Credit Scores :: Which service do you trust?

I had a conversation with my parents this weekend where my dad asked me what my credit score is – I explained that at one time, I had purchased them from the “Big Three” and they were all different, so I decided not to buy them anymore. I did buy one last year when I ordered my “Three Free” credit reports (I’ve yet to get one from Equifax, BTW – it’s a little hinky) – it was 695 and it was reported by Experian.

So I saw this Washington Post article the other day about credit scores and this quote stood out to me:

As scores become increasingly important, they have also become increasingly perplexing. Consumers have free access to the credit reports used to determine their scores, but they have to pay to check them. With the heightened interest, many borrowers have been doing just that, buying their scores from a variety of Web sites, only to find out that they might be different from the ones lenders use, according to bank officials and consumer advocates.

They go on to say:

Complicating matters is that Experian and TransUnion have developed their own scores, which the agencies call educational scores because they are intended to help consumers gauge their own creditworthiness. Lenders cannot even buy Experian’s score. They can buy TransUnion’s but tend to go with the FICO score instead.

You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/20/AR2009062002022.html?referrer=emailarticle

All of this makes me think that I should order my FICO score. I *would* like to know what lenders are looking at, even though it’s been nice not to get so many credit card offers in the mail since they’ve upped the eligibility requirements.

What has been your experience with credit scores and which have you ordered?

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