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In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
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We’ll be answering some of your most frequently asked credit questions on the blog. We hope this discussion will increase your understanding of how the credit reporting process works. Don’t forget to check out part one of this FAQ, which covered late payments and the calculation of your credit score.
Q: Why does a lender see a different credit score than what’s on my Equifax credit report?
A: A lender may be seeing a different credit score than what you will find on your Equifax credit report because another credit score model is being used.
For example, Equifax calculates your Equifax Credit Score using information from all three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Other companies may calculate your credit score using different metrics. While some lenders use blended credit scores from the three credit reporting agencies, others apply industry-weighted credit scores.
Keep in mind that your credit score isn’t static and could change every day as credit grantors, collection agencies, and public records report data.
If your lender calculates a credit score that is very different from your Equifax Credit Score, consider showing your lender a recent copy of the credit score Equifax has reported. Then you can compare the inconsistencies and determine if any information is incorrect.
Q: Why is my credit score different among the three nationwide credit reporting agencies?
A: If you are pulling your credit report and credit score from each of the three credit reporting agencies and find that your credit scores aren’t exactly the same, it’s not a cause for alarm. There are multiple reasons why your credit score may differ.
If you access credit scores from all of the agencies at the same time, a credit score difference may be due to the credit file data at each of the agencies. Not all creditors report to all three agencies, so some credit lines might not appear on all three reports.
Your credit report and credit score can also change daily, depending on your credit activity level. This could be the result of a balance increase or decrease, a new inquiry, or a new credit line.
When comparing your credit report from the three agencies, make sure that the personal information on each is correct and that all of the listed accounts and balances belong to you. Any incorrect information could alter your score.
Q: How do I dispute an error in my credit report?
A: It’s a smart idea to periodically check on your credit report because any erroneous information could affect your credit score. Remember that you are entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three credit reporting agencies through annualcreditreport.com. You can also request your credit score for a nominal fee when you access your credit report.
If you have been a victim of identity theft or if a creditor has mistakenly reported your account as delinquent, it could affect your credit score. If the incorrect information causes your credit score to drop, it could be difficult for you to get credit at a better rate.
If you find inaccurate information in your credit file, directly contact the credit reporting agency posting the error and file a free dispute. At Equifax, you can file your dispute by Internet, phone, or mail.
If you have spotted erroneous information in your credit report from one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, consider ordering your credit file from the other two in order to check for the same mistake. You can find both Experian and TransUnion online.
The credit reporting agencies are mandated to investigate all disputes within 35 to 45 days after you have submitted your complaint. At this time, the credit reporting agency will contact you with your outcome—by mail if you submitted by mail or through email updates if you selected that option.
The credit reporting agency can update the status of the disputed information—which could include telling you that the furnisher of the information confirmed that it was reporting correctly—or delete the item altogether. If the agency finds no mistake in your file, the information will remain, but you have the option of adding a statement of explanation.
When you correct an error with one credit reporting agency, the two other agencies should also receive the updated information. To make sure that your information is quickly corrected across agencies, though, you should dispute the error directly with each one.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.