WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Mark Nagy hoped to refinance his mortgage.
He paid nearly $200 to Experian so he could frequently monitor his credit score.
His scored reached the mid 700s, so he felt confident he would get the best mortgage terms, but that didn't happen.
"During my call with the bank, she proceeded to pull my credit while I was on the phone, and she came back with numbers substantially different than what I had recently checked online, by a difference of 22 points," Nagy says.
Consumer Reports says often the credit score you get is different from the score a lender uses.
It took a close look at FICO, the company that invented credit scoring.
"FICO alone has dozens of different scoring methods. And, there are hundreds of others. They can all grade the same credit profile quite differently. So, we just don't think it's worth it to buy your credit score," says Margot Gilman.
It's important, however, to check your full credit report regularly for inaccuracies.
You can get yours free, every year, from each of the three major credit bureaus,Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, just go to annualcreditreport.com.
Gilman says, "When you are applying for a loan, you should always ask to see the actual credit score that the lender is using, and if you think that it is too low, you should ask for them to show you why."
Another tip, shop around for the best interest rates because lenders can rate you differently.
Mark was dismayed with the credit score the lender used. He didn't qualify for the best interest rate.
He says, "I think I should have access to the same credit score that the banks and the creditors do."
There is federal legislation pending that would require lenders to disclose, for free, the actual credit scores they use in assessing loans annually.
Meanwhile, if you paid for a credit score that ended up being significantly different than a lender's, Consumer Reports suggest that you demand a refund from that company as you would with any defective product.