Different Credit Scores: Why Differences and Changes Occur

APR 28, 2015

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When it comes to credit, knowledge is power. Your credit scores can provide an indication of how lenders and others may view your credit when you apply for a loan. Checking your credit report and credit scores often can show you how they respond to the decisions you make about credit. Credit scores change based on the information that’s reported in your credit report. 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 credit score has its own related scoring model, credit scores can and do differ.

If you’re new to the world of FICO® Scores, you may have questions about how they specifically weigh the activity in your credit report, and how that might differ from other calculations. There will likely be small differences when compared to other credit score calculations, due to the newly adjusted proprietary weights and emphases of this scoring calculation, but don’t worry – the source information for the score is still the information found on your Experian credit report: that hasn’t changed at all.

The PLUS Score you’ve seen in the past used a scoring range from 330 to 830, and is an educational credit scoring model that Experian developed to help consumers understand creditworthiness. While it isn’t used by lenders, it does 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.

By contrast, FICO Scores are developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation as a measure of creditworthiness and are considered by many lenders when they 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 an lender or other party. Lenders and insurers can use different scoring models, so you likely won’t see the exact same three-digit score each time your credit score is calculated. Generally, your credit risk level will be the same even though the score itself may be different.

When you have the right information at your fingertips, your credit confidence can soar as you work toward your next goal, whether it’s a new car, new house, or accommodating changes within your family. Credit isn’t something that has to remain a mystery. Learning more about it can help you master your long-term financial plan.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2015 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.