Lenders and Your Credit Score

Credit scores come in several versions, so it's important to check all of them before applying for a loan.

When you ask for your credit report, you can also get your credit score, but the scores can be significantly different from each other. Which score do lenders accept when it comes to borrowing money for a house? Do they take the highest score, or do they get an average?

There are several versions of your credit score. FICO scores (developed by Fair Isaac Company) are the most common, but even FICO scores have several variations. You'll have a separate FICO score based on your credit record from each of the three bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Mortgage lenders usually get all three scores and use the middle one.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.