Trying to figure out your credit score can be confusing. You think you’ve got it sorted. You know your credit score number and you know roughly where it sits on the scale. But then out of nowhere there’s this other number. And it’s different! "How many different credit scores are there?!" But don’t worry. Loqbox is here to help.
The reason your credit score is different is because you don’t have just one credit score. You’ve got three. One from each of the three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Different lenders will report to different CRAs when you apply for credit. Some will report to one, others with two and some even look at all of them.
What is a credit reference agency (CRA)?
Now you know there are three of them, what are they? Simply put, a CRA is a company that collects and holds information about your credit history.
As we mentioned, the UK has three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These three agencies gather information from lenders you have dealt with and use it to calculate your current credit score.
The CRAs will also take information from public records, like the electoral roll to confirm details about your address, and to check any people you may be financially connected to (i.e. family members, a partner, or any housemates that you jointly pay bills with).
If you apply for credit from a new lender, they can run a hard credit check on your credit report and assess your creditworthiness.
Lenders don’t like to take risks, so they use your credit history to see how likely it is that you’ll be able to pay back your loan. For more information, you can check out what a credit score is in our blog.
Why do I have 3 different credit scores?
The reason you have three different credit scores is because each of the three main CRAs in the UK calculate their scores differently. So, let’s get to know them. In no particular order, they are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Experian scores your credit history out of 999, Equifax out of 1000 and TransUnion out of 710. The numbers considered “poor”, “fair”, “good” or “excellent” vary from one to the other even if the information they are using is the same. Equifax even has a “very good” range, which the others don’t.
This is OK though. As long as they have the right information, it doesn’t impact your creditworthiness. Just because your score is higher on one CRA than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is better.
You can see the full list of credit scores and what they mean to each CRA on our page looking at how to improve your credit score.
Which is the most accurate credit score?
This is an easy one. There isn’t a most accurate credit score. Each CRA generates a credit report for you. And these reports are largely based on the information they gather from the lenders that you’ve used credit with until now.
For example, your phone bill, credit card or utility bill provider will report to whichever of the CRAs they work with and tell them how well you're paying off your agreed credit. This, in turn, reflects in your credit report (and is what future lenders use to decide whether or not to lend to you).
The general public can’t see exactly what process the future lender uses to decide, but that’s where your score comes in! Your credit score helps to give you a glimpse into how healthy your credit report is looking.
As different lenders that you might speak to will look at their preferred CRAs, the question isn’t which credit score matters the most, it’s whether they are all built from accurate information.
Building up your credit score with the three main CRAs will give you the best likelihood to be accepted for a new request for credit, like for a mortgage, credit card or loan.
If you look at your credit scores and there’s only a small variation across the three main CRAs, that’s nothing to worry about. However, if one of the CRAs shows a score that is totally different from the other two, you might want to check that they have the most up to date details.
There could be a mistake on one of them. It’s worth noting that the date you check your score, and the date that a particular CRA updates their information, may impact the score you see as well.
How do I check my credit score?
Checking your credit score is a good idea. Especially if you are thinking about applying for credit. When you make an application for credit, the lender will do a hard credit check on you. This leaves a mark on your credit history and can temporarily reduce your score. So you only want to apply for credit when you are confident that you’ll get it.
It is possible to check your credit score for free and without negatively impacting it. There are lots of services you can do this with (and because they individually use Equifax, Experian or TransUnion’s data, this is why your credit score is different on different sites).
But there are a few that we recommend – Each of these will show you how the different CRAs score you:
ClearScore (uses Equifax data)*
*If you sign up for free with ClearScore using this link we get a small commission. Honesty is the best policy!
How can I get a better credit score?
So, you have three different credit scores. But the good news is that you can build them all up in one go!
If you know that your credit score is lower than you want it, the best thing you can do is grow it before you make any applications. This will always give you the best chance.
Getting started with Loqbox is a proven way of building your credit score with all three CRAs (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).
Grow your credit score while you save with Loqbox Save, use your rent to boost your credit history with Loqbox Rent, and watch your credit improve just by making regular payments on a 0% credit account with Loqbox Grow.