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Why Do I Have Different Credit Scores?

Great question! Every time a credit report is pulled by a company analyzing your ability to repay a loan they request your credit history from not one, but three credit bureaus; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Why do we need to have three different credit bureaus you may ask? Well in a way it is for your own protection! Think of it like a checks and balances system, if there were just one bureau they may go mad with power and create ridiculous credit standards, with three I suppose this is less likely.

 But back to the original question, the three credit scores may all be slightly different for a few reasons. The most typical reasons being:

  • A creditor may take longer to submit your information to the different bureaus than another; likewise each bureau may take slightly longer to update your information than the other.

  • Not all creditors report to all three credit bureaus. This is a pain and not too terribly common but it does happen.

  • Each bureau weighs your credit information somewhat differently than the others.

Having three different scores isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If there are just a few points between the three you’re probably fine with nothing to worry about. If you have one credit score hanging out there completely different than the other two, you should probably check into why this bureau is showing such a radically different number. This may be a red flag for identity fraud or a mistake on either the creditor or the bureaus part.

 

We decided to investigate directly to the source. FICO is the leader in credit scoring, essentially in charge of the three credit bureaus collectively. Joanne Gasking, product management director at FICO explained, “If there is a score difference across bureaus for a given consumer, then that score difference is 85-90% driven by data differences in the underlying credit”, meaning they all are likely receiving different data on you. The other 10-15% are likely related to the different scoring models the three different companies use.

 

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