Finally, A Free Credit Score

I think I've applied for a mortgage about eight times over the last six months. First I was just trying to get a sense of whether I'd qualify even though I wasn't ready to buy yet. Then I actually was ready to buy and it became time to comparison shop.

I've never known what my credit score is until recently. Since it costs money to get it and I've never had a real reason to know my score, I've never made that purchase. In fact, I learned the $14 way that even when applying for a loan, you don't need to know your score. The lender will find out your score when they run your credit, and they'll tell you what the score is. If they don't, just ask. Voila! Free credit score.

But that's not the real subject of this post. I received an interesting document in the mail the other day from a company called CREDstar.

The letter says, "In connection with your application for a home loan, the lender must disclose to you the score that a credit bureau distributed to users and the lender used in connection with your home loan, and the key factors affecting your credit score."

Setting aside how poorly written that introduction is, this was pretty exciting news, because at the bottom of the page were all three of my credit scores accompanied by detailed explanations of the factors that lowered each one (wow, I find this exciting? I'm such a geek). The cost of my mortgage application was free, so the cost to receive all three of my scores was not $30, like it would have been if I had gone through the credit bureaus, but $0.

What's the catch? I have no idea why this is the first time I've received this report when it's not the first time I've applied for a mortgage. If I had a collection of eight of these letters, I would tell you that a great way to get a free credit score and analysis is to apply for a mortgage. I'm certain that other mortgage companies have pulled my credit, but I've never seen this letter before.

Of course, like I said, despite all the hype surrounding credit scores, you don't ever need to make the effort to find out your score on your own because in any situation where it matters, the lender will give it to you for free.

Photo by szlea

Related posts:
How Opening New Credit Cards Affects Your Credit Score
The Effect of Credit Scores On Mortgage Interest Rates
How I've Earned $1250 in Free Money This Year

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