Knowing your credit score when shopping for a private student loan helps you get an idea of the rates you might expect before you apply. Finding your credit score, however, can be a bit challenging. In addition, there is not one “universal” credit score. There are many different credit scores that are derived from different calculations. Because of the different way the different scores are calculated, the credit scores will vary depending on what score is used. When shopping for a private student loan, trying to determine if you qualify and what interest rate you may qualify for based on your “credit score”, it is important to be aware of the different scoring models so that you are not surprised when you do apply. We use the Transunion FICO 8 credit score when you apply.
Here are some free ways you can find a credit score:
1. Some credit card companies will provide your credit score monthly on your billing statement. If you have a credit card, check your billing statement to see if your credit card company provides this information. You may be able to determine which credit score is being provided by searching the credit card company's website or contacting their customer service.
2. Credit Karma is an online service that can provide your Transunion and Experian credit scores when you sign up at their site. There is currently no monthly charge or fee to sign up for their service. In order to obtain your free score, you will, however, have to agree to receive recommendations and offers of products and services that they believe you might be eligible for. Credit Karma, at this time, uses the Vantage 3.0 score which is different than the Transunion FICO 8 credit score that we use, and thus, may provide a different score.
There are many other factors, such as the timing of when you pull a credit score vs. when you actually apply for a private student loan that may account for variations in your credit score. Therefore, estimating a rate you may qualify for or if you qualify is just that, an estimate. The score that is pulled by the lender at the time of your application will be the one used to determine your eligibility.