Different Credit Bureaus Offer Different Credit Score. Find Out More.
Which credit score to buy? Which credit bureau offers what credit score? Where can you get your FICO credit score? Which is the best credit score to use?
All these questions plague the minds of someone trying to get his hands on his credit score. Read this article in its entirety to understand the different credit scores available to you and which credit bureau uses what credit scoring model.
There is a lot of confusion in the minds regarding their credit scores, at least the first time that they are trying to access it. While at one point of time there used to be only the FICO credit score, there are now many credit scores in use. When you look for your credit score you are presented with credit scores from 4 main sources,
- The 3 credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
- And myFICO.com.
Compounding this problem is that fact that things keep changing as well. When a certain credit bureau could have been giving you your FICO credit score earlier, they may be only giving you their specialized score now. So before you order or buy your credit score, or get your score for free as a part of some trial program, you should know the difference between all the credit scores being offered from various sources and which credit score you get where.
Mostly, all websites will offer you your 3 credit scores. The question is which ones are they?
Always remember, for any one credit scoring model, you will have 3 different credit scores depending on the different information in each of your credit file with 3 credit bureaus. This is why you can see the offers for 3 credit scores on the websites.
FICO Credit Score
Let us start with the FICO credit score first. This is perhaps the most widely used credit score even today. Majority of lenders use this. At one time this was the ONLY credit score to be had. The first thing to understand about the FICO credit score is that you have 3 DIFFERENT FICO CREDIT SCORES. Each FICO score is based on information in your credit file from each credit bureau.
You have three FICO scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you So, in a nut shell you have:
- Equifax FICO Score
- Experian FICO Score and
- TransUnion FICO Score.
All of these 3 can be had by visiting www.myFICO.com
FICO scores are also known by different names across different credit bureaus.
Other Names for FICO Scores
FICO scores have different names at each of the credit reporting agencies. All of these scores, however, are developed using the same methods by Fair Isaac.
Equifax – BEACON® Score
Experian – Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model
TransUnion – EMPIRICA®
For your three FICO scores to be calculated, each of your three credit reports must contain at least one account which has been open for at least six months. In addition, each report must contain at least one account that has been updated in the past six months. This ensures that there is enough information – and enough recent information – in your report on which to base a FICO score on each report.
What You Should Know About the FICO Credit Score
Credit bureau scores are not the only scores used. Many lenders use their own credit scores, which often will include the FICO score as well as other information about you. FICO scores are not the only credit bureau scores.
There are other credit bureau scores, although FICO scores are by far the most commonly used. Other credit bureau scores may evaluate your credit report differently than FICO scores, and in some cases a higher score may mean more risk, not less risk as with FICO scores.
Your credit score may be different at each of the main credit reporting agencies. The FICO score from each credit reporting agency considers only the data in your credit report at that agency. If your current scores from the credit reporting agencies are different, it’s probably because the information those agencies have on you differs.
Your FICO score changes over time. As your data changes at the credit reporting agency, so will any new credit score based on your credit report. So your FICO score from a month ago is probably not the same score a lender would get from the credit reporting agency today.
Let us move on to other credit score that you usually get from the credit bureaus.
Equifax Credit Score
The credit score provided under the offers described on the website of Equifax make use of the Equifax Credit Score™ which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. It may be calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. This score is intended for your own educational use. There are numerous credit scores and models available in the marketplace and lenders are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness.
Experian Credit Score
The PLUS Score, with scores ranging from 330 to 830, is a user-friendly credit score model developed by Experian to help you see and understand how lenders view your credit worthiness. It is not used by lenders, but it is indicative of your overall credit risk. Higher scores represent a greater likelihood that you’ll pay back your debts so you are viewed as being a lower credit risk to lenders. A lower score indicates to lenders that you may be a higher credit risk.
TransUnion Credit Score
TransUnion also gives you a free credit score trial from all 3 credit bureaus. It gives you a credit score that is known as VantageScore.
What is the VantageScore credit score?
The big three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, offer their own proprietary models but usually provide the FICO score to lenders. So they created the VantageScore model to create a consistent credit score model across the three bureaus to compete with the FICO score. Thus, they can offer lenders a more “standardized” score from the bureaus and cut out the Fair Isaacs Company.
Comparison / Difference Between VantageScore and FICO
- Score range is from 501 to 990
- VantageScore uses letter grades to spell out your credit health: 901-990 = A or Super Prime, 801-900 = B or Prime Plus, 701-800 = C or Prime, 601-700 = D or Non-Prime, and 501-600 = F or High Risk.
- Takes into account 6 components of your credit report: payment history, utilization, balances, depth of credit, recent credit, and available credit.
- VantageScore claims to score thin file consumers more accurately by providing predicative scores for consumers with limited histories
VantageScore is based primarily on the last 24 months of actions on a consumer’s credit file. Always remember that any credit score model will give you 3 different credit scores across the 3 credit bureaus depending on the different information present on your credit file with each of them.
FICO Credit Score
- FICO range is from 300 to 850 No letter grades for FICO
- Takes into account 5 components of credit report: payment history, amount of debt, credit history, types of accounts, and inquiries.
- Thin file consumers often cannot generate a credit score at all, or are scored with inflated, high scores because they have few credit actions on file
Credit Karma provides users with their TransRisk New Account Score, VantageScore, and Auto Insurance Score as supplied by TransUnion. The TransRisk score is calculated by TransUnion using their proprietary scoring model and is the original credit score provided on Credit Karma.
The VantageScore is calculated by TransUnion using the VantageScore model, developed jointly by all three major credit bureaus. This model introduces the first, consistent scoring methodology shared by all three bureaus. The Auto Insurance Score is a numerical measurement of the risk a consumer may pose to an insurance company. This score is calculated from data derived from a consumer’s credit report.