Where Can I Find The Most Accurate Credit Scores?

gravatar- Nov 15, 2020credit, Credit Scores2 comments

What’s sweat-inducing, hair-raising and spine-chilling for men and women alike? Credit scores. Yep, those intangible & non-physical numbers that determine our lending options, insurance quotes, job opportunities and even the fact of having a roof over our head. (Remind me how this falls into the category of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”)

The main question is always: Where can I find my most accurate credit scores?

But first, let’s answer some simpler questions.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number between 300 & 850, that lets lenders know how likely you are to pay back a loan, based on your credit history.

People hawk over their credit scores like mama bear over her cubs. Every time there is any slight movement, numbers dropping by a few points, they start getting nervous.

But you know what’s confusing about it?

When your score on creditkarma.com is 740, but their mortgage broker says it’s 680!

The first thing you need to understand is that your credit score is not like your weight per day- which is always the same, no matter the scale. (Obviously, it’s subject to change over time 🙂

Weight is a fact. Your credit score is NOT. Each scoring model will calculate it differently, resulting in the multiple scores you may have.

For example, when it comes to mortgages, the FICO 04 model will be used. But when it comes to leasing a car, in most cases the FICO 08 Auto score will be used. The FICO 04 and the FICO 08 are not the same!

When you check your score before applying for anything, be sure that you’re checking the right credit score model.

Credit score ranges

This is a list of credit score ranges & ratings.

RatingDescription
<580PoorThis credit score is well below the average score of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that the borrower may be a risk.
580-669FairThis credit score is below the average score of U.S. consumers, though many lenders will approve loans with this score.
670-739GoodThis credit score is near or slightly above the average of U.S. consumers and most lenders consider this a good score.
740-799Very GoodThis credit score is above the average of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that the borrower is very dependable.
800+ExceptionalThis credit score is well above the average score of U.S. consumers and clearly demonstrates to lenders that the borrower is an exceptionally low risk.

Now, for the multi-million dollar question:

What is the best credit monitoring service for the most accurate credit score?

There are many websites that allow you to view your credit score for free. But, as explained above, in order for the score to be accurate, you need to make sure you are viewing the score with the appropriate model.

Here I’ll split up the different types of credit scores, based on loan types. But first, the three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Credit Bureaus are companies that collect information regarding credit ratings of individuals, and make it available to credit card companies and loaners.

Credit score for mortgage

Mortgage loans mostly use the FICO 04 model. Here’s where you can view your FICO 04 scoring model.

MYFico

MYFico gives you multiple credit scores including your FICO Mortgage Lending score. You can view all your scores for all three credit bureaus.

Price: There are three package options.

Basic: Only Experian is updated every month- $19.95

Advanced: All three credit bureaus are updated every 3 months- $29.95

Premier: All three credit reports are updated every month- $39.95

Updated: This depends on the plan.

Accuracy: MyFico is the most accurate place to get your FICO score.

Experian

Experian gives you multiple credit scores including your mortgage credit score You can only view your mortgage score from Experian and not from the other two credit bureaus.

Price: Free 7-day trial, then $24.99 per month

Updated: Experian scores- everyday.

Transunion and Equifax- once in 30 days

Accuracy: In my experience, the scores are pretty close to the real scores.

Credit score to buy a car

Auto loans usually use the FICO 08 Auto-Enhanced scoring model. They sometimes use the standard FICO 08 score. You can ask the lender which score will be used. Here’s where you can view your FICO 08 FICO 08 Auto-Enhanced scoring model.

MYFico

MYFico gives you multiple credit scores including your FICO 08 Auto-Enhanced and Fico 08 scoring model. You can view all your scores for all three credit bureaus.

Price: There are three package options.

Basic: Only Experian is updated every month- $19.95

Advanced: All three credit bureaus are updated every 3 months- $29.95

Premier: All three credit reports are updated every month $39.95

Updated: This depends on the plan.

Accuracy: MyFico is the most accurate place to get your Fico score

Experian

Experian gives you multiple credit scores including your FICO 08 Auto-Enhanced and Fico 08 scoring model. You can only view your FICO Auto-Enhanced score from Experian and not from the other two credit bureaus.

Price: Free 7-day trail, then $24.99 per month

Updated: Experian scores- everyday.

Transunion and Equifax- once in 30 days

Accuracy: In my experience, the scores are pretty close to the real scores

Discover ScoreCards

Discover allows you to view your FICO 08 credit score for free. You do not need to be a Discover cardholder to sign up.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: Auto Loans sometimes use the FICO 08 scoring model. In that case, the score you see with Discover should be pretty accurate. But if the lender will use the FICO 08 Auto-Enhanced scoring model, then the FICO score you view on Discover will not be accurate.

FreeCreditScore.com

FreeCreditScore is owned by Experian and will give you your updated FICO 08 credit score every month, for free.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: Experian

Accuracy: Auto Loans sometimes use the FICO 08 scoring model. In that case, the score you see with MyFreeCreditScore.com should be pretty accurate. But if the lender will use the FICO Auto-Enhanced scoring model, then the FICo score you view on MyFreeCreditScore.com will not be accurate.

Barclays

Barclays allows their cardholders to view their FICO 08 credit score for free.

Price: Free

Updated: As per a reader on DOC, who messaged Barclays, the score is updated at least once every 60 days or whenever a major change has happened to the card holder’s score.

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: Auto Loans sometimes use the FICO 08 scoring model. In that case, the score you view on Barclays should be pretty accurate. But if the lender will use the FICO Auto-Enhanced scoring model, then the FICO score you view on Barclay’s website will not be accurate.

