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What credit score model do lenders use apply mortgage?

What FICO Scoring Models Do Lenders Use When You Apply for a Mortgage and What Credit Score Do They Use When You Have Different Scores from the Different Bureaus?

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru
, Mortgage and Finance Guru

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders typically pull your credit report from the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each credit bureau uses a different methodology to determine your credit score and lenders will use that score to assess your ability to qualify for a mortgage as well as loan pricing (e.g., what interest rate you pay). There may be different inputs that go into determining your credit score but you want to focus on your aggregate score because that is the figure lenders use when you apply for a mortgage. While lenders typically review the credit reports and scores from all three bureaus they will use the middle score to evaluate your loan application. For example, if your Experian credit score is 700, your Equifax credit score is 680 and your TransUnion credit score is 720, the lender will use the Experian credit score of 700.

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all use different versions of the FICO scoring model when mortgage lenders request your credit report.  Experian uses FICO Score 2, Equifax uses FICO score 5 and TransUnion uses FICO Score 4.  There are variations between the different FICO models but the underlying inputs and scoring factors are relatively similar.  Making your payments on-time, maintaining low credit utilization and limiting the number credit accounts you have open leads to higher credit scores for all FICO scoring models.  Borrowers do not need to focus on the specific FICO scoring models used by the three credit bureaus and can use the credit scores and reports provided by free services such as AnnualCreditReport.com, Credit.com or CreditKarma to understand their credit profile before applying for a mortgage.            

We offer a comprehensive overview of your credit score and the mortgage process as well as advice on How to Improve Your Credit Score Before You Apply for a Mortgage on FREEandCLEAR. Reviewing these resources will help you understand your options and make more informed decisions when you get a mortgage.

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About the author

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru

Michael is the co-founder of FREEandCLEAR. Michael possesses extensive knowledge about mortgages and finance and has been writing about mortgages for nearly a decade. His work has been featured in leading national and industry publications. More about Michael

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