Credit Score Estimators are good for getting insight into your credit score if you are honest.
The first FICO credit score estimator came out several years ago and remains relatively unchanged. It was a 10 question survey which asks about your credit card usage, your loan history, your bankruptcy experience and more. Here’s the full assortment of questions asked and the answer should gives you the best score:
- How many credit cards do you have? Best answer.
- Follow up: How long ago did you get your first credit card? Best answer: >20 Years ago
- How long ago did you get your first loan? Best answer: >20 years ago
- How many loans or credit cards have you applied for in the last year? Best answer: 0
- How recently have you opened a new loan or credit card? Best answer: more than 6 months ago
- How many of your loans and/or credit cards currently have a balance? Best answer: 0-4
- Besides any mortgage loans, what are your total balances on all other loans and credit cards combined? Best answer: 0
- When did you last miss a loan or credit card payment? Best answer: Never
- Follow up: What is the most delinquent you have ever been on a loan or credit card payment? Best answer: Never
- How many of your loans and/or credit cards are currently past due? Best answer: None
- Follow up: What are your total balances on all currently past due accounts? Best answer: None
- What percent of your total credit card
limits do your credit card balances represent? Best answer: 0% to 9%
- Please indicate if you have ever gone through any of the following negative financial events in the last 10 years: bankruptcy, tax lien, foreclosure, repossession, or account referred to collection agency. Best answer: Never
- Follow up: If so, how long ago did the most recent negative event occur? Best answer: Never
I thought it was very accurate the first time I tried it, as my score estimated range overlapped my actual scores. But, over the years, I’ve watched other people use the estimator and I’ve been surprised that people are either dishonest with themselves when they use this tool or they don’t really know the answers to these questions and that leads to inaccurate results.
But the other key issue is that people probably don’t really know some of the answers. I wonder how many really know their delinquency history especially married couples who share credit cards and therefore impact each other’s credit scores.
This is why I recommend everyone find out their actual FICO credit scores. Yes, you have to spend money to get them. But, your cholesterol check costs money too — someone pays either you or your insurance. It makes more sense to pay money for your FICO scores now, than to pay for a higher interest rate on a loan or credit card later. So, go ahead use FICO or non-FICO credit score estimators, but remember that these free tools are free and okay for rough insights, but no substitute for the real thing.