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Why Do I Have So Many Different Credit Scores?

 

Consumers applying for credit are sometimes surprised to find out the credit score they have been tracking is different from the credit score the lenders use to evaluate their application. The truth is, there are many, many different credit scoring models.

A credit score is derived by inputting information from your credit history into a computer program. Three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, &  Experian – keep track of our credit history. Information on the 3 reports may be the same, but there are instances when a lender does not report to all 3 agencies. So the credit score may vary depending on which agencies’ reports are used.

In addition, different companies have developed different scoring models and different versions of their scoring models. Fair Isaac Corporation developed FICO scoring models. Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian formed a partnership to develop the Vantage scoring models.

FICO and Vantage offer many different versions of their scoring models. The different models are designed for evaluating applications for different types of loans – such as auto loans,  mortgages, or credit cards. Lenders may choose any of those scoring models or develop their own scoring model. Consumers are often provided free access to educational scoring models. The score on these models may not be the same as what the lender chooses to use, but they do provide education about   factors that impact your credit score.

Residents can receive free one-on-one financial education on basic personal finance topics such as credit scores, organizing finances, and achieving financial goals from Florida Master Money Mentor volunteers. Mentors will meet you at a community location at a time that fits your individual needs. This service is free and no products or services are sold or endorsed.

Any Hillsborough County resident who is interested in meeting with a Florida Master Money Mentor can email or call Lisa Leslie at lesliel@HCFLgov.net or  813-744-5519 ext. 54143.