Recently Discover Card has started putting a FICO score on my statements. I was wondering how accurate this score is. Is it an approximation or accurate?
What would be other ways (free/paid) to check my credit score?
A couple of my banks have been periodically giving me my credit score as well lately. I am pretty sure it's your actual FICO score from TransUnion--a perk they are giving you to increase your satisfaction with company at low cost to them.
You can get your credit report without the score annually from each of the credit agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com, but that doesn't include the FICO score itself.
You can get an estimate of your credit report frequencly and for free at Quizzle or CreditKarma. These companies partner with a credit agency and use the same information (but a different algorithm) to give you a score similar to FICO and to give suggestions on how to improve it.
I think you can pay for your FICO score at various places online but I have never used these services so I can't vouch for them. For example, myFICO.
There are many different models for computing credit scores and the credit bureau's also allow companies to design their own mathematical models to be hosted on the credit providers infrastructure for real time "decisioning." FICO is a "consumer creditworthiness" model which evaluates you holistically as a consumer. There are numerous models that attempt this, the latest and greatest is VantageScore3 which is a collaboration between the 3 major credit reporting providers.
Aside from the models consumers are used to hearing about there are other models specific to the product that you are looking for. You might have a different credit score for an auto loan than you would a mortgage. When you think about the problem from a lenders perspective, it's obvious why. People in hard times will prioritize what payments they make differently, and therefore the risk models associated with each product would be different.
As mentioned above, each credit report provider has a different picture of your credit history, so even though the same model (e.g. FICO or VantageScore3) could be used, it will likely calculate a different credit score when evaluated by different providers (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax).
LendingTree.com, also offers a free credit product now as well.