Why Don’t My Credit Reports Match?

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Why Don’t My Credit Reports Match?


If you've reviewed your credit report from more than one bureau before, you may have noticed some variation from one bureau to the next. Wondering why this happens? Read on to find a few possible reasons and some suggestions on what you can do next.

You got your report on different dates.

This one is so simple it might seem obvious, but it's worth keeping in mind nonetheless. For example, if you checked out your TransUnion report last week and a different bureau today, the information might not match. This could be because one of your lenders has recently reported new information. Before you get too wrapped up in any minor differences between the two reports, ensure that both sets of information are from the same day so you're comparing apples to apples.

Your lender hasn't reported to each bureau.

Lenders aren't typically required to report your information to any particular bureau or any bureaus at all, even. If one of your accounts has appeared on one bureau's report but has yet to appear on another, it could be because that lender simply doesn't report to every bureau. Similarly, if the account is appearing but hasn't been updated on a particular bureau's report, it could be because your lender has chosen to stop reporting to that bureau.

This variation also applies to hard credit inquiries. If a prospective lender checks your credit with only one bureau, then the resulting hard inquiry will only appear on that bureau's credit reports.

Your lender reports to different bureaus at different times.

Even for lenders who report to each of the national credit bureaus regularly, information may vary depending on when they report to each bureau. For instance, your lender could report to TransUnion on the first of the month, and the other bureaus on the fifteenth of the month. If this is the case, then your reported loan balances could differ among those credit reports for the time between the reporting dates. Similarly, if you've recently opened an account, it may take longer for that account to appear on some bureau's credit reports than others.

Your reports don't match for other reasons.

There are all sorts of other reasons why your information might not match up. One possibility is bureau error, so if you're sure that your situation doesn't match any of the others on this page and the information reported looks incorrect, you could consider contacting the bureau directly. If you've applied for credit under multiple names (like your maiden and married names), for instance, then one bureau could have potentially split your file or simply left off some of your information if it doesn't match what they already have on file.

Another variable that could keep certain information on your reports from matching is the manner in which credit bureaus collect information about public records. As opposed to credit cards and loans, which are typically reported directly by your lender to the credit bureaus, public records aren't actually reported to credit bureaus. Rather, credit bureaus will commonly search court records to find items like bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens. The result is that sometimes one bureau might access a public record that other bureaus have not, and you could potentially have, for example, a tax lien included on one bureau's credit report that is missing from others.

So what can you do?

If you've noticed a disparity from one bureau to the next, your next steps are up to you. As I mentioned earlier, lenders are not legally required to report your information to any particular bureau, so if your account is missing entirely, you can't force your lender to start reporting the missing information. Still, you can choose to give your lender a call and see if they'd consider reporting your account.

If an account isn't absent but instead contains outdated data, then you may be in a better position to request an update from your lender and the credit bureau. Keep in mind that your lender may simply report to that particular bureau later than they do to others so allow time for your report to be appropriately updated, but if incorrect or outdated information persists you could dispute the record to prompt an update.

Bottom Line

Just like your credit score, your credit reports can differ from bureau to bureau. By checking your credit reports from multiple bureaus at once, you can get a better sense of the complete range of information that's out there about you, and get a handle on any errors that you might want to address.

About the Author: Mike Goldstein is Copywriter at Credit Karma. Since joining the team in June 2013, he's been delivering the financial know-how on the daily. When away from work, you can find Mike watching hockey, Twittering for hours and frequenting trivia nights.

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Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

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All Comments

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1 Contribution
108 People Helped

Helpful to 108 out of 128 people

It is this simple...

Why does there need to be 3 credit bureaus?

And when someone applies for credit, who will the lender turn to for the crdit information needed?

What if they turn to the lower reporting bureau for there information?

It is definitely not a fair and balanced system for consumers overall.

