The score you see online at any of the free credit report sites is likely different than the score lenders request and receive to evaluate your creditworthiness. There are good reasons for this.
A FICO score is used by the majority of lenders. Keep in mind that even though there are numerous versions of the FICO score – only one model is used by mortgage lenders.
There is another score called the VantageScore, that comes from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and it is calculated using yet another formula. A lot of online sites use the Vantage Score because it is cheaper, however it is not used frequently by mortgage lenders.
Different types of lenders use different credit scoring models to determine risk and some use scores that are weighted for their specific industry – so an auto lender will use a different score model than a credit card company or mortgage lender.
There are also slight credit score variations between the credit bureaus because the underlying data that is used – and how it is used – varies. Each bureau uses different data sources, different methods of combining the data, and different rules about what data to display for different people.
These variations mean that Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion each have a unique credit score for each individual – even when comparing the identical model and version.
When it comes to the credit score that you see online, you should also check with your mortgage lender to see what score they are working with to avoid surprises.