Experian Credit Score vs. FICO® Score

Experian is a credit reporting agency. It also offers consumer credit monitoring services, including free access to some of your credit information through products such as Experian Boost. Credit Karma is not a credit reporting agency but offers similar consumer credit monitoring services. Both services have freemium and paid versions.

is experian accurate

Both services also give you an informational FICO® credit score based on data in your credit reports. Experian bases its informational credit score on Experian credit reporting data. Credit Karma bases its informational FICO credit scores on information from the other two major credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax.

When you sign up for ExtraCredit, you can see 28 of your FICO scores from all three credit bureaus. Your free Credit Report Card, on the other hand, will show you your Experian VantageScore 3.0.

Experian Score vs. FICO: What’s the Difference?

FICO is a credit scoring model that operates numerous scoring algorithms. You actually have more than one credit score because the scoring models have different algorithms used for different purposes. Mortgage lenders may prefer certain FICO scoring models, for example, while auto lenders or credit card lenders may prefer others.

Experian’s consumer credit apps—the free and paid versions—provide various FICO scores. The scores provided by the free Experian app are based on the information in your Experian credit report.

Which credit report is most accurate?

If you have a credit history that’s been reported to the bureaus, you can have a credit report with each of the major bureaus. Those are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. There isn’t one “more accurate” report. The most accurate report in any individual case is the one that has the most complete information.

Creditors don’t have to report to any of the credit bureaus, and they certainly aren’t required to report to all of them. Some lenders only report to one or two of the bureaus. Because of this, your credit report with each bureau can be different. That means any credit scores based on those reports will also be different. 

Why is my Experian credit score different from FICO?

The credit scores you see when you check a service like Experian may differ from the FICO scores a lender sees when checking your credit. That’s because the lender may be using a FICO score based on data from a different credit bureau. It may also be looking at a different FICO scoring method. For example, your Experian credit score—or the informational credit score you get through another service—might be 650, while one of your FICO auto scores is 680 and another FICO score is 640.

Is Experian better than FICO?

Experian and FICO aren’t the same thing. Experian is a credit reporting agency that also offers consumer credit monitoring products. FICO is a scoring model. A service called myFICO offers similar consumer credit monitoring products to Experian. The two services are similar in their accuracy. 

What score do lenders use?

Every lender may use a different score. There are many versions of the FICO score that lenders can use. Another scoring model, the VantageScore, also offers number scores to lenders. 

Understanding various credit score models

All credit scoring models use the information in your credit report to arrive at your final credit score. However, they take different information into account or weigh various data differently.

For example, hard inquiries occur when you apply for credit. They can cause your credit score to dip a little, and too many hard inquiries around the same time can look bad because they make you seem like you’re desperately seeking credit. However, both FICO and VantageScore models take into account that people needing a mortgage, auto loan or student loan may want to shop rates. That necessitates numerous applications.

FICO score counts all such applications within a 45-day period as one hard inquiry as far as impact on your credit score goes. VantageScore, however, only counts applications within a 14-day period as one for this purpose. 

Credit score impactors

While each credit scoring model runs the numbers a little differently, they all take five major factors into account:

  • Payment history, which demonstrates whether or not you’ve made payments on time and as agreed in the past
  • Credit utilization, which reflects how much of your available credit you’re using
  • Credit mix, which is whether or not you have a good mix of revolving and installment accounts in your recent credit history
  • Credit age, which reflects how long you’ve had a credit history, as well as the average age of your open accounts
  • Hard inquiries, which occur when someone checks your report for the purposes of considering your credit application

How can you check your credit score?

Knowing whether you have a good credit score is important, especially if you plan to apply for a loan or credit card. You might also want to know where you stand with regard to creditworthiness if you’re going to start a business or apply for a rental lease.

You can get a free copy of your credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. While that can help you see what’s on your report and understand whether you should dispute any incorrect information, it doesn’t provide you with your credit score. 

How can you get your Experian scores?

You can get your Experian score through the paid Experian Boost app. You can also get it for free through Credit.com’s Credit Report Card

How can you get your FICO scores?

You can get your FICO scores via a few methods. Many credit card companies and other lenders offer a monthly FICO score for free. Look for this in your online account or on your statement. 

28 FICO Scores – ExtraCredit+

If you want real-time access to more than one of your FICO scores, consider signing up for ExtraCredit. You can get access to all three of your credit bureau credit reports and 28 of your FICO scores. That way, when you’re ready to apply for any type of loan, you’re well-informed about your credit and won’t be surprised at what the lender sees when it runs your credit. 

Check Your Vantage Credit Score for Free

Of course, not every lender looks at FICO scores. Get a look at your VantageScore for free with the Credit Report Card.

Your Credit Matters—Get Informed Today

The more you know about your credit, the better you can protect it. Gather all information about your credit reports and scores so you can identify weak points in your credit history and build better credit for the future. 

    Get everything you need to master your credit today.
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