Why Are My Fico Scores Different For The 3 Credit Bureaus
In the U.S., there are three national credit bureaus that compete to capture, update and store credit histories on most U.S. consumers. While most of the information collected on consumers by the three credit bureaus is similar, there are differences. For example, one credit bureau may have unique information captured on a consumer that is not being captured by the other two, or the same data element may be stored or displayed differently by the credit bureaus.
A predictive FICO scoring system resides at each of these credit bureaus from which lenders request a FICO Score when evaluating a particular consumer’s credit risk. The FICO scoring system design is similar across the credit bureaus so that consumers with high FICO Scores on bureau “A’s” data will likely see a similarly high FICO Score at the other two bureaus. Conversely consumers with lower FICO scores at bureau “A” will likely get low FICO Scores at the other two bureaus when the underlying data is the same across the bureaus.
When the scores are significantly different across bureaus, it is likely the underlying data in the credit bureaus is different and thus driving that observed score difference. However, there can be score differences even when the underlying data is identical as each of the bureau’s FICO scoring system was designed to optimize the predictive value of their unique data.
Keep in mind the following points when comparing scores across bureaus:
Estimate your FICO Score range
Fico Vs Vantagescore: Which Is Better
VantageScore and FICO are both software programs that are used to calculate credit ratings based on consumers’ spending and payment history. FICO, for Fair Isaac Corp., is the older and better-known model, having been introduced in 1989. VantageScore, released in 2006, was developed by the three leading consumer credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Because they are different models, your VantageScore will inevitably be a little different from your FICO score. For that matter, you may get a different FICO score from various sources at any given time, depending on whether the source uses a specialized variety of FICO or the most-often-used base model, and which of its many versions is used.
The key point is, your score should be in the same range on any or all of those models. You should not have a “good” VantageScore and only a “fair” FICO score.
What Is A Fico Score And How Does It Work
9 Minute Read | September 21, 2021
Youve been playing the game for years now. Youve had it for so long, its almost like a buddy. You live and breathe by those three life-altering digits.;
Thats rightwere talking about your credit score. And its time to start thinking about it in a whole new light.
But what is a FICO score anyway? What is this thing youve allowed to rule your life? And when did everyone start using it as the ultimate gauge of how successful you are? Its time to break down everything you need to know about the FICO score.;
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Fico Scores Are The Most Widely Used Credit Scoring Model
FICO is perhaps the most recognizable name in . The Fair Isaac Corporation , which developed the FICO algorithm, says its scores are used by 90% of top U.S. lenders in more than 90% of lending decisions. There are currently several types of FICO scores available. The most widely used model is FICO 8, though the company has also created FICO 9 and FICO 10 Suite, which consists of FICO 10 and FICO 10T. There are also older versions of the score that are still used in specific lending scenarios, such as for mortgages and car loans.;
What Affects Your Fico Score
While FICO doesnt reveal its scoring formula, it gives useful guidelines about the factors that matter for scores.;As you can see, paying on time and keeping balances low account for about two-thirds of your score:
Payment history :;Late payments can really hurt your score, as can accounts in collections or a bankruptcy.
Amount of debt relative to credit limits :;This is how much of your available credit you are using the less, the better for your score.
Age of credit : This refers to how long youve had credit and the average age of your credit accounts.
Recent applications for credit : A so-called hard inquiry when you apply for new credit can nick your score for up to six months.
Whether you have more than one type of credit :Having both installment loans and revolving credit can help your score.
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Why Do I Have Different Fico Scores
As mentioned above, FICO® creates different FICO® Score models to work with each credit bureau’s credit reports. And, FICO® periodically releases new FICO® Score models to incorporate changing consumer behavior, new regulations and technological advances. Because not all lenders and businesses use the same scoring models or versions, you may have severalor even hundredsof credit scores.
For example, the FICO® 10 T score is a variation of the FICO® Score 10, the latest version of the company’s base scoring model. It’s the first FICO® Score to consider trended dataa look at how you’ve managed accounts over the past 24 months. But lenders may use older models, such as the FICO® Score 8 or FICO® Score 9or even older versionswhen determining whether to approve a loan or credit card application. Or they may choose to use one of VantageScore’s credit scoring models, such as its most recent 3.0 and 4.0 versions.
