When checking your credit score, you might wonder: "Which credit agency shows the highest FICO score?" Although Equifax, TransUnion and Experian use the Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) report to calculate their scores, their calculation methods differ, resulting in different scores. Moreover, the three credit reporting agencies created a new credit scoring formula, VantageScore. This new scoring system is not uniformly in use, making it difficult to compare credit scores across the three agencies.
Which Credit Agency Shows the Highest FICO Score?
Equifax remains the only reporting agency using FICO score calculation methods. It will therefore always show the highest FICO score. TransUnion and Experian use VantageScore. Of the two agencies, most reports identify TransUnion as the agency with the highest score.
Differences in credit scores are attributable to the fact that not every lender reports to all three agencies. A lender may rely on one, two, or all three of the credit scores.
VantageScore vs. FICO
Differences in credit scores are attributable to the fact that not every lender reports to all three agencies. Scores fluctuate based on changes in your credit report, resulting in even more disparity.
FICO Scores Explained
Although referred to as a "FICO" score, the score each credit agency calculates is actually their own. This type of scoring is calculated based on five different aspects of a credit report:
- Payment history: The record of payments for loans and credit, including timely payments and delinquencies.
- Amounts owed: The balances of amount owed on the specific types of loans or credit and the proportion of amount owed to the total amount borrowed or of available credit.
- Credit history length: The length of time credit has been available and used for a particular account. In general, the longer the credit history (particularly a good history), the better.
- New credit: The amounts of recently acquired credit and loans as well as recent inquires into your report and score.
- Types of credit: Identification of the specific types of credit, such as credit cards and loans.
FICO scores range from 300-850, with anything below 600 considered a low score and 710 and above a good score. Individuals with scores of 600 or lower may be viewed by lenders as high risk and be charged higher interest rates. Equifax continues to use the traditional FICO scoring method.
In an attempt to make scoring more uniform, the three credit reporting agencies created a scoring system independent of FICO, called VantageScore. TransUnion and Experian now rely on this method. It relies on six factors:
- Recent credit: The number and types of newly established credit accounts and the number of inquiries into a credit report.
- Payment history: Status of payments, including timely and delinquent, for an account.
- Utilization: The proportion of credit used to credit available on independent accounts.
- Balances: The amount remaining to be paid on a credit card or loan.
- Depth of credit length: How long an individual's credit history is and how many different types of credit they have.
- Available credit: How much credit remains open for use.
VantageScore scores range from 501-990, and are on a traditional grade scoring scale. Scores of 901-990 are considered an "A", and individuals with scores in this range are considered good credit risks. Individuals with scores of 501-601, which are accorded an "F" and "D", are considered high risk.
Your Credit Score
The answer to the question "Which credit agency shows the highest FICO score?" varies depending on the type of score used by the agency. While TransUnion typically reports the highest score for an individual, there is no telling which report a lender will pull when reviewing your application.