When consumers pull their credit report and credit score, one of the first things they might notice is how credit reports can differ between the three credit bureaus. I often hear questions from consumers wanting to know how the information is updated and why they’re seeing different information on different reports.
Recently, a consumer was curious as to why her scores from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion were different. She said that not all of her reports had the most up-to-date information for each account. She was concerned because she wanted to apply for her first mortgage loan and had recently paid off several of her credit cards in the hopes of boosting her score.
Because she was closely monitoring her credit, she knew her credit file was updated frequently. Why hadn’t her scores been updated to reflect the zero balances?
While it’s true that a consumer monitoring his or her credit files and scores closely can see frequent changes, it’s important to keep in mind that the files and scores are updated only to the extent that Equifax has received the information from creditors.
How creditors report information to the credit bureaus
Just because Equifax updates your information daily doesn’t mean that each of your creditors report your information daily. A credit card company, for example, typically does not report the daily activity on your credit card account. Some companies report to the bureaus every month, while others report at the end of a billing cycle. This means it could take a few weeks for your credit score to reflect your most recent activity.
Creditors may report information to different bureaus at different times as well, which may be why your credit scores differ across the three reporting agencies at different times. If you monitor your credit report, you may recognize this pattern.
But there may be other reasons why your credit scores are not exactly the same. Each credit reporting agency’s formula is unique, so there may be minor differences between the three.
Your creditors may also not report to each of the three bureaus. For example, a retail credit card may report to Equifax and TransUnion but not Experian. By thoroughly checking your credit report from each bureau, you will be able to tell which companies report to which bureaus. You should also check for inaccurate information on each of your three credit profiles.
Generally speaking, your scores should not differ much from one credit reporting agency to another. If you have good credit with one, you typically have good credit with all because your credit score reflects your overall borrowing and paying habits.
If you don’t immediately see your recent activity showing up in your credit score, just keep in mind that if you’re going to make a big purchase, or if you’re working to improve your credit score, you should give your credit report enough time to catch up to your activities.
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.