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How can a credit score from TransUnion and Experian be 50 points different?

There are several reasons why this can happen. One is that the information in the reports may be different. Lenders aren’t required to report information to the credit reporting companies. Those that do report may choose to report to only one or two of the credit reporting companies. If there is an item on one report that is not on the other, the credit scores will be different as a result.

A more likely reason is that the scores themselves are simply different. There are many different credit scores from a variety of different companies. There are different scores for different types of lenders and different types of lending, and what are called “generic” scores, that are used for a range of lending and business risk management.

Different models may have different score ranges, or scales. So, even if you get two different numbers, they likely mean the same thing in terms of credit risk. For example, a score of 700 on a scale that goes up to 850 might indicate the same lending risk as a 760 on a scale that goes up to 990, so your credit score would likely not be the same on both.

Finally, it could simply be an issue of timing. For example, if there was an account balance that was updated on one report but had not yet been updated on the other, the variation could also cause the scores to be different, even if exactly the same credit score is used

When you get two different scores, set the numbers aside and look at the description you should have received that explains what the numbers mean in terms of credit risk. If both say the same thing — we hope “excellent” – then they both show the same level of credit risk even though the numbers are different.

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Scoped on: 04/21/2016

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