Why Are There 3 Different Credit Score?

Financial expert Robert Palmer answers a listeners question on why consumers have 3 different credit scores and which one is most important.


Why are there 3 credit scores?

“Let me give you the basics on credit scoring. There are three credit bureaus; there’s Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. These are the repositories. They hold the data.

So what happens is, all of your credit card companies, car loan companies, mortgage loan companies- every month they send a burst to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian giving them your history. So, basically all they do is gather that data and they sit on it.

Then there’s a different company called FICO, that calculates the FICO Score which is the one lenders use. ┬áSo what happens is, your credit file gets bounced from Experian over to FICO and they generate a score. Your Equifax file gets bounced over to FICO and they generate a second score.

Should each credit score be the same?

“No, because different people report to different bureaus. Some lenders only report to one or two. Some report to all three. Lenders usually get all three numbers and pick the middle of the three. For buying a home, they pick the middle of the three. Some lenders, like some credit card companies, will only pick Equifax. Equifax is suppose to be the most accurate for the Southeast US. So some companies will only pull Equifax. Some only pull TransUnion. Mortgage companies, most car lenders, pull all three. So it’s important to know what they all are.”

Learn more about credit:
To learn more about improving your credit, visit our credit score or credit cards page.