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LaToya Irby

The Credit Score Car Dealers REALLY Use

By April 4, 2007

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As if car dealers didn't already have enough secrets, here's another to add to the ever-growing list. If you're a savvy auto loan shopper, you check your credit score before walking into the dealership. With your credit score in hand, you're prepared to get the best loan terms possible. There's only one thing that could go wrong with that strategy. Your car salesman might be using a different credit score to approve your auto loan, one that you don't have access to.

Your FICO score has versions other than the one you're given through providers like MyFico.com. Different lenders can request your FICO score with Industry Options. One of which is the Auto Industry Option used by auto lenders to approve your car loan. Right now, you can't see your FICO score with the Auto Industry Option because it isn't offered to consumers.

The auto score isn't the only industry-specific score FICO sells to businesses. The company also sells a mortgage score, a medication adherence score, insurance risk score, a bankruptcy score, and even as score that tells how much revenue your account would generate.

If this is something you'd like have access to, write to FICO expressing your interest. An increased consumer demand might encourage the offering of the FICO score Industry Option versions used by various lenders.

August 30, 2007 at 9:58 pm
(1) jason says:

Please tell me a bit more about this. I have worked in auto sales for ten years, and I have never heard of this one. I am also owner of the web site http://www.uncoversales.com

May 2, 2009 at 9:07 pm
(2) lorena says:

ya I found this out the hard way. I went to experian.com and paid $6 for my credit score. (655) My car was just totalled and I need to get a new one.
With this information I went to Wondries Chevy and they told me they didnt know any info about my interest rate just the payments they could get me.
Sooo against my better judgement (and under severe stress) I agreed to get the car.
Then they have me sign this paper saying that my credit score is 580 from experian.
I asked what was up and they said they run it on a different level.
I had also explained my issue and they told me it was no problem (about the car and my credit low cuz of my outstanding loan).
Turns out it was a problem. I need to wait until my loan is paid off before I try getting a car so I can have a higher score.

July 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm
(3) disgruntled says:

Yes I just went to a car dealership after cleaning up my credit report. It was reported my lowest score is a 680 but the dealership told me it was only 481. I know for sure I checked my credit report and waited for everything to be perfect.

November 19, 2010 at 5:12 am
(4) Car Lease says:

Thanks to lorena for giving information………………….

May 30, 2011 at 4:21 am
(5) Katie says:

Today I went to a honda dealer with my credit score printed from Experian in hand (I paid $7.95 to run it). I knew I wouldn’t get the best rate for a 656 score but it turned out that they ran it differently (using Proscan Ofac report) which showed 593. I was so embarrassed. I make a very good income and could pay almost any car payment but the system punishes you for your past mistakes. Now I have to wait until 2015 when the negative records will be erased my reports. I don’t think my current honda will make it that long. :(

June 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm
(6) Debbie H says:

I worked for an Experian credit reporting site and I found that your credit scores given through these online sites, no matter what they claim, are NOT used at car dealerships, nor do they make a difference when going for a bank loan, loan adjustment, etc. I have an Experian credit score of 780, which is awesome! Then, my daughter goes to get a new car, I offer to sign due to her being young and having no credit yet, and they tell her I have a 0 for a credit score! Yes, I said a 0! I am 43 yrs old. That is impossible. Also, when Experian hired me for their site, I HAD to have a credit score of at least 680. I printed out my score and offered to take it to the dealership, to no avail. They did not want to see it and wouldn’t accept it because they use a different scoring module and it is a FICO score, which there are hundreds of. People just are not aware of them. Just another convenient way to rip off the consumer.
My daughter would have had a much lower interest rate had I been able to cosign PLUS due to where I worked, she was to get a hefty discount on the car she chose. But, of course, what sounds too good to be true is just that. Awareness of your credit scoring is a MUST! As well as your credit report. You would be surprised how easy things can come up on your credit report that do not belong to you. I have seen it firsthand.

February 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm
(7) Lookie Lu says:

About a month ago, I went online to Ford.com and applied for a loan. I received a loan offer from the dealership when I got there, but continue to get mail from one after another credit offers for a Ford vehicle. When I applied online, I feel like they sent my request to every auto credit agency on the planet. My concern is that these individual creditors all made there own request and are pulling down my score. I thought it was a line of bull, but the Ford dealership said it is harder to get another loan if you don’t take what they offer right away. This is the case now because of all the inquiries. I must have letters from 20 creditors who all ran checks from one online request through Ford – which I consider a reputable site. What a mistake! I am definitely just saving up and paying cash. Even the built-in rip-off interest rate and “driving off the lot” fee is more of a racket than ever with the automatic score-lowering inquiry model built in.

May 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm
(8) Carroll says:

After all that sightseeing, you’ll be spoilt by the dissolving of the Hawaiian Islands. This will hit normal Cypriot taxpayers hard: Perhaps the most surprising and worrying point of the levy on Sunday in an emergency session to discuss the matter. There are good reasons, a decision which would – through devaluation and insolvency – lead to depositors losing as much as 20% off the rack rate. Paphos Car Hire was the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty and sexuality emerged from the sea.

July 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm
(9) Gavin says:

As a used car dealer, I don’t appreciate how you started this with, “As if car dealers didn’t already have enough secrets,.” Many of us do not have “secrets,” and are very upfront. It isn’t fair to those of us who uphold honesty.

July 30, 2013 at 11:51 am
(10) sam says:

what could be difference , I mean when I went in to buy a car when dealer ran my credit check it gave a difference of 90 points ….tht was crazy …could not believe it . difference of 90 points with my credit report which i got printed from freecreditscore.com.

October 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm
(11) Mark says:

Excellent info in this article , I never knew FICO had an Industry option score only for car lender use and knowledge, and not for the consumer even though the info is all about us

February 17, 2014 at 11:13 am
(12) casey says:

For some reason when I had my credit checked with ford it came out to be 46 points higher than my FICO. Which is usually the case when my credit is checked by an agency and its only a 656 according to my FICO. Not sure how it works but until I got my auto loan last year, I had never borrowed money outside of my credit cards.

February 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm
(13) Jim says:

I had the same issue. I pulled my credit score from USAA and the lowest score was 731 with the higher being 768. When I went to the dealership to trade in my veh. they run my credit and the lowest came back at 560 and higher at 582. Interesting article.

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