If you've recently ordered copies of your credit reports, you may have noticed some funny things. You have three different credit scores, for one thing. There is one score for each of the three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These three companies should, ideally, give you similar credit scores, as their calculation procedures are basically the same. Sometimes, though, there can be a dramatic difference between the scores from these companies. Many consumers are confused and curious as to why this happens. There are a couple of reasons for it.
One of the natural reasons that this happens is that not every creditor reports to all three credit bureaus. Any time you take out a major loan, such as a home loan or a car loan, that should go to all the bureaus. Credit cards that you get through major credit card companies like Visa or MasterCard will go to all three companies, too. Information from smaller companies, though, such as cash advance places, apartment and utility companies, etc. may not go to all three companies. Sometimes your landlord might just report your late payments to one of the companies, which means that you'll have an extra strike against you on this report.
Another reason that one report might look different from the others is more frustrating: credit bureau error. A recent study estimates that about 80% of credit reports contain errors, which can seriously wreck the overall credit score of a consumer. If one of the companies makes a mistake, the other two aren't likely to make that same error. This can make your credit report and resulting score very different for that one company.
You can avoid the first problem by asking your creditors and other relevant people which credit bureaus they report to. Sometimes if you're trying to rebuild credit, it's best to make sure that every company who is related to your credit will report to the bureau so that you have the best possible chance of rebuilding your credit quickly.
To fix the second problem, though, you have to do a little more work. Luckily, in the Internet age, you can dispute inaccurate credit report claims online. Just contact the company to let them know what the problem is. They're required to respond within a short time period. If you have trouble with this process, you can get a little help from specific credit repair tools that can help you write letters of complaint to the company with the inaccurate information.