Different Scores with Different Bureaus: What’s the Deal?

When checking a credit report that displays all three credit bureaus (Transunion, Experian, and Equifax), you may notice that the three scores may be different. This leads to the inevitable question: Why is this and does it affect my chances of getting a good loan? 

First off, keep in mind that the credit bureaus do not calculate the scores themselves. Instead, they use FICO or VantageScore, which scans the history of your credit and puts it through a formula to create a score. The algorithm that calculates the score is an industry secret, so there’s no way to figure out exactly what counts as what. 

Credit Reporting

Every major creditor and furnisher reports to the credit bureaus in some way to keep track of the financial history of an individual consumer. However, not every company is the same, some may choose to only report to one or two bureaus instead of all of them. This is because these creditors have to pay the credit bureaus to report any financial information. 

What this means is that major credit card companies like American Express (AMEX) or Discover are more than willing to pay for the bureaus’ service and report to all three. However, smaller loaners and furnishers may only choose to report to one; e.g., AFFIRM only reports to Experian, meaning that scores may vary between each bureau because of the smaller companies.

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Some major creditors may report different information at different times. Depending on when the bureaus update their files, when the creditors report their information, and when the consumer pulls the credit report, it can all show lagging or out-of-date information.

Sometimes, some furnishers may not report all information if it’s not their priority to do so. Examples of this include authorized users. Authorized users are people who can use someone else’s line of credit, usually friends or family members. These authorized users will have their family member’s card appear on their credit report, but it may only report on one or two bureaus.

Another example of inconsistent reporting between all three bureaus is collection agencies. Sometimes, collection agencies will place a collection on a credit report (which hurts credit scores) to only some of the bureaus, depending on the agency. If you have any collection agencies coming after you, you may also have different scores between the three bureaus.

How to Fill in the Gaps

If you’re an authorized user on a trusted friend or family member’s credit card, you may want that card to report to all three bureaus to get the best, most accurate score possible. Sometimes, this is not the case; i.e., Chase Bank (JPMCB) may only report to two bureaus instead of three, which may cause inconsistencies depending on what information you give them.

You can always contact the bureau and the creditor to make sure they report to all three bureaus. You can also send a dispute letter to the bureaus with proof of the card, but be sure to contact the original card holder’s creditor as well.

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The Takeaway

Keep in mind that when creditors and furnishers check your credit history, they may only check one or two bureaus instead of all three. If you have a bad score with one bureau but a good score with another, you may get lucky if a furnisher pings your credit history with the good bureau. However, this may feel like gambling when it comes to getting the best loan possible. This is why it is important to make sure that all three bureaus have scores that are close to each other.

If you see that you have a low credit score on one bureau but not another , you can always contact us at Fix Your Credit Consulting. Call us at (877) 212-2450 for a free consultation from one of our professionals and to begin your journey to better credit.

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-212-2450!

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