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Understanding Why Your FICO Scores are Different

Why there are differences even if your credit scores are less than perfect
Understanding Why Your FICO Scores are Different
Our experience

Even with all the information available on our web site and elsewhere we continue to come across car shoppers with questionable credit that don’t understand why the credit score used for their auto loan approval isn’t the same as the one they have.

Here at Auto Credit Express we understand how that can happen because we’ve spent the past two decades helping car buyers with problem credit find those dealers that can arrange can loan financing for them.

So for today we’re going to set about explaining why consumers with less than perfect credit, as well as everyone else, typically have different credit scores at each of the credit reporting agencies.

FICO scores

As we’ve done in the past, we initially considered basing this article on our own experiences. But rather than do that and after reading a recent piece, we decided that it would be even better if we went straight to the source. In this case that source turns out to be FICO (originally known as Fair, Isaac and Company), the agency responsible for the development of the FICO score.

In a article that appeared on their website not that long ago, Joanne Gasking, product management director for Scores at FICO, had this to say, “If there is a score difference across bureaus for a given consumer, then that score difference is 85-90% driven by data differences in the underlying credit.”

If that sounds confusing, just hang in there because it does become easier to understand.

To begin with, examples of these “data differences” that Ms. Gasking gave include:

•    A tradeline (one of your credit accounts) may be reported to one bureau and not another
•    Reported delinquency status may differ between bureaus
•    Outstanding balance on a tradeline may differ between bureaus

These issues can be caused by:

•    Lenders reporting information to all three bureaus, but at different times
•    Lenders reporting to one or two of the bureaus, but not all three

In addition, Ms. Gasking also points out that the credit bureaus don’t always handle their data in the same ways. She goes on to explain what this means: “one CRA (Credit Reporting Agency – more commonly known as a credit bureau) has a policy to not display authorized user tradelines with negative information on their reports; the other two bureaus do.”

The Bottom Line

Consumers, especially those with bad credit, should understand why their FICO scores will probably not be the same at each of the credit bureaus. But even with that being said, it’s also important that they should know at least one of their credit scores.

Another important thing to remember is that even if you’ve experienced car credit problems in the past, we want you to know that Auto Credit Express specializes in helping applicants with bruised credit find those dealers that can give them their best chances at approved auto loans.

So if you’re ready to reestablish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loans application.

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