After checking your credit score with more than one agency, you may be wondering why your credit score is different on different sites. Learn about credit scores and why a credit score can change from site to site.
Why is my credit score different on different sites?
Checking your credit score can help to understand how lenders may perceive your financial scenario. Once you have obtained your credit score from one credit agency, you may choose to find another. If you have done this, you will likely find that your credit score is different on each site.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number which rates your creditworthiness. Your creditworthiness refers to the likelihood that you will be able to successfully make repayments on something like a loan or mortgage. A high credit score will mean lenders are more likely to approve your applications for credit and offer better rates.
Your credit score will fluctuate, depending on how you have been managing your finances. For example, always paying off your mortgage instalments on time will positively impact your score. On the other hand, missing loan repayments will negatively affect your score.
Why does my credit score change from site to site?
Usually, the category of your credit score will be the same or similar across all credit agencies. However, it’s important to note that the specific number shown often varies between credit agencies.
There are a few reasons as to why a credit score might appear differently across the three major credit agencies.
Lenders report to different credit agencies
Your credit score may differ because it’s based on your credit report. A credit report is a summary of your financial transactions and is updated by your lenders. Lenders will report to different credit agencies, so there may be some variance.
Different credit score categories
Each of the three major UK credit agencies uses a different category system for your credit report. This means that the scores from each agency may fall in a different category.
Different calculating system
As well as using a different scoring system, each credit agency will calculate your score differently. This is why a score may appear more favourable or worse, depending on which credit agency you are using.
When you check your credit score
Usually, your credit score is updated monthly. This will vary depending on your financial situation and how frequently your lender reports back to the credit agency.
What is a good credit score?
The higher the credit score, the more likely it is to be seen as good by a lender. As there are multiple credit agencies using slightly different categories, it’s ultimately down to the lender to determine what is a good score.
Experian is one of the UK’s largest credit agencies. If you score between 881-960, your score falls in the “good” category. Note that Experian and TransUnion do not include ‘very good’ as part of their category naming system. The three largest credit agencies break down credit scores into the following categories:
A score lower than fair is considered poor. This will make it difficult to be approved for things like loans and credit cards. If you are unsure about your credit score and what it means for you, speak with the credit agency directly.
What can affect my credit score?
Your credit score can be positively and negatively affected for many reasons. Your credit score can be positively impacted by the following:
- Making regular payments on existing credit like your mortgage or loans
- Registering to vote
- Only borrowing what you can afford to repay
Some things that can negatively impact your credit score are:
- Defaulting or missing repayments
- Often applying for credit
- Applying for credit too often or being rejected
Remember that it can take some time to improve a poor credit score. By carefully managing your finances, you should find that the score improved over time.
Want to find out more about credit scores and what they mean for you? Look at our Know How section for more.