5 Reasons Why Your Credit Scores Differ Across the Credit Bureaus

Credit scores can seem like complex, abstract concepts. Many people have no idea what their credit score means, or why it’s important. Plus, credit scores vary across the different credit bureaus. So, whether you’re looking at Fico, Transunion or Experian, you could be seeing many different numbers. Below, we’ll go through the 4 reasons your credit scores differ across the credit bureaus.

1. They use different scoring models

The main reason your credit score differs across the credit bureaus is that they all use different scoring models. Take FICO, for example. They use their own secret, proprietary formula to calculate credit scores based on a number of factors. Your FICO credit score can fall anywhere between 300 and 850.

Experian on the other hand provides scores from 0-999. This means you could have a much lower Experian score than your FICO number, or a much higher one. Transunion uses the same scoring range as FICO, from 300-850.

2. They use different versions of a scoring system

Aside from the ranges of numbers quoted in your credit score, the method one bureau uses could be different from the next. An example of this is the FICO Auto Score 9. This method of reporting is used for auto loans specifically. So, a given credit score can indicate your general credit history, or how likely you are to repay a specific type of loan instead.

3. They use different information

Depending on which credit bureau you’re looking at, your score could be different because of the information to which the company has access. Your credit history is what these companies use to give you a score. If one company has access to a lender’s report on you that another bureau doesn’t, your score could vary significantly between the two.

Lenders don’t need to report to any of the bureaus if they don’t want to. This can lead to major inconsistencies in the numbers you see. However, most lenders will report to at least one of the big three bureaus, if not all of them.

4. They use different scoring timelines

A simple reason you could be seeing discrepancies between your credit scores is that the bureaus might be showing an out-of-date score. This comes down to the time at which you access your score. If, for example, you apply for a loan, the lender may update the bureaus instantly. However, one bureau might process this data slower than the others and end up showing you an out-of-date score.

5. There could be a mistake

While the world of credit reporting is usually very meticulous, there are sometimes mistakes. These errors on your credit scores differ across the credit bureaus could be a simple case of a wrong number, or they could be much bigger, impacting your credit score in the process. These errors could lead to you seeing an incorrect credit score. If you notice errors in your credit report, you should report them to the credit bureau as soon as possible.

Related Reading: What’s the Cost of Paying the Minimum Monthly Balance on Your Credit Card?