I know that a lender I'm about to approach will pull up a specific credit score. How can I view this score of mine before going to the lender? Or, do I just cross my fingers.
You have hit on an important point. Not all lenders use the same credit score. The only way to know which score they use is for the lender to tell you. However, the customer service person for the lender may not actually know which scoring model their company is using. Also, many lenders use scoring models that are not available to consumers. That doesn't mean you can't get a very good idea of how the lender will view your creditworthiness.
There are many credit scores and credit score reports available from a variety of sources, All of them will educate you about your level of risk and how lenders will evaluate your application, no matter which scoring model they use.
While the score you get may not match the one your lender receives, the score and report will give you a very good idea of your overall credit standing. The credit scores and reports from Experian and other sources explain what the numbers mean with regard to your credit standing.
If the score indicates you are a good credit risk, the score your lender receives likely will indicate you are a good credit risk, too.
You can use the risk factor explanations you get with your credit score to help you improve your credit history over time. Doing so will improve all credit scores because your credit history will show you have taken control of your debt and credit accounts.
Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team