How To Get Your Credit Scores – Lesson #3

March 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Credit Score Lessons

Welcome back to VideoCreditScore. There are numerous places to get your credit reports and scores and while it seems to be that everyone is looking for the clear right answer for which product or website is best, it really depends on what you are looking for.

We’ll go through some of the better products here, but also check out the Comparisons Tab to see how each product is different.

If it’s scores you’re after, the only place to get all 3 FICO Scores – again this is the score that most mortgage lenders are using — is on myFICO.com.

If you are just starting out we recommend getting the FICO Complete which features all three FICO scores from myFICO and then signing on to Score Watch to get regular alerts. Why not just get FICO Complete every few months? Well it can be more expensive to go that way as you are trying to guess when your score might change. Why not just get Score Watch? Well you can, but according to 1 study about 20% of consumers can have 75-100 pt differences in their scores from the 3 bureaus, so it might make sense to check with FICO Complete to start.

If you know your score is going to be low, then the Suze Orman FICO Kit is nice alternative to the FICO Complete as it has numerous coaching modules. For just a few dollars more, the Suze Kit has some really nice features such as family sharing, and the credit coach.

If you absolutely feel you need 3 bureau monitoring, we like the Equifax product the best, but all three bureaus have nice offerings here. TU and Experian products feature their own proprietary credit scores.

You may have heard about AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the government sanctioned web site. As of 2004, You are entitled to 3 free reports a year. Unfortunately, you have to pay for the scores, which are only $5-7. Plus, only the Equifax score is a FICO score, the rest are non-FICO scores.

Be careful when you go to find this site. The World Privacy Forum did a July 2005 study that found that there were 233 domains with names very similar to annualcreditreport.com.

While the spirit of AnnualCreditReport is great, a free report without scores is kind of like Abbott without Costello, Jerry without Dean, the Grateful dead without Jerry…man, I sound old. Okay, how about Beyonce without Jayz, Mary Kate without Ashley. Plus, the report products are more barebones than the pay products. But hey, it’s free.

Speaking of free. Be careful with the “Free” language you hear, many sites are touting Free when it’s really a 30-day free trial. These are only free if you remember to cancel — if you intend to. These products can be as much as $150/yr, so you want to make sure you are using them if you are paying that much.

Again, check out the reviews Tab to see our product walkthroughs of various products. In summary, with FICO scores being the most used, we like getting FICO Complete if you’ve never seen your scores, or Score Watch to track your scores going forward.

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Comments

7 Responses to “How To Get Your Credit Scores – Lesson #3”

  1. Andrew on March 12th, 2009 8:07 am

    Hi Andy,
    This lesson needs an update, due to the Experian situation. I went to look for the Fico Complete package, but now it looks like they’ve replaced it with Suze Orman’s kit. Plus, that platinum kit now includes only 2 FICO scores with one pull available at a later time (presumably to make up for the fact that you can’t pull the third one you would really want–Experian). Does you recommendation remain the same? Is there another service or combination of services that would get all three scores?

    Also, a related issue. MyFICO advertises (or used to) that they would get you three FICO scores. But you explain here that TransUnion and Experian use their own, proprietary scoring method. Do they do FICO scores *in addition* to their proprietary scores? Which score(s) does myfico/Orman actually provide?

    Thanks! Your site is great. I’ll definitely click through your buying channels if I decide to go with one of these products.

  2. awjolls on March 12th, 2009 9:40 am

    Now the consumer has it tough as there is no way to get all 3 FICO scores unless you go via a lenders. Raises the important question: are 2 FICOs better than 3 non-FICOs? If mortgage lenders use the FICO system and take the mid score, you have a 67% chance of having that score. I can’t say what the odds are when you switch to a scoring model they don’t use.

    To clarify. The TU scores you get on myFICO are FICO scores. The TU score you get on TrueCredit are not FICO scores. EFX is FICO on myFICO and on Equifax.com.

  3. Andrew on March 13th, 2009 6:15 am

    Thanks, that clarification helps. So, basically TU and Experian have their own proprietary scoring systems but ALSO provide a FICO score to those mortgage lenders who prefer to use the FICO system. As consumers, we can no longer see our Experian FICO score unless we get it via a lender, though we can see our Experian proprietary score through Experian’s website. Sound about right?

    I’m also trying to figure out the importance of knowing my exact middle score as a potential borrower. From reading your posts on this site, it sounds like the main reason it is important to know is that it helps you to have a better sense of your bargaining position going into these lenders. If they know my middle FICO score and I don’t (because I only have two), then they can pretend my credit is worse than it is and make me a worse offer. But if I know my scores, then I can more confidently press them to give me a better offer based on how good my credit really is. Is that right? Are there additional reasons that knowing my exact middle score is an advantage?

  4. awjolls on March 13th, 2009 6:30 am

    XPN, EFX, and TU all use FICO scoring on the lending side. Over 90% of all mortgages use the FICO score model. XPN only uses their own score model for what they provide in consumer products like FreeCreditReport.com, which they own. TU offers it’s own non-FICO score to consumers via TrueCredit, but allows its data to be FICO scored via myFICO.com.

    Lenders can’t really pretend your credit score is worse, they have to disclose your scores, so if you know your applying for a loan, get that disclosure early. You do have a psychological edge being educated and you seem more educated if you have your FICO scores, in my opinion. I had a Realtor this week complain that she had to reeducate a customer who had a 990 score ranged VantageScore. I wonder if lenders can gain a psychological edge but having to reeducate consumers.

  5. Andrew on March 13th, 2009 10:55 am

    Thanks — that’s really helpful. You have a great site here. Your lessons and tips have really helped me get a better handle on how my score is determined and how to manage it.

  6. brent clark on August 17th, 2011 12:44 pm

    I was just wondering why I’m not able to show the video’s on this website. At any given time I can pull it up, but then on other times they don’t pull up. I’ve installed Flash Player on my PC. Can you give me any help?

  7. VideoCreditScore-Andy on August 19th, 2011 2:49 pm

    Sorry, they are working for me. Do you have the latest browsers installed? If you search on “videocreditscore” on Youtube, you will find most of the videos there as well.

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