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Why Are Your Credit Scores Different?

Written by Equifax Experts on January 3, 2011 in Credit  |   3 comments

Have you checked your Equifax credit score recently? How about your credit score from another credit-reporting agency? Did they match up? They probably didn’t, at least not exactly. Why? One of the most frequent questions I receive from consumers concerns credit scores matching up—or not…

Have you checked your Equifax credit score recently? How about your credit score from another credit-reporting agency? Did they match up? They probably didn’t, at least not exactly. Why?

One of the most frequent questions I receive from consumers concerns credit scores matching up—or not matching up—among credit-reporting agencies.

Don’t worry about it too much. If you see differences between credit reports and credit scores, the important thing to check is that all of your personal information is accurate and the accounts and balances that show up on your credit report belong to you.

So where do these differences come from?

Different Credit Accounts Affect Your Credit Score

Several factors are used to calculate credit scores, and it is difficult to pinpoint one reason for score differences. Generally, when you pull three scores at the same time, the difference is a result of the credit file data being different at each of the three credit-reporting agencies. Not all creditors report to all three credit-reporting agencies, so you may see some credit lines on some of your reports but not all of your reports.

Again, this shouldn’t affect you too much, as long as the information that does show up is accurate.

In most cases, inaccuracies affect your score and may cause differences in scores among the three credit bureaus. Other factors that may affect your score include different score models used to calculate your score and the time at which you pulled your score (for example, your score is different than it was a month ago because something changed in your credit file, like a balance or the status of an account).

Different Score Models Affect Your Credit Score

Most companies that provide credit scores offer three-in-one score products. They pull the data from current Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports and send it through their respective score models. As a result, even if the credit data (inputs) is the same, the credit scores (outputs) may differ among these companies.

If your score differs among credit-reporting agencies, even if you pull the three scores on the same day, it may be because the score model used is different.

Credit data (inputs) among the three credit-reporting agencies can be different as well. Some creditors don’t report to all three bureaus. Sometimes the files are updated at different times, so all three agencies may reflect the same accounts, but the balances reported may differ slightly.

When You Pull a Credit Score May Affect It

Credit reports and scores may change on a daily basis, depending on how credit active you are. Sometimes the change is merely a result of a balance increase or decrease, and you may receive an alert of this activity if you’ve set up balance-alert notifications. Other times, there may be a key change to your credit report, such as an inquiry or a new credit line, and you can also receive alerts for those changes.

Compare an earlier report and the latest credit report. If there are differences in account balances and types of accounts, those differences may be driving the changes in the credit score.

Come back next week, when we discuss differences between your Equifax credit score and your credit score from a lender.

Read More:

How To Dispute Credit Report Errors
Four Things College Kids Need To Know About Credit
Four Myths About Your Credit History
Debt Reduction: Why Paying Down Your Credit Card Debt Helps Your Credit Score

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.


  1. kevin says:

    A bank that I have a mortgage with submitted to the three agencies that I was late on a payment. I disputed it with the bank and the bank agreed there it was done in error. I disputed it with all three agencies. Equifax and transunion fixed their's but experion has not. They have been saying it's under investigation for weeks now. Even though the bank contacted them to rectify the problem. I am trying to start a business and have been turned down for 2 leases now due to this. What can I do?

  2. Earl says:

    I read on your site if a consumer pulls his own credit it does not affect their score yet on here you indicate an inquiry could affect your score??? On the information factored in score on your own site, it says , your own request for credit and account reviews (soft hits) don’t change score but on here you indicate a seemingly difference??? So, which is it,????????

  3. Alice M. says:

    My three scores vary greatly. Am looking to buy a home and need to increase score. What do I do? I have paid down credit cards and paid off personal loans. I have student loans but they are in deferment.

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