Understanding Credit

You just checked your credit score, and you’re feeling pretty good about it. Great, even. You’re confidently applying for that credit line you’ve been considering, and you’re sure you’re going to get a sweet deal on your rates. All of a sudden, you check in on your credit score only to see a whole different score – one that’s nearly 20 points lower!

What’s going on? Did you make a mistake? Did they? And what happened to the score you saw a few months ago?

Don’t worry – seeing different credit scores from different sources is normal. Here’s why:

Different Credit Bureaus

Lenders use three main credit bureaus to check a borrower’s credit: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Because the three don’t share information, they might be calculating your scores based on different information. So, the credit bureau your score came from might not be the same credit bureau your lender is using.

Different Scoring Models

There are multiple credit scoring models, like FICO and VantageScore to name a few, and multiple versions of each model (there are 16 versions of FICO score alone). Each model weighs your credit score factors differently to determine where your score ranks.

Tip: Check all three versions of your credit report to make sure there aren’t any errors that need correcting. If you find something wrong on your credit report, you can work with the bureau to get the issue resolved.

Different Timing

When you checked your credit score two months ago, everything seemed fine. However, that was two months ago, and your lender pulled your score this week. Credit scores typically update every 30 days, but the different agencies/models don’t update in sync with each other. Plus, a lot of things can impact your score in just 30 days – and lenders could have delays in reporting.

So, what do I do?

It seems really overwhelming to know all the different factors that can impact your credit score. But don’t worry – knowing what to expect when you apply for credit can help you prepare.  Before applying, just ask your intended lender what model they’ll use to evaluate you.

In meantime, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your credit report for free with Best Egg Financial Health.  You can log in monthly to check your credit report and monitor your score progress.


October 25, 2022


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