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Why Is the Credit Score My Lender Calculated Different from My Equifax Score?

Written by Equifax Experts on January 10, 2011 in Credit  |   11 comments

Why Is the Credit Score My Lender Calculated Different from My Equifax Score? Equifax Credit Team Last week, we talked about differences in your credit score among the three credit-reporting agencies (CRAs). While Equifax calculates your Equifax Credit Score based on information from all three…

Why Is the Credit Score My Lender Calculated Different from My Equifax Score?

Equifax Credit Team

Last week, we talked about differences in your credit score among the three credit-reporting agencies (CRAs). While Equifax calculates your Equifax Credit Score based on information from all three agencies, other companies may be calculating your credit score differently.

I usually get questions about differences in credit scores when a consumer is checking his or her credit report to make a big purchase—like a car—or to apply for a mortgage.

There are different credit score models available to lenders. Some use industry-weighted scores, and others use blended scores from all three CRAs. The lender determines which score model it prefers.

Plus, a credit score is a moving target. It could change every day as credit grantors, public records, and collection agencies report data.

How Is My Credit Score Calculated?

Credit scores are calculated using data from your credit report. Check out this blog for more details on what goes into your credit report. The information in your credit file may differ across the three CRAs. Because your score is calculated using the information in your credit file, and your credit file may differ by agency, there may be differences in your scores. That’s why it’s important to periodically review your credit reports and scores from all three CRAs to ensure the accuracy of the credit file data.

Since your credit file changes as credit line balances change, account statuses change, etc., your credit score may have changed if there has been any key activity on your credit file since the last time you checked it.

Equifax calculates your credit score from all three of your credit files—from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—using the Equifax Credit Score™, which is a proprietary credit score model developed by Equifax. Credit scores calculated based on this model may differ from scores used by other companies.

If your Equifax Credit Score differs greatly from the score your lender has calculated, you might want to bring a recent copy of your Equifax Credit Score to the lender. You can then compare the differences and figure out which information is missing or inaccurate.

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. Sam says:

    Can you explain industry-weighted scores and how and what factors are used
    to determine the score. I got one score and the lender got a much lower score. I really don’t understand.

  2. Anita says:

    At the end of year i received the highest score I’d ever seen from transunion 825–then two months later i checked the same agency and the score was 806 B. Then i also checked w/Equifax which gave a score of 719. i have not checked experian yet. Expect to do that one in another two months time. I question of the validity of any of these scores. What is the consumer to do?

  3. Maggie says:

    It’s a broken system if you ask me. First of all I don’t understand the balance to limit issue. Why give you a credit limit if you can’t use it? If you buy a car..your at the limit. If you finance a Christmas gift by charging for the entire purchase…your at the limit. What is really confusing to me is the difference between the credit bureaus scores. They can vary in as much as 100 points or more. Someone needs to fix this stupid scoring system. If you pay on time…you should have excellent credit regardless of how many accts or the balances. The system does not have information on your income so that to me makes sense. It’s very frustrating.

    • J.D. says:

      Well first of all if you buy a car it’s not going to be calculated into your debt to credit ratio. Debt to credit is for revolving accounts (credit cards). Now as far as the maxing out a card, it’s going to lower you credit score usually because it’s seen that since you’re maxing out your debt to credit ratio that you need to pay off this debt. If you have a lot of debt then, because the Credit Bureaus don’t use income, the scoring system doesn’t know if you can pay it or not and it would be very difficult to incorporate income into a scoring system because they would need proof all the time to keep it up to date. That’s something the lenders look into. The credit score is just one part of what makes up your actual credit worthiness.

  4. Frustrated in Georgia says:

    It’s time for consumers to write to congress. The credit score/reporting system is one big payday for credit reporting agencies and others who benefit (and don’t get me started with FICO). All credit reporting agencies should use one model. Instead they are so busy competing with each other that it is the consumer that gets the short end of the stick. I should not see a different score than the mortgage company and it is ridiculous for one reporting agency to report a score that is over 100 points difference from the other. This is just a drop in the bucket. I can sit down for hours and list all of the ridiculous rules that cause your credit score to fluctuate drastically. I could not work in this industry and keep a good conscience. I’m writing a letter to congress. I urge all of you to do the same.

    • Darcy M says:

      AMEN Frustrated! I pay TransUnion to monitor my credit score. They tell me its 631. That’s enough for a mortgage. So I go speak to a mortgage broker about getting financing for a home. Lo and behold HIS TransUnion score for me was a 549! That’s over 80 points difference – for the same CRA!!! There went my hopes for buying a home, not to mention I was very embarrassed for even trying. They wonder why we’re in such financial crisis. Its because of crap like this. There should be ONE CRA, ONE SCORE and ONE SCORING METHOD. No one should be allowed to pick and choose how they get to score us. What’s the point of having a score if its going to vary by that much? Needless to say, I won’t be paying ANYONE to monitor my credit score going forward. It was a complete rip off.

      • Kevin Small says:

        I feel your pain! Quicken loans told me over the phone my score was 695 more than good enough to qualify for a mortage loan right.So being ecstatic that finally my credit score would allow me to own my own home I applied for a loan at my local community bank.A few days later I received a call from a bank representative,and was told after an underwriting was done my score was actually under 600.What a slap in the face and embarrassing situation that was.Something is awry and corrupt in the US credit market for sure.

      • LJ says:

        Agreed. I was completely misled in my honest attempt to know my credit situation and figure out how to build it. According to Equifax my score was 647. I was subsequently told by two lenders that it was 603 and my FICO was 574. I have yet to go to FICO to see if this is actually what they would report to me, the consumer, as I don’t want to sign up and pay for information that is so ambiguous – in the face of honest people trying to get correct information. Very frustrating and embarrassing, yes.

      • EFX Moderator, EM says:

        Darcy, thank you for sharing your concerns. It’s a frequent question on the blog, so we addressed it another blog post: http://blog.equifax.com/credit/responding-to-your-frequently-asked-credit-questions/

        I hope this helps explain the situation better.

    • Brenda says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I decided to run my credit report with Equifax before applying for a loan. It came back with a score of 753. After thinking about it for a few hours I decided it may be best to pay the $29.95 and get three scores so I could ensure I had a clear picture of my credit worthiness before applying, I didn’t want ANY surprises. I paid $29.95 through the Experian website. I was provided Experian 734, Equifax 713, and Transunion 721. Same day the lender ran my credit and they came back with Experian 701, Equifax 697, and Transunion 687. I agree, ONE scoring system needs to be mandatory for lenders and the three credit bureaus, otherwise paying for our credit scores is useless.

  5. mak says:

    Why isn’t equifax answering the questions
    why is there a difference? Why am I paying for irrelevant information when lenders are seeing something else?

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