Why Do I Have So Many Totally different Credit score Scores?

The credit score rating: a deceptively easy three-digit quantity that may dictate or impression your monetary life in a wide range of significant methods, from with the ability to hire a house or open a utility account as to whether or not you might be permitted for a bank card or which mortgage fee you qualify for. Given their significance within the American monetary system, it is sensible that understanding and enhancing your credit score rating is a purpose for a lot of. Nevertheless it’s simple to get intimidated or disheartened by what can appear to be vast discrepancies or inexplicable modifications in that rating. What drives this? Let’s dig in somewhat to interrupt down variations in your credit score scores and why they exist.  


First, crucially: opposite to what many consider, there isn’t any ONE, particular person right credit score rating for a person. Everybody has a wide range of totally different scores at any given time, given the various various factors that make up your varied scores. Let’s break down the totally different elements that may have an effect on your credit score rating, the credit score bureau knowledge, the credit score scoring mannequin and model, and the way your rating will get up to date.

The credit score bureau knowledge being utilized

Behind each credit score rating is a credit score report, a set of historic knowledge in your previous credit score and lending exercise. This consists of credit score accounts (each open and closed), your cost historical past for every, and any adverse marks, which might embrace late or missed funds, collections, or charged-off and closed accounts.  The three predominant suppliers of credit score reviews within the US are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. 

Whereas many purchasers may even see their credit score reviews trying fairly related throughout the three bureaus, they’ll differ. If previous lenders have despatched your utility, account, or cost knowledge to just one or two of the three predominant bureaus, that knowledge might differ in a approach that would meaningfully impression your rating.

You possibly can entry your TransUnion credit score report free of charge on Mint, in addition to being entitled to 1 free credit score report per bureau per yr by way of

The credit score rating mannequin

A credit score rating mannequin applies an algorithm to the underlying credit score report knowledge, leading to that well-known three-digit rating. There are two predominant credit score rating fashions at present broadly accessible within the US: FICO and VantageScore. We’ll dig into the key variations under in only a minute!

The mannequin model

Including to the complexity, each main mannequin suppliers have totally different variations of their scoring fashions, which might considerably impression the rating output! 

FICO gives totally different fashions for mortgage, auto, and credit score selections. For the credit score variations, which lenders are seemingly to make use of for merchandise like bank cards and private loans, the latest mannequin model is FICO Rating 9.

VantageScore lately rolled out VantageScore 4.0, following its profitable 3.0 mannequin.

The dates of current updates

Lastly, the date(s) on which your lenders ship updates to the credit score bureaus, in addition to the dates on which your rating is refreshed, can impression your rating quickly. A credit score rating, no less than for now, is a point-in-time snapshot of your credit score threat versus a real-time replace. 

Usually, lenders ship an replace together with your excellent steadiness and up to date cost document to the credit score bureaus about as soon as each ~30 days. Think about you do a bunch of vacation procuring sooner or later and practically max out your bank card, and the following day your lender updates the bureaus together with your excessive steadiness. Your subsequent credit score rating replace might drop attributable to larger utilization, even in the event you paid it off a couple of days later. To not fear: this needs to be resolved with the following replace after your steadiness is paid off. 

Moreover, the date your credit score rating is up to date will impression whether or not or not lately obtained updates have but to be factored into your rating.

In abstract: your rating can fluctuate, generally considerably relying in your accessible credit score and your balances/excellent debt on the time limit that updates are despatched to the lender. Making a number of funds per 30 days, particularly after giant purchases, might help cut back these swings.

Now that you simply perceive why it’s potential to have a big number of credit score scores directly, let’s dig into the variations between the primary fashions. 


The VantageScore mannequin was based in 2006 in partnership between the three main credit score bureaus, with the purpose of introducing competitors to the credit score rating market and increasing entry to credit score for customers underserved by conventional credit score fashions.  Whereas the brand new VantageScore 4.0 simply rolled out, Mint, Credit score Karma, and lots of different corporations are offering hundreds of thousands of customers with entry to their free TransUnion 3.0 credit score rating.

The primary components in your VantageScore 3.0 credit score rating are:

  • Fee historical past: about 40%
  • Credit score age and blend: about 21%
  • Credit score utilization: about 20%
  • Balances: about 11%
  • Latest credit score purposes: about 5%
  • Out there credit score: about 3%


There are a lot of similarities between the VantageScore and FICO scoring fashions. Each rating customers on a 300-850 scale, and each place the very best significance on cost historical past and credit score utilization because the strongest predictors of credit score threat. 

Typically, FICO credit score fashions group your credit score report knowledge into 5 classes, with the next weight:

  • Fee historical past (35%)
  • Quantities owed (30%)
  • Size of credit score historical past (15%)
  • New credit score (10%)
  • Credit score combine (10%)

Whereas the elements of each credit score scoring fashions are related, the weighting differs barely, together with another features of the rating. These with restricted credit score historical past might discover that they don’t have a FICO rating, however do have a VantageScore: whereas FICO requires six months of credit score historical past to ascertain a rating, a VantageScore could also be generated with as little as one month of information.

For individuals who have accounts previously in collections which have been paid off in full, VantageScore will show extra forgiving: VantageScore ignores paid off accounts in collections within the computed credit score rating, not like most variations of the FICO scoring fashions. The most recent mannequin, FICO 9, will equally be ignoring these paid-off accounts.


Whereas credit score scores – and, particularly, the quite a few totally different scores you could encounter – might be complicated, they’re an extremely useful software to know your personal monetary well being and indicators which will play a task in figuring out whether or not you may be granted entry to new credit score from a lender. As securing credit score can play a significant position in vital life objectives for many individuals, whether or not shopping for a automobile, a house, or financing training, it’s essential to know your rating and how one can enhance it. To see your rating on Mint and obtain personalised insights have a look right here!  


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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