Why Are My Credit Scores Different?

Why Are My Credit Scores Different?

Credit scoring websites use different formulas and look at different aspects of your credit history to calculate your credit score, so each credit scoring website might give you a slightly different credit score based on their own criteria and methods. Also, keep in mind that the information these sites have might not be exactly the same. They might get their data from different sources or update it at different times, which can also affect your credit score. 

Your credit score is one of the primary factors lenders, renters, and other providers of various services look at when considering your application. Some people don’t realize that many applications run a hard inquiry on your credit, temporarily lowering your score. It’s beneficial to know your score before applying, but this raises the question, “Why is my credit score different when checking different credit sites?”

Understanding why your credit scores are different and where to find the most accurate score not only helps you limit how often you fill out credit applications but can also help you manage your financial health.

Today, we’ll discuss why your score differs, the difference between these scores, and how to know where you stand with your credit.

In This Piece:

Why Your Scores Are Different 

One of the primary reasons your credit scores are different is that there are three separate major credit bureaus. These bureaus are Experian®, Equifax®, and TransUnion®, and each has different scheduling and scoring models. The following are some of the most common situations that may cause your score to be different with each one:

  • Different reporting dates: Different credit scores may be due to the bureaus updating your score or receiving information about your credit report on different dates.
  • Different credit reports: Lenders and others that send information for your credit report may not send that information to all three bureaus. They may only send it to one or two.
  • Different scoring models: There are many different credit scoring models, and each one weighs aspects of your credit report differently.
3 reasons your credit scores are different

What Is a FICO® Credit Score?

The Fair Isaac Corporation was founded in 1956 and was the first company to design a scoring model that helped lenders assess the risk of lending money to a person. This scoring model became known as a FICO® score in the 1980s, and over 90 countries currently use it.

According to FICO, roughly 90% of all lenders use the FICO scoring model, which is why it’s an important score to keep track of. FICO uses five different factors to measure your financial health and credit experience that they convert into a three-digit credit score. At a glance, lenders and others who check your credit can see this score and get a rough idea of a person’s level of risk when it comes to borrowing.

Why Do I Have Different FICO Scores?

Each scoring model is updated regularly, and FICO currently has 10 different versions. The most common version is the FICO 8 model, but they also have industry-specific scores for when you’re looking to take out a loan for a vehicle or a mortgage.

The industry-specific scores will weigh aspects of your score differently. For example, your mortgage credit score vs. consumer credit score may differ if you have late mortgage payments or a foreclosure on your credit report. While these can lower your regular FICO 8 score, they may lower the mortgage-lending version of the score even more.

FICO vs. VantageScore

The other primary scoring model is VantageScore, and like FICO, there are different versions of the model. Currently, the VantageScore 3.0 model is the most common. The major credit bureaus founded VantageScore as a way to give consumers another opportunity to improve their credit scores. While VantageScore isn’t as common, some lenders may check it.

Both the FICO and VantageScore models weigh aspects of your credit report, but the factors and weight percentage differ slightly.

FICO Scoring Model

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Amounts owed: 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15%
  • Credit mix: 10%
  • New credit: 10%

The FICO scoring model looks at how well you make your monthly payments, your credit utilization, the age of your credit accounts, how many credit applications you submit, and how many types of credit you have.

The VantageScore 3.0 model names these factors slightly differently and has one additional factor for recent balances and payments.

VantageScore 3.0 Scoring Model

  • Payment history: 40%
  • Depth of credit: 21%
  • Utilization: 20%
  • Balances: 11%
  • Recent credit: 5%
  • Available credit: 3%

Comparing Credit Score Ranges

In addition to the different factors and how they’re weighted, FICO and VantageScore also have differing credit score ranges. The credit score range labels specific credit scores from very poor to excellent.

Credit Score Range

FICO

VantageScore

Exceptional/Excellent

800-850

781-850

Very good/Good

670-799

661-780

Fair

580-669

601-660

Poor

300-579

500-600

Very poor

N/A

300-499

FICO and VantageScore both range from 300 to 850, but VantageScore labels scores below 499 as “very poor” while FICO labels it “poor.” Another difference is FICO reserves scores above 800 for their “exceptional” tier, and the top scores for VantageScore are anything over 781.

FICO vs FantageScore Scoring Models

What Is the Most Common Credit Scoring Model?

Lenders use FICO more commonly than VantageScore, but you should regularly check both. People often wonder which scoring model is the best, but there’s no “best” model. Depending on your situation and where you’re looking to apply for credit or different types of loans, one of the scoring models may be more important than the other. By making your payments on time and keeping up with the other credit factors, you can increase your chances of approval regardless of the scoring model.

Why Both Credit Scores Matter

It’s hard to know which credit score a lender, renter, or other company will use when looking at your application. One of the best ways to relieve some worry about your different credit scores is to regularly monitor them for any changes. Credit monitoring allows you to stay on top of your credit score and can also help you catch any potential reporting errors sooner rather than later.

To monitor your credit, you can sign up for Credit.com’s ExtraCredit® service for credit monitoring, adding rent and utilities to your credit report, and much more. You can even receive a seven-day free trial to test it out. You can also get access to your free credit score to see exactly where you’re at, so sign up today!

Your 7 day trial will begin after agreeing to these terms and submitting  your ExtraCredit® sign-up. After your trial period, your subscription will automatically continue on the same day every month as the day you started your trial membership. The free trial is available for new ExtraCredit customers only. The credit card you provided will be charged $24.99 (plus any applicable tax) on the next business day and monthly; after your trial period unless you cancel. You may cancel at any time by downgrading your service level in your settings or by contacting us at support@credit.com. Dishonored payments will result in an automatic downgrade to the free credit.com product.

You Might Also Like

credit-score-isn't-improving
Waiting for your score to change? There are a few reasons why thi... Read More

June 4, 2024

Credit Score

is experian accurate
Experian is a credit reporting agency. It also offers consumer cr... Read More

March 7, 2023

Credit Score

A woman sits on a couch with her laptop in her lap.
Do you keep a close eye on your personal finances? Or maybe you... Read More

January 4, 2021

Credit Score