• Why do credit scores differ?

    Liann Walborsky

    You’ve heard it over and over again. Good credit is key to … well … just about everything when you’re thinking about buying a home, car, applying for a credit card and more. And, maintaining good credit means knowing your score and monitoring it for everything from identity theft to late payments.

    It’s important to realize that your score can vary depending on whether you’re checking it through SavvyMoney vs. the credit score you receive when actually applying for a loan, or obtaining through a credit website. This can be confusing, so we thought we’d shed some light on how the system works.

    How it works

    SavvyMoney pulls credit profiles from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, and uses VantageScore 3.0, a credit scoring model developed collaboratively by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  In addition to VantageScore, there are several other types of credit scoring models used today — ultimately it’s up to the lender to determine which score they use.   

    If you’re wondering why your credit score is different when you check it through other credit websites (i.e. Credit Karma, etc.) or apply for a loan, it all depends on which of the three bureaus is used, the credit information being reported, and the credit score model. The credit score that you receive from SavvyMoney, for example, will offer up a different credit score than a lender, including Tech CU. Please know that when you apply for a loan with us, the credit score from SavvyMoney is not used to determine your credit qualifications or to determine loan rates. 

    In addition, it’s key to remember that the score you receive from a credit website is more of an educational credit score. It can illustrate your overall credit picture: higher scores mean you’re handling your credit responsibilities well; lower scores may mean you need to consider changing your credit behavior. This score is also not a credit report (details about your credit history).

    That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of obtaining free credit reports every four months to find any incorrect information or discrepancies. Each bureau has its own process for correcting inaccurate information. The Federal Trade Commission also offers step-by-step instructions on how to contact the bureaus and fix errors.

    What the numbers mean:

    • 781-850 – “Excellent” In this range, you have a very healthy credit history and are usually eligible for lowest rates on loans and credit cards.  
      • 661-780 – “Good” You have good credit, but may have had a few blips. You may not get the lowest rates on all types of loans. 
      • 601-660 – “Fair” You won’t get the lowest rates on loans, and opportunities to borrow start becoming limited. 
      • 501-600 – “Unfavorable” You are new to credit or have had significant defaults. Loan rates will be among the highest in the market.  
      • Below 500 – “Deficient” You are new to credit or have had significant defaults. You may find it hard to obtain credit. 
         
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