Yes, you have different credit scores

People have been using the term "your credit score" so often that it's assumed people only have one of them. That's not the case, credit scores differ between credit bureaus (the businesses that provide credit scores to lenders) and even the lenders themselves. 

No need to get overwhelmed. We'll outline the different types of credit scores you need to be aware of. 

"CreditWise and Experian use distinct scoring models and collect different information."

Free, inaccurate credit scores
There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, all of which offer one free report, but charge you for every additional report you request from them afterward. If you don't feel like paying for your credit score, you can use any number of services that give you a score free of charge. CreditWise, a service for Capital One credit card users, is one example of a free-to-use service. PRBC, an alternative credit score, is also free to use but doesn't suffer from the inaccuracies other credit scores do (more on that later). 

Maybe you used Capital One's CreditWise and later learned that your Experian credit score is lower. What's going on here? 

Basically, CreditWise and Experian use different scoring models and collect different information. CreditWise uses the TransUnion credit score, and TransUnion doesn't gather the same data as Experian. The dissimilarities between the two may not be huge because much of the information they collect is the same. However, Experian may have some details on you that TransUnion doesn't, and that data is reflected in Experian's credit scores. 

Credit scores with lender bias
Mortgage and auto lenders, as well as credit unions providing personal loans and auto lenders each use different credit scores. Why? When a car dealership provides you with a loan so you can buy a new vehicle, it's incurring risk that's specific to the transaction. 

To put it simply: There are different risks associated with purchasing a house than a car. You may be able to pay off a car in three years, but pay a mortgage over 30 years. 

FICO, a scoring model used by Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, actually offers a credit score exclusively for auto lenders. Money Under 30 noted the FICO Auto Score weighs mortgage and credit card payment histories less than those applicable to installment-based loans. 

Alternative credit scores 
There's a glaring problem with traditional credit scores, however: They don't include information linked to regular payment habits, which can cause lenders to misinterpret your ability to pay back loans. For example, if you pay your rent, utilities and internet bills on time and in full every month, this responsible behavior won't be factored into any score using the FICO system. 

Due to these inaccuracies, many businesses that provide credit on products and other types of loans are using alternative credit scores such as PRBC. These reports not only include credit information included in traditional credit ratings, but also data linked to your monthly payment habits for rent, utilities, phone, internet and subscriptions. 

Not all alternative credit scores are the same - some are relatively new, and are therefore prone to inaccuracies. Therefore, it's advisable for you to use PRBC​. The alternative credit solution is supported by 35 years of experience and development. In fact, it was the first alternative credit score on the market. If you want to learn more about how you can sign up for this free-to-use score, check out how it works

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