FICO®’s base scores aren’t intended for a specific type of lender or loan. But FICO® also creates industry-specific scores for auto lenders and credit card issuers. These models build on top of a base model to give creditors in that industry a more tailored score, which ranges from 250 to 900.
Will Closing A Credit Card Account Impact My Fico Score
It is possible that closing a credit account may have a negative impact depending on a few factors. FICO® Scores may consider your credit utilization rate, which looks at your total used credit in relation to your total available credit. Essentially, it measures how much of your available credit you are actually using. The more of your credit that you use, the higher your utilization rate and high credit utilization rates may negatively impact your FICO® Score. Before you close any credit card account, Wells Fargo recommends that you should first consider whether you really need to close the account or if your real intention is just to stop using that credit card. If you really just want to stop using that card, it may make sense if you stop using the card and put it somewhere for safe keeping in case of an emergency. Its also important to note that length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO® Score calculation. Therefore, having credit card accounts that are open and in good standing for a long time may affect your FICO® Score.
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How Does Fico Differ From Other Credit Score Models
VantageScore is another popular credit scoring model. Like FICO, VantageScore 3.0 grades credit on a 300 to 850 point scale and takes credit utilization, credit inquiries, and on-time payments into account. However, the two models differ in a few ways, with one major difference. FICO penalizes all late payments the same way, while VantageScore penalizes late mortgage payments higher than other late payments.
FICO and VantageScore also differ in how they handle combining similar credit inquiries. With FICO, you have a 45 day grace period where similar credit inquiries for auto loans, mortgages, and student loans are combined into one inquiry. VantageScore gives you a smaller 14 day grace period, which can make comparison shopping for loans harder.
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Ways To Improve Your Credit Score
Whether youre looking to boost your FICO Score or VantageScore, these steps can help build credit:
- Pay on time every time. Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO Score and 41% of your VantageScore, making it the most important factor in building good credit.
- Keep your revolving balances low. How much of your credit limit youre using is called utilization, which accounts for 30% of your FICO Score. Its important for your VantageScore as well, weighing in at 20%. Financial experts advise keeping balances well below 30% of your credit limits.
- Apply for new cards infrequently. While this wont weigh as heavily as your payment history and your utilization, its still wise to apply for new credit sparingly. The older the average age of your accounts, the better for your score and each time you open up a new card, it reduces that average age. Plus, credit card applications typically generate a hard inquiry, which will hurt your credit score approximately five to 10 points.
Note that the amount of time it takes before a mark falls off your credit reports varies for different actions. For example, if you apply for a new credit card and it generates a hard inquiry, your score should recover in a year and the inquiry will fall off your reports after two years. By contrast, a late payment can stay on your reports for seven years, even after youve paid it off.
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What Are The Types Of Fico Scores
When we talk FICO, a lot of people assume theres only one score. But thats not really the case. Truth be told, there are actually a few different types of scores with different scoring ranges.;
Base FICO score: 300850
Youre probably most familiar with the base FICO score. This is the number that usually gets pulled when you apply for a credit card or loan. This score looks at all the different types of debts youve ever had and your history paying on them.;
Industry-specific FICO score: 250900
This one is just like it sounds: Its a credit score that applies directly to the industry youre looking at. Did you know there are specific credit scores for auto loans that are actually different than an overall FICO score? Yep, its true. They use the base type of credit score and then build another one that says how credit-worthy you are just for a car loan. Crazy stuff, right?
UltraFICO score: Can raise your overall score by 20 points
You might have heard, but we have some really strong thoughts when it comes to the UltraFICO score. In a nutshell, the UltraFICO score is designed to boost the credit score of people who already have a low score. These are people who might have trouble paying back a loan or keeping up with their credit card payments.;
Taking advantage of people who are already struggling and trying to dish out more debt to them? Thats ridiculous!
Check Your Fico Score For Free
While there are newer FICO® Score versions available, FICO® Score 8 remains one of the most widely used versions. Partially, this is because lenders need to invest time and money into switching to a new scoring model. You can check your FICO® Score 8 based on your Experian credit report for free online. You’ll also learn about which factors are most helping or hurting your scores and can track your score over time.
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Can I Expect The Fico Score Version I Receive From Wells Fargo To Change
FICO® periodically updates its scoring models and Wells Fargo may choose to upgrade to a more updated score version. If this happens, we’ll notify you when a change to the score version change occurs. You can locate the score version on your FICO® Score display. It is listed directly below the score and rating.
