Why Don’t My Credit Reports Match?

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Why Don’t My Credit Reports Match?

By MIKE GOLDSTEIN

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.

Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.

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All Comments

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1 Contribution
16 People Helped

Helpful to 16 out of 22 people

I have listed on my past jobs as one of them being a owner of a style and cuts in NC.  I have never been to the city stated where the business is or supposedly located and I have never owned my own business. So I wonder how I can fix that issue 

Reply by
granmother

1 Contribution
22 People Helped
Helpful to 22 out of 30 people

i have one omy report that states I lived in San Jose Ca and I have never been there willl never be there and keeps hitting on my score how can i get this off.

Reply by
dalton349

1 Contribution
10 People Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 12 people

Ask them to give you the business since it is yours!

2 Contributions
2 People Helped

Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

All these credit bureaus  are worthless.   Just because  Experian is located on the West Coast and Trans Union and Equafax is located on the East Coast,   their scores are all different.  There needs to be some unity to all three credit bureas.  These agencies affect so many lives and people that just try to get ahead with what little income they have.   Cercumstances arise all the time for families.  So many people are in debt now because of our health industry,  they can't pay their bills.  This needs to stop.  No one can get ahead becuase these agencies do not care about  people anymore.   Unfortunetly  this world is based on the almight dollar, not human lives.  

1 Contribution
3 People Helped

Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

You get what you pay for. In this case I paid $0.00 and I got a "vantage" score that means "0" because the lender just ran my credit and it soooo far off (60 points) from CK. What a joke! Especially when you consider that the lender uses the real score to give you a loan not this bogus score. This site is becoming increasingly less beneficial.

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Transunion is reporting that I owe on a bill that was paid off a long time ago. Even Equafax reports this bill as having a 0 balance. Transunion continues to carry this balance forward and report it as a negative balance and refuses to remove it. They say that if it really was paid off they would know it. They finally agreed to write my protest but still refuse to remove the the negative report. 

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

How do I remove a address that I never lived at. 

Reply by
LC1227

7 Contributions
21 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Me too. I'm afraid the answer will be that some creditor put the name there and I have to contact them, yet nobody knows who it might be. My "alias" is spelled wrong with a different middle initial. I've never received a bill like that, but there it is on my report.

7 Contributions
95 People Helped

Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

My wife and I have home addresses where they say we lived, but we NEVER lived there - We have good credit reports, so we don't care!

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Well I'm thankful for CK  and do not agree that they're off by what is being said. I also like that I'm able to check what's affecting my credit period! Thank you CK.

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5128 People Helped

You're very welcome! Thanks for posting.

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

I think the CK scores are more useful in a relative sense, weekly score changes will help you understand your financial activity impact on credit. For the absolute value, FICO is the model that wider used.

Reply by
bfryar

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Where does one find their FICO score?

2 Contributions
2 People Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

I am totally and completely confused... my TU and Equifax reports NEVER match, I had bought and paid off a car that never showed up on my credit report, I paid off a $10,000 student loan while still in college and it never shows up... it shows you the + and - on almost a daily basis, but NEVER tells you why thats happened. The information on both reports is identical, but both scores are different....why 3 agencies? Cant we just keep one and make life simpler for everyone involved? this is ridiculous. I have worked extremely hard to build up my scores, and Equifax just dont seem to reflect it no matter what I do or how I try. The paid off car and student loan should have reflected positively but never even showed up....

Is there a phone number anyone knows for the credit beauraus where I can call and talk to them myself to try and figure this out? absolute madness.... sometimes the correct information is reflected but the scores dont change, and sometimes they go up or down on almost a daily basis. Very frustrating. Id like to know my real rating instead of going through two diff agencies mismatched numbers

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5128 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

If you'd like to contact Equifax directly, you can do so here: http://www.equifax.com/cs/Satellite?pagename=contact_us

There are likely differences in the aco****s reported to each bureau. Remember that your creditors are not obligated to report to all three bureaus, so some just report to one or two. It is perfectly normal to have different scores from each bureau. 

4 Contributions
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

   I have scores of 625 transunion and 627 Experian. Some report these scores as fair to good, your site reports them as poor. WHY?

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