Credit cards

Most credit card issuers use the FICO 08 or FICO 08 Bankcards scoring model. Capital One is the only bank that I am aware of, that uses the FICO 04 Bankard scoring model for credit card applications. Here is where you can get your FICO 08 credit score and FICO 08 Bankcard scores

MYFico

MYFico gives you multiple credit scores including your FICO 08 Bankcard and FICO 08 scoring model. You can view all your scores for all three credit bureaus.

Price: There are three package options.

Basic: Only Experian is updated every month-$19.95

Advanced: All three credit bureaus are updated every 3 months- $29.95

Premier: All three credit reports are updated every month- $39.95

Updated: This depends on the plan.

Accuracy: MyFico is the most accurate place to get your FICO score

Experian

Experian gives you multiple credit scores including your FICO 08 Bankcard and Fico 08 scoring model.

Price: Free 7-day trial then $24.99 per month

Updated: Experian- everyday.

Transunion and Equifax- once in 30 days

Accuracy: In my experience, the scores are pretty close to the real scores

Discover ScoreCards

Discover allows you to view your FICO-08 credit score for free. You do not need to be a Discover cardholder to sign up.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: If the FICO 08 score is used, then the score you see on Discover should be pretty accurate. If the FICO Bankcard score is used, then the score you see on Discover will not be accurate

FreeCreditScore.com

FreeCreditScore will give you your FICO 08 credit score every month, for free.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: Experian

Accuracy: If the FICO 08 score is used, then the score you see on MyFreeCreditScore.com should be pretty accurate. If the FICO Bankcard score is used, then the score you see on MyFreeCreditScore.com will not be accurate

Barclays

Barclays allows their cardholders to view their FICO 08 credit score for free.

Price: Free

Updated: As per a reader on DOC, who messaged Barclays, the score is updated at least once every 60 days or whenever a major change has happened to the card holder’s score.

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: If the FICO 08 score is used, then the score you see on Barclays should be pretty accurate. If the FICO Bankcard score is used, then the score you see on Barclays will not be accurate.

Citi

Citi provides the FICO 08 Bankcard scoring model for free, only for their customers.

Price: Free for Citi cardholders

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: Equifax

Accuracy: If the FICO 08 Bankcard score is used, then the score you see on Citi should be pretty accurate. If the FICO 08 score is used, then the score you see on Citi will not be accurate.

Non-accurate, yet educational, score

Credit Karma

Credit Karma is the Kleenex tissues when it comes to monitoring your credit. They offer you your vantage 3.0 scoring model for free, from two of the three credit bureaus

Price: Free

Updated: Every 7 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Wallet Hub

Wallet Hub is one of my favorite places to track changes to my credit report, as they update every single day, all for free!

Price: Free

Updated: Every day

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame is another free website to get your vantage 3.0 score for free. The thing that I like best about CreditSesame is that they provide you with $50,000 identity theft insurance, for free, just for being a member.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Amex – My credit Guide

Amex gives you your free vantage 3.0 score, without needing to be an Amex cardholder. Sign up here.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 7 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Chase – Credit Journey

Chase provides you your vantage 3.0 credit score for free, even if you’re not a Chase customer. Sign up here.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 7 days

Credit Bureaus: Experian

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Capital One – Credit Wise

Capital One offers your free vantage 3.0 credit score. You do not need to be a Capital One cardholder to enroll. Sign up here.

Price: Free

Updated: Every 30 days

Credit Bureaus: TransUnion

Accuracy: It’s not 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of where your credit score is up to.

Factors that lead to a higher credit score:

  • Paying bills on time. Credit score rewards a track record of paying on time. A delay in payment by 30 days, or any missteps, stays on your credit history for up to 7 years.
  • How much you owe. The amount of your balance, relative to your credit limits, is a big factor. It’s best to avoid using more than 9% of your credit card limit. The lower, the better.

Much less weight goes to these factors, but they’re still taken into account.

  • Credit age. The longer you have credit, and the higher the age of your accounts, the better it is for your score.
  • Credit mix. Based on how many different types of accounts you might have. For ex: Credit cards, mortgages, student loans, car loans.
  • How recently you have applied for credit. When you apply for a card, a hard inquiry may be done. A hard inquiry is a request to check your credit, in order to make a decision about your loan or credit card application. That can shave a few points off your score, but it’s temporary. Having a newly opened account show up on your credit report will also affect your credit score for the short term (up to six months).
Frequently asked questions
How far back does my credit score go?
Most negative information will generally stay on credit reports for 7 years. Bankruptcy stays on your Equifax credit report for 7 to 10 years. There is no limit of how many years back positive information can go. I have seen accounts 45 years old and more.
How is credit score calculated?
According to FICO: 35% - payment history 30% - amount owed 15% - length of credit history 10% - new credit 10% - credit mix (different types of accounts you have- credit cards, student loans, mortgage etc.)
What credit score do I need for a mortgage?
For conventional loans (loans not backed by a government agency), generally, you’ll need a credit score of 620. With FHA or USDA loans (federal housing agencies), you may be able to qualify with a lower score.
What score should I aim to have when applying for a mortgage loan?
To qualify for the best interest rates on a mortgage, you should aim to have a credit score of 740.

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Sam Sam has nearly a decade's worth of experience educating his many readers on everything credit. Sam spends his days checking out credit cards for a full report, from the minute benefit details to the shebang of welcome bonuses. Plus studying the ins and outs of building proper credit. It’s his favorite pastime and he loves sharing it with others.

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2 Comments

  1. dealing w\ credit cards for more then 3 yrs this article was extremely helpful and educational

    Reply
    • Thanks! Let’s spread the word!

      Reply

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