Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Why are my credit scores different with each credit bureau?

Your credit report and individual credit score with each credit bureau may have slightly different information. There are also different credit scoring models and versions used by each bureau. There may also be errors, discrepancies or outdated information on one bureau but not the other ones.  

Additionally, each credit bureau is a different company and some lines of credit won’t report to every bureau. Some creditors may report to one bureau on one date and the next bureau may not be updated yet so your score can also vary just because it hasn’t been updated yet to reflect the most recent payment or credit history. 

How do I know which credit score a lender will use?

FICO 8 is the most commonly used for general lending decisions. There are also industry-specific scoring models such as Fico Score 9 and Fico Auto Score 2. Scoring methods evolve over time, just as consumer data processes and innovative technology evolves. The general process is similar but certain features get updated. Some lenders adopt the new systems quickly and others don’t.

It’s not that important to know the ins and outs of each new scoring method. Instead, focus on implementing good credit habits so you will have access to the best loans, rates and terms. There are specific loans for good credit and for excellent credit and the better your credit, the more money you will save on fees and interest payments. 

In many cases, you won’t know which credit score or scores a lender will check in advance. If your application is denied, the lender is obligated to tell you why, and they will generally send you a letter explaining what factors led to your denial such as too many late payments, a low Equifax score, or not enough length of established credit history. 

Which credit reporting agency is the most important?

When you think of Experian vs Equifax vs Transunion; they are all equally important and lenders may look at scores from one of them, two of them, or all of them. They may use your lowest score or your middle score when making a lending decision. Experian is the largest of the three credit bureaus but it’s important to monitor all three scores and know your credit history for each agency because you don’t know which one a creditor will look at. 

For example, if you’re applying for a home mortgage, and your Experian score is 670, TransUnion is 700, and Equifax is 690, the lender will most likely qualify you based on your lowest score

About the Authors

Allison Bethell

Written by: Allison Bethell

Real Estate Expert

Allison Bethell is a content writer, real estate investor, small business owner, and consultant. She has a B.A. from Villanova University in Sociology and Business. She also holds several graduate certificates in early childhood development, screenwriting, and contract law.

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