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Why You Get Three Different Credit Scores

By George Hauser
Published: Sunday, November 1st, 2009

You should apply those credit report tips that tell you to check your credit score and report regularly. You can also purchase your own credit score from different online sources or directly from the bureaus when you need to check your credit standing. You can have a three-in-one credit score. As you might already know, there are three main credit bureaus which produce credit scores for consumers and creditors. Because of this, you might be shocked to see three different credit scores. 

True enough, understanding one credit score could already be confusing, and having to manage three seems to be impossible. However, there is still much importance in exerting extra effort in this particular venture. Your credit score, after all, is not just any three digit number, but one that has many functions in your financial life. 

One of the most useful credit score tips you should learn tells you to understand how you get three different credit scores. If you are completely aware of how this happens, you would not be confused. This is how you can have three completely different credit scores. 

Credit Scoring Model 

To begin with, the three credit bureaus make use of different scoring models. The most commonly purchased credit score by consumers is the FICO score. One of the three credit bureaus uses the FICO scoring model which produces score that range from 350-850. However, Equifax uses the term BEACON which means the credit score they sell to other businesses or creditors. 

The other two bureaus use their own scoring model which they have developed by themselves. Experian terms their score PLUS which ranges from 330-830, while TransUnion has EMPIRICA which is from 300-850. 

Credit Report Data

Most of the credit score tips tell you that you should pay attention to the contents of your credit report because most of the items there determine your credit score. This is true. However, each of the credit bureaus has different credit report data. The three bureaus gather data from you and other businesses independently. This means that they don’t share whatever information they have to one another. This could explain the variations across your scores. Also, your creditors are not required to update your report to all the three bureaus. Most of the time, they only report to one credit bureau. Therefore, your credit reports across the three bureaus may also look different. A credit bureau will make a credit score based on the information in its own credit files. 

What the lenders use

It is also important to know what your creditors use. This way, you can determine which among the three credit scores they use to approve or decline applications. There are credit score tips that can help you find out which your lenders use. Or, you can always try asking them yourself. However, it’s not all the time that they will disclose this. 

If you think you can ask your creditors to use a specific credit score, you are wrong. This is because most creditors already have established relationships with one or more of the three credit bureaus. Many credit score tips apply on the FICO score because this is what businesses most commonly use.

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