This must be a common question, ever since credit score became free
Anyone who has checked their credit score with multiple bureaus will know that the credit score will differ between each credit bureau. In India currently, there are 4 credit bureaus operating – Equifax, CIBIL™, Experian and CRIF High Mark.
You can get your credit score directly from these bureaus or you can get your credit score from companies who have tie-ups with the credit bureaus and provide you your credit score instantly. The RBI has stipulated that all the credit bureaus need to provide 1 credit report for every individual for free each year.
Many in India do not know that there are 4 bureaus working in the country right now. Those who check their credit score think they are only looking at CIBIL score. Since CIBIL is oldest credit rating company they are the name that many know but banks have also started using other credit bureaus to check their customer’s credit score.
Additional Reading: Who issues a credit score or credit rating?
What are the factors that affect your credit score?
Before we look at why credit score varies between each credit bureau lets look at the factors that affect your credit score.
What Makes Your Credit Score?
Factor 1: Your Repayment History
The most important factor, your credit history or the record of how you have borrowed before is a major contributor to your credit score, this again could be further divided into recent and past history. If there was any defaulting and delays in payments it will have an adverse effect on your score, while consistent payment would be rewarded.
Factor 2: Credit Mix
Credit Mix is the number of secured loans (like home loans, auto loans etc.) and unsecured loans (which includes personal loans and credit cards). If there is a mix or different type of credit on your credit profile you are considered a person who can handle different type of credit where the bank will feel more comfortable in providing you credit.
Factor 3: Hunger for more credit
Applying for more credit than you can handle results in multiple hard enquires from banks who will tend to see you as someone who borrows more than you can repay. Frequently exceeding your credit limit also leads to the same opinion. Another fact to remember is that when applying for a loan your credit report is pulled by the bank which will induce a small drop in your credit score. Having multiple credit applications at the same time will increase this drop-in credit score.
Factor 4: Reviewing Your Credit Report
A factor that often gets missed out while discussing credit scores are the information on your credit report, everyone would do well to obtain the credit report at least once a year to check for any inconsistencies.
Why does the credit score differ from bureau to bureau?
Though the factors that affect your credit score are same, each credit bureau gives different weightage to factors. They each have their own proprietary algorithm which they use to calculate your credit score. It is due to these factors that there is a difference in the credit score provided by different credit bureaus.
One needs to remember that just because you get varying scores does not mean that the credit bureaus are wrong. A bank knows the difference between the score and give equal weightage to the various credit scores from each credit bureau and before making a lending decision they look at other criteria on your credit report.
So it all boils down to credit health, irrespective of the scores, the factors and the weightages given to all the above factors, what is in our hands is to build and maintain good credit history.