Here’s Why You Have All Those Different Credit Scores


willfrazierScoring models mix things up

So you go to pull your credit report on credit karma to see your score it says you have a 680.

You also have credit monitoring that you pay for (smart decision) to keep up with your credit report and that says your 3 scores are 625 with Experian (EX), 650 with Equifax (EQ), and 692 with TransUnion (TU).

You go to the car dealership and they say your score is a 642 and you also apply for a mortgage and they say your score is a 600.

So you’re probably wondering why is your score different everywhere you check it.

To explain this, you need to know where is the source of the score that matters. That is your FICO score.

Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) was founded in 1956 and they introduced the first score calculation that could predict a person’s likelihood to default on a loan withing the next two years. The FICO scores range from 300 – 850.

So the FICO score is the true score that matters!

No one knows the exact metrics FICO uses to calculate their scores, there is only a little information available about how different behaviors affect your score.

So what are those other scores you see? The three credit bureaus EX, EQ, and TU have each created their own calculations that closely simulate the FICO score based on metrics they found important. They also have different score ranges compared to FICO.

So when you pull your credit score yourself you are likely getting a simulation of your FICO score but not exactly the same score. It is important to note you do not get an inquiry for these.

When you go to a lender for a personal loan, credit card, mortgage, or car loan they actually get to pull your FICO score. You do get an inquiry on your credit report for these.

If I haven’t confused you enough already wait until you hear this.

While the FICO score is your important score you should know that there are 49 different versions of it. The version a lender sees depends on what you are applying for.

If you apply for a mortgage there is a FICO mortgage score, if you apply for a credit card there is a FICO bankcard score, if you apply for a car loan there is a FICO auto score.

To conclude, no matter where you obtain it from you are likely to see a different score depending on the source. Know that the FICO score is what most lenders will use to approve you but you should still use those score simulations from credit monitoring to keep up with your report and score.


William Frazier

NACC Certified Credit Counsilor

Clean Slate Credit