What Credit Score Should I Request?
Your credit score is a crucial factor that lenders consider when determining your creditworthiness. Whether you are applying for a loan, a credit card, or a mortgage, having a good credit score can significantly impact your chances of approval and the interest rates you receive. However, with the variety of credit scoring models available, it can be confusing to determine which credit score you should request. In this article, we will delve into the different types of credit scores and help you understand which one is most suitable for your needs.
1. FICO Score:
The FICO score is the most commonly used credit scoring model in the United States. It ranges from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness. Most lenders rely on FICO scores when assessing credit applications. If you are applying for a loan or credit, it is recommended to request your FICO score.
VantageScore is an alternative credit scoring model developed by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). It also ranges from 300 to 850 and is widely used by lenders. While FICO scores are more popular, VantageScore can provide a comprehensive view of your creditworthiness. If you are unsure which credit score to request, obtaining your VantageScore can be a good starting point.
3. Industry-specific scores:
Certain industries, such as the auto or mortgage industry, have their own specific credit scoring models. These scores may weigh certain factors differently than general credit scores. For example, the FICO Auto Score may focus more on your previous auto loan payment history. If you are applying for a loan within a particular industry, it is advisable to request the industry-specific credit score related to that loan.
4. Credit monitoring services:
Credit monitoring services provide you with access to your credit scores on a regular basis. These services often use their own proprietary scoring models. While these scores may not be used by lenders, they can give you a general idea of your creditworthiness and help you monitor any changes in your credit profile.
5. Credit card issuers:
Many credit card issuers now offer free access to credit scores for their cardholders. These scores are typically based on either the FICO or VantageScore models. If you have a credit card, it is worth checking if your issuer provides this service.
6. Free credit score providers:
Numerous websites and apps offer free access to credit scores. These scores are often based on the VantageScore model. While these scores may not be the exact ones used by lenders, they can still provide a good estimate of your creditworthiness. Just be cautious of any potential fees or hidden charges associated with these services.
7. Credit bureaus:
The three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, offer credit scores for purchase. These scores are typically based on their own proprietary scoring models. While these scores may not be the ones most commonly used by lenders, they can still give you a sense of your creditworthiness from the perspective of each bureau.
1. Will checking my credit score negatively impact my credit?
No, checking your own credit score is considered a soft inquiry and does not affect your credit. However, hard inquiries, which occur when a lender checks your credit during the application process, can have a temporary impact on your score.
2. How often should I check my credit score?
It is recommended to check your credit score at least once a year, and more frequently if you are actively working on improving your credit or applying for credit.
3. Can I improve my credit score?
Yes, you can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, keeping your credit utilization low, and maintaining a healthy mix of credit accounts.
4. Do all lenders use the same credit scoring model?
No, different lenders may use different credit scoring models based on their preferences and industry-specific requirements.
5. Can I request my credit score for free?
Yes, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. However, accessing your credit score may come with a fee.
6. Is my credit score the only factor lenders consider?
No, lenders also consider other factors such as your income, employment history, and existing debt when evaluating your creditworthiness.
7. Can I request my credit score if I have no credit history?
If you have no credit history or limited credit, you may not have a credit score. In such cases, it is advisable to start building credit by opening a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.
In conclusion, determining which credit score to request depends on your specific needs. While FICO scores are the most widely used, VantageScore and industry-specific scores can also provide valuable insights. Additionally, credit monitoring services, credit card issuers, and credit bureaus offer various options to access your credit score. Regularly monitoring your credit score can help you make informed financial decisions and take steps towards improving your creditworthiness.