How to Check Your Credit Report

If you have not already done so, you will need to get your hands on a credit score. This is the magic number that lenders and others judge you by. Once you know the number, you take a big step toward managing your credit. As you go looking for credit scores, you’ll be inundated with offers. Go to any search engine and type in the words “credit score.” Every one of the listed results will have your phrase prominently displayed and bolded.

Any time you get a loan, ask your lender for your credit score. Since they just pulled your credit reports, they will have an up-to-date credit score for you. If you don’t like what you see, dig deeper. Order your credit reports and see what may be affecting your scores.

You need to be careful out there because you’re working with some very sensitive information. If you give your sensitive personal information to the wrong party, you risk becoming a victim of identity theft. Stick with the big names, or ask your lender which credit score they use when evaluating a borrower.

Your FICO credit score

The granddaddy of all credit scores is the FICO score. The Fair Isaac Corporation pioneered credit scoring, and is deeply entrenched as a market leader. For most mortgage loans, lenders will look at your FICO credit score. This is because selling mortgages in the secondary market has traditionally been easier if the borrower had a good credit score. The use of the FICO score for automated underwriting is beginning to shift, but the FICO credit score is still by far the dominant scoring model.

Because of its dominance, you might consider buying your credit report score directly from the Fair Isaac Corporation. That way, you will be sure to get a FICO credit score, not an imitation. You can purchase your FICO credit scores directly from Fair Isaac at their consumer web site, If you only need one credit score (because you know which credit-reporting company your lender will use) then you can buy a single score from a single bureau. If you want a FICO credit score from all three of the credit-reporting companies, you can buy those as part of a complete package.

While the FICO credit score is a strong market leader, the VantageScore may catch up. VantageScore is the scoring model created by the three major credit-reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. To purchase your VantageScore, you can visit one of the credit-reporting companies’ Web sites, or you can do so at

Buying Other Scores

You can buy other scores, but you may not want to. There are a million different vendors out there selling credit scores of questionable value. There is so much confusion about credit and credit scores that these companies get away with selling consumers a score that a lender will never use. The major credit-reporting companies are guilty of this. However, they also sell FICO credit scores, so you have to be careful when buying from them. You might get a proprietary score, or you might get the genuine article. Read the fine print to make sure you get what you want. Other scores typically score you a little higher than your FICO credit score would be, giving you a false sense of security.

Monitoring Services

You can also buy credit scores in conjunction with credit-monitoring services. Typically, these services might hold themselves out to be identity-theft protection services. As an added bonus, they say that they will throw in a credit score. Unfortunately, these credit scores are rarely FICO credit scores. They might move up and down similar to the way the FICO credit score will move, but they’re not exactly the same.


About the Author:

Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans.  Copyright © 2011

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