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Wondering Why You Have Different Credit Scores?

Posted on February 22, 2011

If you have already begun the credit repair process, you may have noticed that different credit reporting bureaus provide you with a credit score that is rarely equal to the other agencies. Credit scores from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian will all be reflective of your credit management abilities but it is unlikely they will ever be exactly the same at the same time.

Why Does This Happen?

Each credit reporting agency has a different method and different factor list for determining your three-digit credit score and there are several reasons why your individual scores from the three agencies will differ.

First, it is important to note that not all creditors will report your credit activity to all three of the reporting agencies. Some may choose to report to only one or two of the agencies so the third report would not have this particular creditor data considered as part of their scoring model.

Secondly, the inconsistencies in the credit score may be due to the changes occurring on any given day. Depending on how you use your credit, when you authorize a credit check and various other scenarios, your credit score may change from day to day if only slightly. Credit bureaus also do their credit file updates at different times so the addition of data can be reflected in credit scores. The small differences in your credit report may not seem significant but a few points either way in your credit score can make a difference.

Some companies offer to provide a three-in-one credit score. In this case, your credit information is pulled from the three major agencies and then processed through their respective scoring models.

What You Need to Know

Most creditors will have a favorite among the credit bureaus from where they will pull credit information on a customer. Not all will rely on all three of the credit bureau scores and those that may pull all three often go with the middle number score.

There is only one concern to consider when score differ more than just a little. One credit reporting agency may show a score significantly lower than the others. In this case you’ll want to double check all of the data listed on your credit report to be sure it is accurate. Mistakes are highly possible on credit reports and it is a consumer’s obligation to regularly order and check their credit history reports.

Any erroneous information can have an effect on your credit score so you’ll need to file a dispute with the reporting agency to clear the matter up as soon as possible. Once the dispute has been filed, you will hear back from the credit reporting agency within 30 days. If the creditor has cooperated with the dispute, your information will be corrected (or stay the same if accurate). If the credit reporting agency does not respond in the right time frame, the information will be removed from your report as required by law. Once your dispute has been reported as resolved, it is in your best interest to follow up to ensure the information has been corrected and your credit score is listed more accurately.

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