Ah, Credit Reporting


So as I do twice a year, I’ve gotten my credit report to see how I’m doing.  I was especially keen to see how it was reported this go as an old account was being dropped off at the seven year mark in August.  (This was an account of a phone that I gave to an ex-girlfriend, who then never bothered to pay the bill, and never bothered to tell me she wasn’t paying the bill.)

I decided to get my “Three Credit Bureau Report With Three Scores” report from each of the three large credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

The first thing to know is that doing that – from all three – will set you back $90, as they each charge $30 for the ‘privilege’ of being able to see the information they’re reporting on you.  That’s after you manage to navigate away from all the “offers” for monthly monitoring at up to $20 per month.

The second thing to know is that it’s anyone’s guess as to how they come up with the information they receive, track, and report.  Here are the results I got today from each, as they report on themselves and their two competitors:

Experian: 741
Equifax: 764
TransUnion: 741
Negative Accounts: None

Experian: 716
Equifax: 741
TransUnion: 734
Negative Accounts: 1 – TU

Experian: 794
Equifax: 792
TransUnion: 794
Negative Accounts: None

Clearly, they’re not in sync with themselves or each other.  TransUnion uses a range that maxes out at 990, whereas the other two use a range that maxes at 850, which does go towards explaining why their scores are higher, but certainly not why they felt that had to be different in the first place.  To complicate things further, here are my scores from CreditKarma.com:

TransRisk: 714
AutoInsurance: 883
Vantage Score: 794

At least in the case of Credit Karma the Vantage Score I know to be the same as the TransUnion score; the TransRisk score is the TransUnion score on the scale that maxes at 850.  However, it doesn’t match any of the other scores.  While several of them are fairly close to each other (741, 741, 741, 734) (716, 714) I’ve got the outlier of 764 and then the entirely separate set of scores from TransUnion which they display instead of the one that matches up with the other two.

So what is my credit score?

I’m going to go with 741.  That’s 130 points higher than when I started really tracking this information, so that’s good.

As to the rest of the reports – they are wildly divergent on both where I’ve lived and/or am living, and also where I’ve worked and currently work.  They have current addresses as former, former as current, and that goes for employers as well.  Then there’s the obvious addresses that are the same that got cut off (such as “Apt 2” instead of “Apt 207”) which they list as a separate address, making it look like I move once a week.  It’s going to take someone with a lot more time than I have to get this whole thing straightened out.  Perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant again?

(Image from debtoutof.com.)