How Does a Lender Pick Which Credit Score to Use?

different credit scores

Checking your credit score online can be a bit of a panic-inducing task. Whether you’re applying for a loan, a credit card, or a new apartment, your credit score demonstrates your financial reliability to lenders and ultimately determines your eligibility. So when you finally press “check my score” and the results direct you to two separate scores that are 10 or more points apart, you may be left scratching your head. You are also probably wondering: which of these credit scores will my lender use when deciding whether or not I’m eligible for this loan?

In order to determine the value of multiple credit scores and where they are applicable, we must first look at the different credit scores are out there and where they come from.

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

There are three primary credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each has its own credit score and its own range of low to high credit scores:

  • Equifax (300-850)
  • Experian (360-840)
  • TransUnion (300-850)

Fair Isaac Corp.

Even if your financial vocabulary is limited, you are probably familiar with the term, “FICO Score.” FICO is an acronym that references the Fair Isaac Corp., a company that uses data from the three major credit reporting agencies and predictive analytics to develop credit scores. FICO is the most common credit score, and the one you are most likely to see when checking your score on sites like or

In many cases, this may be the final score your lender uses, but it will not be the only factor in the approval process, so don’t worry if it’s not as high as you would like.


VantageScore came onto the scene in 2006 as a way for the three major credit bureaus to determine how likely you are to repay your loans. It is also used to give your lender an overall snapshot of your credit situation.

In addition to different scales, some of these companies even have multiple scales, in case you weren’t already confused enough. Before your lender runs your credit, it’s acceptable to ask them what they’re looking for. Assuming you get pre-approved, and your offer on a home is accepted, you and your lender will get very well acquainted with your finances anyway, so don’t be shy. Ask.

Where does the lender come in?

Ultimately, your lender will likely look at your overall demonstrated fiscal responsibility, as shown by your credit history and scores. All of these scores matter for different reasons, but there is no single credit score upon which a lender will base its credit decision. The important thing to remember is: as long as you pay your bills on time, don’t run up an unreasonable amount of credit card debt, and spend your money wisely, you likely won’t have a hard time qualifying for mortgages, provided your debt-to-income ratio isn’t too high.

For more information on interpreting your credit score or learning how to repair credit to increase your chances of qualifying for a loan, visit If you’re unsure about your credit situation, offers a free, personalized credit consultation and recommended solutions to help you boost your credit score. Call us today at 833-333-2283 .

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