Why Is My FICO Score Lower Than My Credit Score?

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22 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
7 min
A couple trying to figure out why their FICO score lower than credit score

Decode Your Low FICO Score and Discover Solutions with Consumer Attorneys!

Learn some of the common reasons behind your low FICO score and how you can work to increase it. Also, learn about why discrepancies may not be your fault and what you can do about it- including getting paid! Check out our article and contact Consumer Attorneys for more details.

If you’re asking why is your FICO score lower than your credit score, you are not alone. Lower FICO scores occur sometimes because of the different metrics and algorithms used by each credit bureau. We will take a look at these concerns along with solutions that can increase your FICO scores and help you dispute inaccurate credit reporting.

FICO Score vs. Credit Score: What Sets Them Apart?

What sets FICO scores and credit scores apart is the fact that there are two types of credit scoring models used, including FICO and Vantage scores. FICO scores originated from a data analytics company in California that was originally referred to as the Fair Isaac Corporation. (The FIC from this corporate name became the basis for the term FICO score.) The FICO score soon grew into a widely used and measurable score for credit risk. In fact, it has grown into most lenders’ top choice for determining whether or not they will extend credit to you.

The second scoring model, Vantage scores, on the other hand, uses scores from three different credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each bureau uses a different algorithm than what is used for FICO scores. Vantage scores are typically educational scores and may not reflect your actual score.

On the other hand, FICO scores (what lenders prefer to use) range from 300 to 850 and, depending on the industry, can sometimes range from 250 to 900, which can be the reason why your FICO score is lower than the others.

What Exactly is a FICO Score?

Again, FICO scores range from 250-900 depending on the industry, are used primarily by lenders, and use a unique algorithm to calculate your credit risk. FICO scores assess your credit risk based on information furnished in your credit reports, which means sometimes your FICO score is lower than your credit score.

Understanding the Reasons Behind a Lower FICO Score

Have you ever looked at your credit reports and wondered, “Why is my FICO score different from my credit score?” That’s a reasonable question. Since FICO scores and Vantage scores use different algorithms and scoring models, as well as errors that can sometimes occur in Vantage scores, FICO scores may be lower.

Explaining Score Variations Across Different Credit Bureaus

Variations exist among different bureaus since not all creditors and lenders report to all three bureaus. For instance, in some cases, auto lenders report only to Experian and Equifax, and landlords report to TransUnion and Equifax, or just Experian. The lender, the file, and the credit mix are dependent on the lender and which credit bureaus they report to. Also, credit bureaus can sometimes make errors in reporting by reporting files that belong to someone else or reporting an account as closed that is still open, which is why it is important to consistently monitor FICO scores along with all three credit bureau scores.

Why is my FICO Score Lower than Experian?

If your Experian score is higher than your FICO score, it could be due to errors or creditors reporting to only certain credit bureaus. Checking your credit regularly can help you keep up with any errors.

Why is my FICO Score Lower than TransUnion?

TransUnion has a unique way of scoring your credit, which means your TransUnion score may end up being more than your FICO score. Also, there may be errors or mistakes that TransUnion should account for. If you see any errors, you need to address them.

Why is my FICO Score Lower than Equifax?

Equifax uses its own metrics to score your credit. If those metrics are different from FICO scoring models and lenders are reporting to different bureaus and not to Equifax, it could leave your Equifax score higher than your FICO score. 

Importance of FICO and Other Credit Scores

You may be wondering why credit scores matter. Credit scores matter because we live in a world where credibility matters. Oftentimes we need things like homes, cars, clothes, and other times we want things like cool gadgets, or to take nice vacations several times per year. To acquire these things, there are lenders like loan companies and credit card companies that may loan you money for your promise to pay them back over time.

Therefore, FICO and other credit scores become very important in those cases because they allow you to purchase things and do things that you otherwise may not be able to do. In the event that your credit score is low (FICO or Vantage), it can become very difficult to get basic living necessities like shelter or it may prevent you from traveling or making larger purchases for pleasure. Thus, having good FICO and Vantage scores are paramount!

Factors that Impact Your FICO Score

Many factors impact your FICO score including how much credit you use, how long you’ve had credit, the type of credit accounts, and how many hard inquiries you have on your credit report. Managing these factors responsibly can contribute to an improved FICO score over time.

Proven Strategies for Boosting Your Credit Score

Many factors affect your credit score, but there are some steps you can take to enhance your creditworthiness and credibility that can help raise your FICO score:

  1. Monitor Your Credit Report. Regularly review your credit report for errors and discrepancies.
  2. Dispute Errors. If you find discrepancies on your credit report, time is of utmost importance, and you should dispute those errors quickly! The sooner you dispute the errors, the quicker your credit score will reflect your true credit story. 
  3. Pay Bills on Time. This step may seem simple, but it’s still worth mentioning. Paying bills on time can help maintain a low credit utilization and also diversify your credit types.
  4. Contact an Attorney. Contacting a consumer lawyer is invaluable because an experienced attorney can help you work through the process of correcting credit reporting errors and help you take proactive steps to boost your credit score.

Call Us If You Need Help with Your FICO or Credit Score!

If you need FICO or credit score help, we can help you. Have a look at our online form and fill it out. You can also call us at 1-877-615-1725, chat with us on our website through the LIVE chat feature, and email us directly at [email protected]


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About the author
Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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