I Opted In But It Says No Score Is Available Why
The most common reasons a score may not be available:
- The credit report may not have enough information to generate a FICO® Score
- The credit bureau wasnt able to completely match your identity to your Wells Fargo Online® information. To keep your information current, sign on to Wells Fargo Online®, visit the Profile and Settings menu, select My Profile and then Update Contact Information. Make sure your email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses are current.
- If you’ve frozen your credit with the credit bureau, you may not immediately receive a credit score. A score should become available for you to view after the next monthly update. Contact Experian® with further questions.
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The Significance Of Late Payments
A history of late payments impacts both your FICO score and your VantageScore. Both models consider the following.
- How recently the last late payment occurred
- How many of your accounts have had late payments
- How many payments youve missed on an account
FICO treats all late payments the same. VantageScore judges them differently. VantageScore applies a larger penalty for late mortgage payments than for other types of credit payments.
Because FICO has indicated that it factors late payments more heavily than VantageScore, late payments on any of your accounts might cause you to have lower FICO scores than your VantageScores.
Who And What Is A Credit Bureau
Now that you know a bit more about FICO, let’s take a look at the 3 major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Lenders report to these three credit bureaus and the credit bureaus compile information about a consumer’s borrowing habits. The credit bureaus create reports that are based on this information called “credit reports.” The reports organize the borrowing information into different categories: accounts that are in “good standing”, “bad standing” and other categories such as bankruptcies. We call this organized borrowing information “credit report data.”
Creditors typically use the information from these reports, FICO Scores, and other financial data to gauge a borrower’s risk.
Each bureau collects or stores borrower information a little differently, so you can expect that your credit report data at one bureau could be different than your credit report data at another bureau. This is a reason why your FICO Score can be different for each bureau. If the underlying credit report data is different, your score will likely be different.
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What Was New With Fico Score 9
While the underlying foundation of FICO Score 9 is consistent with previous versions, there are several unique features that make up FICO Score 9:
- Any third-party collections that have been paid off no longer have a negative impact.
- Medical collections are treated differently than other types of debt. Unpaid medical collections will have less of a negative impact on FICO Score 9.
- Rental history, when it’s reported, factors into the score. This may be especially beneficial for people with a limited credit history.
What Are Fico 10 And Fico 10t
FICO 10 and FICO 10T are new credit scoring models announced in 2020. FICO says the FICO Credit Score 10 Suite is designed to be its most predictive scoring model yet, giving lenders a more precise picture of someones credit risk.;FICO 10 and FICO 10T still follow the same basic FICO algorithm that focuses on payment history, credit utilization, credit age, credit mix, and credit inquiries. What makes FICO 10T different is the use of trended data.
Trended data looks at a persons credit patterns for the previous 24 months or longer. It takes into account things such as whether you carry a balance on your credit cards from month to month or always pay in full, and whether youve consolidated debts at any point during that time period.;
The company expects FICO 10 and FICO 10T to eventually overtake FICO 8 as the most popular scoring models.
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Fico Vs Vantagescore: Why Your Credit Score Differs Depending On The Source
Have you ever checked your credit score for free on a site such as or Mint, only to find out from a credit card company or car dealership that your real score is actually much lower?
Thats because the provided by free services are considered educational. The score that most lenders see is your FICO score, which is calculated differently and often costs money to access.
Thats nothing new, but it appears the internet at large just found out. And as usual, Twitter users have the best response.
Me waiting for my approval for a car after looking on credit Karma:
So why is your credit score different depending on the source? Heres a closer look at where credit scores come from, how theyre calculated and which one you should care about.
Fico Scores Are Commonly Used By Lenders To Assess Your Credit Risk But Other Credit Scores Can Also Give You A Good Idea Of Where You Stand
In other words, your FICO® scores are just one;type of credit score;you can get. This is because FICO is a company that creates specific scoring models;used to calculate your scores. But there are other companies that use different;scoring models;to determine your;credit scores, too.
VantageScore is an example of one of these companies. Both FICO and VantageScore offer credit-scoring models;to evaluate the information in your;credit reports;and issue a corresponding;credit score. These;scoring models;evaluate many of the same factors when looking at your;credit reports;and calculating your scores, but they differ very slightly.
Thats why you may see different credit scores depending on which scoring model is used. Your scores can also differ depending on;which consumer credit bureau report; Equifax, Experian or TransUnion the scoring model pulls your information from.
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