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Free Credit Scores As A Result of New Act

Free Credit Scores

Tyler Frank,
Paramount Mortgage
NMLS ID 942420

Free Credit Scores are Not Part of the Free Annual Credit Report Consumers Currently Receive

Consumers currently have the right to  request their free credit report once a year, but a credit report does not include free credit scores. These two items are often confused to be the same, which they are not.

You generally must pay to see your credit score. It’s a three-digit grade that predicts how risky you are to a lender.

Earlier this month, bills were introduced in the House and Senate to allow all consumers free access to credit scores once a year. The Free Access to Credit Scores Act was authored by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

Several consumer groups support passage of the Act including the Consumers Union. “Knowing your credit score is essential to managing your finances,” offers Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. Many consumers unknowingly elect to pay to receive their credit scores and only find out later that “the scores you buy may not even be the ones your lenders use,” says Banks.

The FICO score, created by Fair Isaac and reported on a scale of 300 to 850, is the most widely used. The three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, developed a competing score, the Vantage Score, which uses a scale of 501 to 990, making it hard to compare with the FICO score.

In a recent study evaluating the differences between FICO and Vantage scores, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found huge discrepancies between scores provided to consumers and those sold to lenders.

The agency found almost a quarter of all consumers in their study of 200,000 cases would see a score that was one tier off from what a lender would see. For example: a consumer purchased score in the “excellent” range of 740-plus would be displayed to a lender as only a “good” score in the 680-740 range. Three percent of all scores analyzed had even greater variations.

Credit scores can be affected negatively by inaccuracies reported on credit reports such as wrong or outdated personal information, an incorrect payment status or a remedied delinquency not being reported.

A future homebuyer concerned about credit should “check with his or her lender six months before they want to purchase a home,” says mortgage banker, Tony Grafals, with Paramount Mortgage in St. Louis, Missouri.

If there are any credit issues on your report, or your score is not where you think it should be, you’ll want to find out sooner, rather than later. “That will give you ample time to fix any errors on your credit report,” offers Grafals.

If you do not know your credit score, you might find yourself spending money to try and make a purchase only to find out later that you cannot qualify for a loan.  Click HERE and I’ll help you get your Credit Score.

About the author: Tyler is Paramount Mortgage Company’s general counsel as well as a licensed mortgage loan originator. Tyler is a 1999 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of the university’s Dean’s List. He received his J.D. from Washington University’s School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Tyler is “big brother” mentor and role model to a young man through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. He is a member of the St. Louis Sports Commission’s Associates Board, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Alumni Admissions Committee and Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day’s Alumni Executive Committee. In 2012, Tyler successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft.) in Tanzania, Africa, and ran his first full marathon.

Tyler can be reached by email at tfrank@paramountmortgage.com or by phone at 314.372.4313.

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