Why Are My Credit Scores Different???
The three-digit number that lenders use to determine whether you’ll get approved for financial products like credit cards and loans is called a credit score.
Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850, but there are a plethora of versions — from base scores to industry-specific scores — that make it tricky to know which one you’re being evaluated on during the application process. You may check your score with your bank, credit card company or on a personal finance site only to find it differs from other sites and making it hard to know what credit score range you fall in and which products you have the best chance of qualifying for. When a lender pulls your credit score, they may request it from different credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax or TransUnion — and/or request a specific version that varies from the one you checked.
Most credit scores weigh the same factors, such as your payment history, utilization rate (credit card usage), length of credit history, and number of new inquiries (new credit). However, there may be score differences for a variety of reasons.
Reasons why your credit score differs
Score version: I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are many other credit score versions that are broken up into base scores and industry-specific scores. Base scores, such as FICO® Score 8 or VantageScore 3.0, show lenders the likelihood you’ll repay any credit obligation. Industry-specific scores represent the odds you’ll repay a specific loan, such as the FICO® Auto Score 9 used in auto loan decisions.
Credit scoring model used: There are several models out there for scoring your credit history. But typically, lenders use one of the two main credit scoring models — FICO or VantageScore. Both companies evaluate the same main factors of your credit history like payment history and utilization rate, but use their own formulas to weigh each factor. I know its annoying right!
Credit bureau: Credit scores are calculated using data listed on your credit report, which comes from one of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. Your score differs based on the information provided to each bureau.
Information provided to the credit bureaus: The credit bureaus may not receive all of the same information about your credit accounts. Surprisingly, lenders aren’t required to report to all or any of the three bureaus. While most do, there’s no guarantee that the information will be the same across the board, creating potential differences in your scores.
Date scores are accessed: If you view your credit score at different times, there may be discrepancies since one score may be outdated.
Errors on your credit report: Your credit score can reflect any errors that appear on your credit report. If errors only appear on one bureau’s report, then your credit score from that report may differ from another that has no errors. If that is the case, then contact us to help you dispute errors on your credit report right away to avoid harm to your credit score. All information on your credit report by law according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) should be accurate, verifiable and complete.
View the different FICO Score Versions.