Top Contributor

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20 Contributions
180 People Helped
Helpful to 104 out of 129 people

equifax is a money making company and it rates only on your credit inquirees and they are out of touch , please credit karma take this bogus company off of the site...and they credit karma ..hopefully will notice that they are not up to date. they haven't even fixed their stimulator scoring site........who needed the changes that these egg heads decided to include vantage score? w.t.f. and whom are they kidding ........i want this site to go back to the simple and more exacting scorings that are wanted by a majority of credit karma users / this site now has so many flaws i cannot tell everyone of them. but they need to stop this ugly attempt and contempt on all of us...what do we really expect from a free site???? not much , except it should be plain easy to find all information better 

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1 Contribution
88 People Helped
Helpful to 88 out of 98 people

I agree, credit hurts the poor people who cannot pay to have their credit fixed once damaged. Credit is extremely easy to damage but almost impossible to fix, the 7 to 10 year rule no longer applies when companies continue to apply the charges over and over again. Credit is prejudice, in a sense, to the poorest.

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2 Contributions
26 People Helped
Helpful to 25 out of 41 people

This is site is free because the lower your score is the more instrest they can charge . Do the math.

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1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Totally agree..I decided to apply for a credit card once I got my scores up a bit and whaddaya know they pulled from the ONE that I was unaware about and was the lowest..

1 Contribution
97 People Helped

Helpful to 97 out of 122 people

Why is Credit Karma not reporting on Experian? It only lists 2 of the 3 credit bureaus.

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1 Contribution
94 People Helped
Helpful to 94 out of 117 people

I was wondering the same thing. It would appear that if they (CreditKarma) really wanted to help consumers they would opt to include as much information as possible so that the consumer would be better educated about they reports.

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4 Contributions
178 People Helped
Helpful to 113 out of 143 people

Doesn't really matter. Credit Karma is NOT EVEN CLOSE to TU's, Exp's, and Equi's FICO scores. They are off 60-80 pts compared to TU and Equi for me.

This Vantage Score is a JOKE.

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7 Contributions
100 People Helped
Helpful to 27 out of 38 people

Maybe because it's FREE

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2 Contributions
5 People Helped

I agree and wonder the same thing.

Top Contributor
23 Contributions
309 People Helped

Helpful to 119 out of 158 people

If credit reports matched there would be no confusion on our part, and no competition among credit bureaus.  There would be no need to email us trying to sell credit card protection and identity theft protection.  It's business.  That's the bottom line. 

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2 Contributions
5 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 6 people

I agree wholeheartedly ! The idea that we live in a 'FREE" society is ludicrous !  When everything we own requires some kind of credit (whether or not it means borrowing money) credit reporting should be done by a government agency, paid bythe government (to prevent competition) and freely available to the publicat large.

1 Contribution
58 People Helped

Helpful to 58 out of 69 people

I agree with other comments regarding the Vantage scoring!  It is a joke!  At least 80 points lower than mortgage companies and banks!  The other way was much closer to actual credit scoring reports.  

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1 Contribution
14 People Helped
Helpful to 14 out of 20 people

I totally agree.  It is a minimum of 100 points lower!!    Enter Your Reply

1 Contribution
31 People Helped

Helpful to 31 out of 45 people

Wow. Really? People want to blame the credit card bureau because they can't manage their money?? C'mon people! I have made mistakes with my credit but I take responsibility for them because... well... um... IT WAS MY FAULT. Instead of blaming others for my mistakes, I am doing something about it.

Credit Karma is GREAT for giving us some tools to help improve our credit scores. And.... IT'S FREE!!! Thanks for all your help CK!!!! Geez! Some of you people would complain if they were going to hang you with a brand new rope.

Bottom Line: IF you make mistakes with your credit, start the healing process - Make your payments on time and build your credit back up to a respectable level without putting yourself in too deep of a hole. Chances are you didn't screw it up overnight and it's not going to get fixed overnight. I am at 5 years out of 7 years after my mistakes. I have another 2 years to go before everything is cleared. I have been working at it for over 2 years and have seen my score rise about 90 points. But it works! Recently bought a house and a new vehicle.

