Phone with program looking at credit score

Money 101 - Your Credit Score Explained

Why do you have many different credit scores?


Depending on the day you obtain your credit score, it could be 20, 30, 40, or more points higher or lower than what you were expecting. It might be that much different from one day to the next. Your credit score isn’t just one score. It’s many. And depending on when you check, which credit reporting company you use, and whether you recently opened or closed a credit account, your score could be vastly different.

Slightly Different Numbers

The major credit reporting bureaus may report a slightly different number for you at any given time. Sometimes that number, based on how they score your credit, could be 10-20 points different among the companies. But other things could have a more significant impact on your score.

Perhaps you received your credit report online through your credit card company. They may use a different service than you typically use. If you are in the process of buying a car, you might receive a number from the auto dealer that is different than what you were expecting to see. And if you’ve signed up to receive a score from a separate service, like Peoples State Bank’s Edge Plus Checking account, you might still see a third different number. None of the numbers are wrong. They’re just different based on the service used and when the number is checked.

Credit Reporting Companies

There are three major credit reporting companies, and each uses a different method for analyzing your credit report to determine a score.

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion

In addition, other companies have created scoring models to provide numbers to you or lenders. Those include FICO and VantageScore. Each of these could be different based on how—and when—they score your credit report.

Multiple Factors

Many pieces to your credit history may factor into your credit score.

Payment history – How responsible you’ve been with making your payments.

Length of credit history – How long you’ve had credit and the pattern of payments and borrowing.

Type of debt & when it started – Is your past debt all from credit cards, loans, or other credit options, and when did you open each credit line?

Current unpaid debt – How much money do you owe right now?

Percentage of available credit used – What is your total credit available, and how much of it do you currently owe?

New credit applications – Have you recently attempted to open a line of credit? If so, what kind and how much is the loan?

The way you use and pay off your credit can have a significant impact on your credit score. If you always pay the minimum and sometimes miss payments, that will provide different data to the credit score companies than if you pay more than the minimum and always pay on time.

If your credit score is low, one of the fastest methods of raising your score is by simply paying on time and, if possible, more than the minimum owed. It might not be easy, but it will increase your credit score positively.

And remember, you can learn more about personal finances, budgets, and credit scores from a Peoples personal banker. Stop by a bank location or call 888.929.9902 to speak to one today.