If you’ve ever checked your credit score on different reporting agency websites, you’ll notice they vary and might wonder why. Your credit score is a three-digit number that lenders use to determine whether you’ll get approved for credit cards and loans. Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850. When a lender pulls your credit score, they may request it from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, and get a number that differs from the one you found. In this article, we’ll take a close look at why your credit scores differ among all of the different sources that report it.
Credit Scoring Model
There are several scoring models out there for scoring your credit history. In most cases, the lender will use one of the two main credit scoring models – FICO or VantageScore. Both models evaluate the same main factors of your credit history, like payment history and utilization rate, but use their own formulas to weigh each factor.
There are dozens of credit score versions that get 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 granted. 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 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 scores among all three are different because the information provided to each bureau is typically different or incomplete. For example, the credit bureaus may not all receive the same information about your credit accounts. There is no guarantee that the information submitted by creditors will be the same across the board, and this contributes to the different scores you see.
The Date Your Scores Are Accessed
If you review your credit score at different times, there may be discrepancies because one score may simply be outdated. For example, if your score has improved through a credit repair process, one bureau may show a new and better score, while another bureau can still be reporting on an outdated score.
Credit Report Errors
Your credit score can reflect 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 one that is updated without the errors or never reported that errors. You should always dispute errors on your credit report as soon as you notice them avoid potential credit or loan rejections. It can take up to 45 days for your score to adjust after errors are removed.
Which Credit Score Matters the Most?
While there is no exact answer to which credit score matters most, lenders typically favor FICO Scores, as they’re used in over 90% of lending decisions.
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