Here is an idea: Live within your means and leave room for the "hard times." If you can afford a $40,000 new vehicle, buy a $30,000 vehicle instead. Better yet, buy a $10,000 used vehicle and save up the money you are saving. IF you can afford a $200,000, buy one for $150,000 instead. If you can't afford a house and a car, GET A SECOND JOB... or in the case of some whiners out there - get a first job.

Whatever you do, stop crying that it is someone else's fault

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7 Contributions
25 People Helped
Helpful to 16 out of 22 people

Hey Marine 12364, who are you to talk to people who are having credit troubles with the disdain and arrogance you clearly display in your comment? Are you so naive that you think that creditors never make mistakes and those mistakes never hurt people? It can be very difficult to get a creditor to understand that it is wrong about anything, but to then get them to remove something from your credit report seems almost impossible. The effects of having bad information on your report can be devastating as you ought to know. Does it make you feel better to be so harsh on those of us having a hard time? Do you think this life is so simple that anyone with financial problems should be looked down on? You sound like an elitist ******* who hasn't lived in the real world. Those who have made mistakes know it and don't need the likes of you piling on. Your comment sounds like you think it's great that some people are afraid to look at their mail or answer their phones because of creditor harrassment. Collection agencies are relentless and sloppy with their paperwork and they have no problem using deception. People who fall behind get pushed further and further behind by interest rates that should be considered usury and collection agencies that threaten and call relentlessly to your home, your cell phone and your work. It is awful to have serious credit problems. Just because you were able to get it together doesn't mean that you should look down your nose at anyone. You and your ilk should drop dead.

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2 Contributions
13 People Helped
Helpful to 13 out of 17 people

Marine 123464, you made sooo many self-centered comments that I don't know where to start.  People are just looking for help. Show some compassion.  You may be responsible for your bad money handling habits to the point you admit it's your fault, but not everyone is.  Bad credit is not always that person's fault so keep yours to yourself.  I have a friend at work whose wife was in a terrible car accident with a drunk driver which was not her fault.  Hospital co-pays, medication co-pays, rehab co-pays and finally permanent disabilities, combined with the 12 to 18 month process of getting disability has put them under so far that they will never see the black line again.  They have expired all of their retirement, savings and their last son's college account which barely made a dent.  The credit collectors are driving them crazy.  There are erroneous, duplicate, and other incorrect entries in their credit reports.  They really have it rough.  My friends and I help as much as we can but again it hardly makes a dent.  We are just trying to keep them housed, clothed, and fed.  Their family income dropped to a quarter of what it was.  She was the major income generator and now has to be cared for for the rest of her life.  It's so sad.  For you to make the comments you did just make me want to, at the very least, exile you from our society.  People like you degrade the gene pool. It's like you telling someone with chronic depression to "just get over it". It's very obvious you are ignorant and illiterate. You can look those words up in a dictionary.  And by the way, stay off the comment boards.  You help no one.

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2 Contributions
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 3 people

Per Mr. Marine above, He is on it.  People, let's get real.  If you can't afford it, don't buy it.  Sure things happen which makes it hard, but it is part of life.  Work it out.  Consolidate if you must, but having a hundred credit cards all maxed to the limit will only mean one thing to look forward to...Bankrupt!  So limit your spending, go for the things you need, then the wants,   Once it is out of the basket, it is gone.  Once it is gone, it is hard to build back up again.  Trust me.  I am 64 and have had too many drawbacks to mention, but you have to sacrifice in order to be given that loan.  You will find out banks will only loan money to people who can pay it back.  If you don't pay your bills, sure you may get another credit card, and sure your credit will go further down to the fires below.  Just think.  Hold your kid as you walk through a parking lot, and put the **** dog on a leash.  Pay your bills. Earn your money.  Invest in an IRA, 401K, etc.  Don't depend on others to help you.  They won't or they will die, leave you money.  You will spend it, but not pay off your bills.  Grow up!

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