Why Do I Have So Many Different Credit Scores?


    Creditworthiness: a deceptively simple three-digit number that can determine or affect your financial life in a variety of ways, from being able to rent a home or opening a utility account to whether or not you are approved for a credit card what mortgage rate you qualify for. Given its importance in the American financial system, it makes sense that understanding and improving your credit score is a goal for many. But it’s easy to be intimidated or discouraged when it comes to large discrepancies or inexplicable changes in that score. What’s that driving? Let’s go a little deeper to break down the differences in your credit scores and why they exist.


    Firstly, crucially: Contrary to what many believe, there is no single correct individual creditworthiness for a person. Everyone has a myriad of different scores at any given time, given the many different factors that make up your different scores. Let’s break down the various components that can affect your credit score, the credit bureaus, credit rating model and version, and how your rating will be updated.

    The credit agency data used

    Behind every credit score is a credit report, a series of historical data about your credit and credit activity in the past. This includes credit accounts (both open and closed), your payment history for each, and any negative marks which may include late or missed payments, collections, or debited and closed accounts. The top three credit report providers in the United States are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

    While many customers will see their credit reports look pretty similar across the three offices, they may be different. If previous lenders only sent your application, account, or payment information to one or two of the three main offices, that information may differ in ways that could significantly affect your score.

    You can access your credit report from TransUnion free of charge on Mint and you are entitled to a free credit report per office and year www.annualcreditreport.com.

    The credit score model

    A credit score model applies an algorithm to the underlying credit report data, resulting in this famous three-digit score. Two main credit score models are currently widely used in the United States: FICO and VantageScore. We’ll cover the main differences in a minute!

    The model version

    To make matters worse, the two major model providers have different versions of their rating models, which can have a significant impact on the rating output!

    FICO offers a variety of models for making mortgage, auto, and credit decisions. Among the versions of credit that lenders are likely to use on products such as credit cards and personal loans, the latest version of the model is FICO Score 9.

    VantageScore recently introduced VantageScore 4.0 after its successful 3.0 model.

    The dates of the last updates

    Finally, the dates your lenders send updates to the credit bureaus, as well as the dates your score is updated, can temporarily affect your score. A credit score is, for now at least, a snapshot of your credit risk versus a real-time update.

    Generally, lenders send an update to their credit bureaus about every 30 days with your outstanding balance and updated payment records. Imagine doing a ton of Christmas shopping one day and running out of credit on your credit card, and the next day your lender is updating the offices with your large balance. Your next credit update could go down due to a higher load, even if you paid it off a few days later. Don’t worry: this should be fixed in the next update after your credit has been paid out.

    In addition, the date on which your credit score is updated will have an impact on whether or not any recently received updates need to be included in your rating.

    In summary, your score can fluctuate, sometimes greatly depending on your available funds and balances / outstanding debts at the time the updates are submitted to the lender. Multiple payments per month, especially after large purchases, can help reduce these fluctuations.

    Now that you understand why it is possible to have a variety of credit scores at the same time, let’s examine the differences between the main models.


    The VantageScore model was created in 2006 as a collaboration between the three major credit reporting agencies with the aim of creating competition in the credit rating market and expanding access to credit for consumers who are underserved by traditional credit models. While the new VantageScore 4.0 has just been launched, Mint, Credit Karma, and many other companies are offering millions of consumers access to their free TransUnion 3.0 credit score.

    The main factors driving your VantageScore 3.0 credit score are:

    • Payment history: approx. 40%
    • Credit age and mix: approx. 21%
    • Loan utilization: approx. 20%
    • Credit: approx. 11%
    • Current loan applications: approx. 5%
    • Available credit: approx. 3%


    There are many similarities between the VantageScore and FICO scoring models. Both rate consumers on a scale from 300 to 850, and both rate payment behavior and credit utilization as the strongest predictors of credit risk.

    In general, FICO credit models group your credit report data into five categories with the following weighting:

    • Payment history (35%)
    • Amounts owed (30%)
    • Loan History Duration (15%)
    • New credit (10%)
    • Credit mix (10%)

    While the components of both credit scoring models are similar, the weighting differs slightly, along with some other aspects of the score. Those with limited credit history may find they don’t have a FICO score, but they do have a VantageScore: While FICO takes six months of credit history to create a score, a VantageScore can be generated with just one month of data.

    For those who have accounts in collections that have previously been fully paid off, VantageScore will prove to be more lenient: VantageScore, unlike most versions of the FICO scoring models, ignores paid accounts in collections in the calculated credit score. The newest model, FICO 9, will also ignore these paid accounts.


    While creditworthiness – and especially the many different values ​​you may encounter – can be confusing, they are an incredibly helpful tool for understanding your own financial health and indicators that can play a role in determining whether or not you have access to new ones Loans are obtained from a lender. Because loan protection can play an important role in important life goals for many people, whether it’s buying a car, a home, or financing an education, understanding your score and how you can improve it is important. To see your score on Mint and get personalized insights, take a look here!


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here