If you haven’t noticed, your credit report includes your credit card accounts, loans, payment history and more. Collectively this information determines your credit scores.
It’s important to know what is in your credit history to ensure the information is fair and accurate, stay on top of your credit score, look for ways to help your credit and watch out for fraudulent activity.
But keeping an eye on one credit score with a single credit bureau does not guarantee you have the most accurate information.
The information in your credit report can differ between the three major credit bureaus – Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®– so you need to make sure you’re checking all three credit scores.
Why Do My Credit Reports Not Match?
There are several reasons that the information contained in one-bureau credit reports may not line up identically between credit bureaus:
Credit Reporting is Voluntary.
The lenders, collection agencies and courts that report information to credit bureaus aren’t required to report the data.
While they generally do, they also aren’t required to report to all three major credit bureaus, so a third party could report information to one or two credit bureaus, but not all of them.
Credit Bureaus are Competitors.
These companies don’t usually share information. There is an exception in certain scenarios like a fraud alert.
Dispute Results Aren’t Universally Shared.
If you dispute an inaccuracy on your credit report with a single credit bureau, it may not make it to the other two. Always dispute inaccuracies with every credit bureau that reports the inaccuracy.
Hard Inquiries Show on the Credit Report Getting Pulled.
Hard inquiries are records showing you applied for credit, and someone pulled your credit report, which can have a minor impact on your credit scores.
If you apply for credit and the lender only pulls one of your three credit reports, the inquiry can only show up for that credit bureau.
Information Gets Reported at Different Times.
Lenders send updates to credit bureaus at different times of the month. This can result in one credit report being more up to date than the others.
Monitor Your Credit Report with all Three Major Credit Bureaus
Because information can differ between credit bureaus, it is important to watch all three credit reports to truly stay informed on the state of your credit.
MyScoreIQ services with credit monitoring allows you to view your three-bureau credit information in one easy-to-read report.
This means you can stay on top of your credit and view possible signs of fraud. Often, your credit report shows signs of fraud, like an account you didn’t open, as one of the first signs of identity theft.
Catching signs of fraud early is crucial to help avoid further damage and to start recovering.