Credit score you see not what all lenders use

It seems like everyone wants to know their credit score. There are lots of sites that will sell you this information. A few will actually give it to you for free with no strings attached.

But here's something you may not realize: the score you get is not the score that is most often sold to creditors - the folks who decide if you get a car loan, mortgage or a credit card and what price you'll pay to borrow that money.

A few weeks ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a study that shows that in one out of five cases the score you buy from a credit bureau is meaningfully different" from the score that a lender would consult in making a decision.

But the report concludes there is no way for you, the consumer, to know what score the lender is using.

Why is this happening? It's because none of us has a single credit score.

Lenders use a variety of computer models to come up with a number - a score - based on your credit history. That score is different from the "educational" scores you can buy.

The bottom line: you can't rely exclusively on the credit score you get to understand how lenders with see your creditworthiness.

You can get a truly free credit score from these trusted sites:, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame