Why Are Credit Scores Different Depending On The Credit Bureau I Use?

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Credit Scores

If you’re a Canadian, you’re probably checking your credit regularly with your free annual report – and if you don’t, you should get started right away!

Whether you have bad credit or good credit, it’s important to understand your credit score so that you can make good purchasing decisions, build up your credit score, and make your way to a better financial future.

But in Canada, you have two options for your free report – Equifax and TransUnion. You’re eligible for a free report from both companies once each year. And if you’ve requested reports from both companies, you may be surprised by what you see – there’s a good chance your credit score will be different on each credit report.

Don’t panic! This is normal, and usually the variation is quite small. This is due to the quirks of the credit reporting system – and in this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons that credit scores can be different, depending on the Canadian credit bureau you use to check your credit report.

1. Your Data May Be Accessed At Different Times

This is the most basic reason that data may be different depending on the credit bureau you’re using to retrieve your credit score.

The passage of time can have a significant effect on FICO scores, due to advanced modeling characteristics used to calculate credit scores. If you send in a request to Equifax for your free credit report, and then send in a request to TransUnion a month later, there’s a good chance that some of the information used to calculate your score will be different – resulting in a small variation on your credit report.
To minimize this, you should try to get both of your credit reports at the same time, if possible. They may still differ, but you’ll reduce the impact that time-sensitive data may have on your score.

2. Each Bureau May Not Have Access To All Of Your Credit Information

Credit bureaus are not all-powerful. Each individual credit card company, bank, collection agency, and lender is responsible for supplying their information to credit bureaus.

Naturally, mistakes in bookkeeping, management oversight, or simple forgetfulness are common among employees at these companies – so there’s a chance that your data may be submitted accurately to one credit bureau, and completely forgotten at another credit bureau.

While these oversights are usually corrected quickly, they may lead to differing credit scores.

3. Your Credit Reports Could Be Fragmented

This is extremely common among people who go by different names than their birth name. For example, if your name is “Robert Jones”, that could be the name on your mortgage – but you may have applied for a credit card as “Bob Jones”.

While credit bureaus can usually combine this information correctly, it can result in fragmented records, in some cases – or even cause your information to appear on someone else’s credit report!

This is also quite common for maiden names – during the transition to your new married name, information may be fragmented and listed inaccurately, causing discrepancies between your credit reports.

4. Your Lenders May Prefer One Or The Other Credit Bureau

Most lenders and agencies will report to both Equifax and TransUnion regularly. However, they may prefer one to the other – and issue regular updates to one bureau, while neglecting to send more up-to-date information to the other bureau.

This is usually not on purpose, but is the result of corporate policies and procedures. However, if one bureau has more up-to-date information than another, you can expect your credit score to be different.

5. TransUnion and Equifax Use Different Data Storage/Retrieval Methods

TransUnion and Equifax are totally distinct companies – and the way they store, analyze, and retrieve data isx different. This can mean that a negative item on your credit report may be removed by one company – but left in by the other.

In addition, the equations and formulas used for calculating your score may vary, depending on the credit bureau used. Different methods of storing, analyzing, and displaying data can result in differing credit scores.

Don’t Panic If You Have Two Different Credit Scores!

Because of the above 5 reasons, it’s not uncommon to get different results from TransUnion and Equifax. A small variation in your credit report is totally normal – whether you have bad credit in Canada, or a great credit score.

Unless the variation is very large, this won’t affect your chances of getting a car loan or any other financial loan – banks usually request both credit reports, and can easily see why they may be different.

Do you have bad credit in Canada? Need a car? You’re in luck! Ride Time offers fantastic used cars, trucks, and SUVs in Winnipeg – and we’re always willing to work with folks who have bad credit!

If you can prove employment for 3+ months, show us a paystub for $1,500/month before deductions, and have a valid Canadian licence, we’re willing to work with our network of 15+ specialized lenders, and help you find a great deal on a fantastic used vehicle.

So don’t let bad credit hold you back. Come to Ride Time today!

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