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Why are FICO scores different for 3 credit bureaus?

July 10th, 2019 6:38 PM by Sam Kader

While most of the information collected on consumers by three credit bureaus is similar, there are differences. One credit bureau may have unique information captured on a consumer that is not being captured by the other two credit bureaus or the same data element may be stored or displaced differently by the credit bureaus. 

The FICO scoring system design is similar across the credit bureaus such that consumers with high FICO score on bureau "A" data will likely see a similar high FICO score at the other two bureaus.  When comparing scores across 3 different credit bureaus - there are differences due to the following: 

  1. Not all credit scores are "FICO" scores. Make sure that the credit scores you are comparing are actual FICO scores provided from legitimate sources. 
  2. The FICO scores should be compared at the same time. The passage of time can result in score differences due to model characteristics that have a time based component. Comparing a FICO score pulled on bureau "A" last week to a score pulled on bureau "B" today can be problematic as the "week-old-score" may already be dated. 
  3. All of your credit information may not be posted to all three credit bureaus. The information on your credit report is supplied by lenders, collection agencies and court records.  Don't assume that each credit bureau has the same information pertaining to your credit history. 
  4. You may have applied for credit under different names which may cause fragmented or incomplete files at the credit reporting agencies. There may be instances where incomplete files or inaccurate data such as Social Security numbers, addresses, etc cause one's credit information to appear on someone else' credit report. 
  5. Lenders report credit information to the credit bureaus at different times often resulting in one agency having more up-to-date information than another. 
  6. The credit bureaus may record, display or store the same information in different ways. 


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