Experian & Equifax credit reports

I've used the Experian credit reports for years now - my credit scores have always been either 999 or somewhere close in the high 900s. So I was surprised yesterday (Sept 3, 2022) to find my Experian credit score had plummeted to 704. No obvious reason to me, other than that some of the underlying data was wrong. Then (same day) I checked my Equifax credit score - it was a perfect 1000. So what's likely going on here? Both Experian and Equifax presumably have access to the same underlying data. So why the sudden drop in the Experian score, and why the big divergence from the Equifax score? Suggestions, theories and observations welcomed!

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  • SusieTSusieT Forumite
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    Experian computer had coffee spilled on it? 
    Seriously though, since the score is meaningless as Experian do not loan money and those who do loan will have their own parameters, then as long as the data is correct you are ok. The score can be high for a bankrupt and low for someone with millions in the bank, and will go down and up with any change good or bad. 
    Just make sure you pay things on time and with cards that you pay more than minimum or best of all pay in full each month and ignore what they think the lenders will score you at.
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  • edited 4 September 2022 at 11:22AM
    sourcratessourcrates Forumite
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    edited 4 September 2022 at 11:22AM
    The scores mean essentially nothing in the UK.

    If you read any thread on the subject, you will find this has been said many, many times.

    CRA`s don`t lend money, however they do act as a broker, when you apply for credit, the specific lender will credit check you, using their own scoring method, only you see that number on Experian/Equifax/credit karma, no one else.

    The score moves up or down with any kind of change, its credit history and your current circumstances that matter, not some old number.

    Selling your credit score is a way for the CRA to make extra income, as well as taking a commission on every financial product sold that purports to increase said score, clever marketing is what it is, nothing more.
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  • Graham1982Graham1982 Forumite
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    Hello OP:

    I also hasten to add, and I am sure @EssexHebridean would agree, it is the broker element of the CRA that is their bread and butter. I have accounts with Totally Money, Experian and then latterly ClearScore. I registered with all three because at one stage, like you, I was questioning why I had a 1,000 score with Experian (which at the time, if it was meaningful would be completely wrong as I was missing payments on my CC regularly and had a hefty balance) and then a much lower score with Totally Money.

    It is good to have access to multiple CRAs because one may not pick up an issue/delinquent account that another might.

    Anyway, be very careful with ClearScore, every other day at least they hammer my inbox with marketing messages loaded with intrigue "Have you been accepted for our unbeatable offers" and "Let's see what your credit score unlocks"

    I detect within these an element of hack marketing psychology - if you are not eligible or are refused for these loans and other debt products you are in some way failing or deficient, but wait, there is an easy fix so you can be less of a failure, buy our "credit builder products" to improve the pointless number that we give you, you feel better but are probably no more or less likely to secure the products being sold. Obviously, by following the advice they give you, which is little more than common sense, don’t miss payments, don’t live in overdraft, don’t open too many credit accounts, do pay more than minimum payment, your credit worthiness will improve but post hoc, ergo propter hoc – the number of your credit score has no correlation with whether or not you get accepted for a financial product.

     

    Hope this helps

     

    Graham

  • Rob5342Rob5342 Forumite
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    I agree with the comments on credit scores. I have four defaults but my clearscore app says my score is 742 comared to a UK average of 585 and a my area score of 612. Either the whole country is in a massive financial mess or clearscore are trying to get me to sign up for the Zable credit card on their offers page.
  • edited 15 September 2022 at 12:28PM
    tifotifo Forumite
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    edited 15 September 2022 at 12:28PM
    The scores mean essentially nothing in the UK.

    The score moves up or down with any kind of change, its credit history and your current circumstances that matter, not some old number.
    Every decline letter i've had always says "please see such and such credit ref agency" and credit history for the last 6 years is an old number after a few years.

    I haven't missed any payments etc for many years yet my score goes down for no reason. I recently cleared a credit card and my score went down! I'm at what the agencies consider 'very poor' but that's a different story.
  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    tifo said:
    The scores mean essentially nothing in the UK.

    The score moves up or down with any kind of change, its credit history and your current circumstances that matter, not some old number.
    Every decline letter i've had always says "please see such and such credit ref agency" and credit history for the last 6 years is an old number after a few years.

    I haven't missed any payments etc for many years yet my score goes down for no reason. I recently cleared a credit card and my score went down! I'm at what the agencies consider 'very poor' but that's a different story.

    To reiterate what has been said thousands of times on this forum, the score you see is meaningless, but the underlying data is important.  It's the data that a lender will see, and is what they base their own internal scores on.
    And, as has also been said many times, the gimmick score dished out by the CRA will drop in response to any change in your credit circumstances, good or bad.  So your score has dropped because you cleared a credit card.  That's a good thing, but your score still dropped.
  • tifotifo Forumite
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    the CRA will drop in response to any change in your credit circumstances, good or bad.
    That's just not right .... The CRAs make up things as they go along.
  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    tifo said:

    the CRA will drop in response to any change in your credit circumstances, good or bad.
    That's just not right .... The CRAs make up things as they go along.
    I'd argue that it's neither wrong nor right - just irrelevant.  Perhaps it could be argued that it's a bit underhand of them to use the scores, and their magical "score-improver-fairy-dust" to try and sell unnecessary products to consumers.  But at the end of the day they're a business, with the sole aim of making money, just like any other.  I'm sure there are many companies out there who use some questionable tactics/advertising to try and make money - not illegal, just morally dubious.

  • Graham1982Graham1982 Forumite
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    tifo said:

    the CRA will drop in response to any change in your credit circumstances, good or bad.
    That's just not right .... The CRAs make up things as they go along.
    I'd argue that it's neither wrong nor right - just irrelevant.  Perhaps it could be argued that it's a bit underhand of them to use the scores, and their magical "score-improver-fairy-dust" to try and sell unnecessary products to consumers.  But at the end of the day they're a business, with the sole aim of making money, just like any other.  I'm sure there are many companies out there who use some questionable tactics/advertising to try and make money - not illegal, just morally dubious.

    My issue with it is that they don't necessarily target, but they attract people that are either vulnerable or not financially literate. I remember several years ago when I had a maxed credit card, overdraft, missed payments etc that I was focused on the credit score and had no real idea how to tackle the issue I had. Fortunately, I came here and people pretty much shook me out of my way of thinking, but if one of the companies that the CRAs acted as a broker for offered me a "way out" (read a further avenue for getting more into debt), I probably would have taken it.

    Yes it can be agreed that nobody forces you to buy things and you need to use your discretion etc but people cannot always be relied upon to do this - look at the issue with sub-prime lending, mortgages and the like back around 2007. It could easily be argued "Well obviously you must've known you couldn't afford that mortgage and you should've thought of that" however, people didn't. So I do feel there is a slight problem with people selling a solution to a problem which effectively does not work, to people that can probably ill-afford to waste money.
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