Credit score Q&A: “Which credit bureau is the most important?”
In another attempt to potentially “game” creditors, consumers often wonder which credit reporting bureau they should most concern themselves with.
For the record, the three major credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
And the words “bureau” and “agency” are used interchangeably, so don’t fret about those details.
This also explains why there are 3 credit scores, one from each of these bureaus.
All Major Bureaus Equally Important
The general misconception seems to be that there’s one bureau used more than the other two, but this simply isn’t the case.
When you apply for any type of credit, whether it’s an auto loan/lease, credit card, or a mortgage, your credit report and credit score will be pulled.
Lenders may rely on one of the credit bureaus or all three.
Assuming they rely on just one, you won’t know who they’re using until your credit is pulled and your score is printed out on a piece of paper staring you dead in the eye.
By then it’s too late to do anything, not that there would be much you could do beforehand.
I suppose if you knew your credit score was low with one of the major credit bureaus, and much better with another, you could ask the car dealership who they use before applying.
But this would be a long shot, and certainly no way to go about getting a loan. Just plain silly really.
In the end, all three bureaus are equally important because you don’t know who they’ll use, and different creditors use different bureaus.
So you must have a good credit score with all three to ensure there aren’t any hiccups.
In the case of a mortgage loan, banks and lenders will rely on the mid-score of your three credit scores.
So all three credit bureaus are again equally important, as one bad credit score can weigh down your average.
Suppose you’ve got the following credit scores:
Equifax credit score: 730
Experian credit score: 700
TransUnion credit score: 660
The good news is that the 660 credit score from TransUnion wouldn’t be used, though obviously it could be used in the earlier example where just one bureau’s credit score is pulled.
What both these examples illustrate is that all three credit scores from the major credit reporting bureaus are looked upon equally.
All are important, and all must be kept in tip-top shape to ensure you receive the most favorable terms on all your loans and lines of credit, regardless of who is pulling your credit.
Knowing where you stand with all of the major credit bureaus will also ensure you avoid any potential surprises!