, have been similarly fined for falsely marketing their own proprietary credit scores to consumers, and also for luring consumers into costly recurring payments for credit-related products. There are many such online pitches to consumers for credit scores.
Instead of paying money for a credit score that may not be valid, better to monitor your credit history and clean up problems, such as errors, poor bill paying habits, utilizing too much of your available credit and opening too many credit lines. If you have a good credit history, you will have a good credit score. You can access your credit score free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Clean up your history and over time, your score will reflect your responsible financial behavior with a good score.