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Different Credit Scores: Why Changes Appear

When it comes to credit and your finances, knowing where you stand can help you make better decisions that can impact you for years to come. Your credit scores can provide an indication of how lenders and others may view your credit when you apply.

By checking your credit report and scores regularly, you’ll gain a solid understanding of how credit is dynamic—moving in accordance with your credit behaviors. Just how much the scores change is tied to how much the credit scoring model being used weighs the relative importance of your recent actions. Since each type of credit score has its own scoring model—because they are used to consider different lending circumstances—credit scores can and do differ.

If you’re new to the world of FICO® Scores, you may have questions about how the activities in your credit report are weighed. There will likely be small differences when compared to other credit score calculations, due to the different weights and emphases of each scoring model. But don’t worry – the source information for the score is still the information found on your Experian credit report.

You may have seen or requested educational credit scores in the past, which are based on a variety of different credit scoring models. Educational credit scores help consumers understand how their credit changes over time and in relation to their own activities and decisions. While they’re not a scoring model that might be used by lenders, they do illustrate your overall credit picture in the way that many credit scores do: higher scores mean you’re handling your credit responsibilities well, while lower scores may mean you need to consider changing your credit behaviors to be seen in a better light.

By contrast, FICO Scores are developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation as a measure of your creditworthiness and are considered by many lenders when they consult a scoring model to make their credit decisions. FICO Scores are used in 90% of credit decisions, so they’re a likely indicator of how your credit may look when its reviewed by a lender or other party. Generally, credit scoring models look to your past behavior to explore how you’ll handle credit in the future. However, lenders and insurers often use different scoring models, so you likely won’t see the exact same three-digit score each time your credit score is calculated. Even though the scores themselves may differ, your credit risk level is most often the same.

When you have the right information at your fingertips, it can make all the difference in your confidence as you work toward your next goal, whether it’s a new car, new house, or planning for the dreams an expanding family tree can bring.

FICO is the registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.