Credit score is one of the most important factors of mortgage rates and many other important elements of a home loan, but many people have several misconceptions about the basics of credit score. At Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, our financial advisors are here to help clear up any confusion you may have in any element of the mortgage loan process.
We’ve found that much of our clients’ confusion often relates back to a simple lack of knowledge about credit score numbers – how many scores you have, how they’re calculated and what you can do to view your current score without dinging yourself financially. Let’s look at a few of these lesser-known areas of credit scores.
Same Score, Different Version
The most popular form of credit score monitoring is called FICO score, introduced by a company called the Fair Isaac Corp. over 25 years ago. It uses a proprietary formula designed to predict how likely someone is to repay a debt balance. Its chief competitor is VantageScore, a metric designed by three major credit bureaus that has gained popularity in recent years – we’ll compare the two in a moment.
Even within each type, though, know that things won’t always be standardized. Each different one is frequently updating their algorithms, and different individual creditors or lenders may not be on the exact same versions. Think of it like updating your computer to a new version of Windows – some lenders might have the FICO 8, but others might have the newer FICO 9, and your score may not come out exactly the same. If you want to standardize here, you’ll have to make sure you use the same version of a credit report, not just the same brand.
FICO vs VantageScore
FICO is used more commonly by lenders, while VantageScore is gaining ground with consumers and lenders alike. There are a few other key differences:
- Paid-off collections: VantageScore disregards these, but many versions of FICO (not including the newest FICO 9, which isn’t widely in circulation yet) do not.
- Alternative data: VantageScore includes these.
- Term: FICO requires six months of credit to generate a score, VantageScore only requires 30 days.
- Recent use: At least one account needs to have been used in the last six months for FICO score – it’s 24 months for VantageScore.
Getting it Free
Many people assume that you simply can’t view your credit for free, but this is no longer true. A site like NerdWallet offers free scores online and score simulators, and there are other tools available to landlords.
To learn more about credit score, or any part of the mortgage process, speak to a financial advisor at Wasatch Peaks today.