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I check my credit score monthly using a credit tracking app provided by my credit card company. I use a reminder to check on the same day each month, and have been tracking my credit score for almost two years.

In the last year, the app switched from a TransUnion model to VantageScore 3.0. I have TransUnion data for the entire duration, but only about a year's worth of VantageScore data.

I have good credit, and my TransUnion score has increased steadily from ~740 to ~780 in the last two years.

My VantageScore started around ~760 and increased to ~800 last month. This morning when I checked my credit score, it had dropped just over 50 points to ~750.

My TransUnion score has stayed solid at ~780.

My questions are:

Should I be concerned about this sudden change in score?

Is there any way I can determine what changed to account for the sudden change in credit score?

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    This could have nothing to do with your behavior and everything to do with VantageScore score changing their calculation algorithm. Heck the new one my have defects! On one hand I would not be too worried, your score is still very high. On the other, I might be worried that the score dropped from a non-authorized hard inquiry/credit line opening. However, you think that such a thing would be reflected in TransUnion as well. – Pete B. Jun 8 '16 at 14:32
  • @PeteB., I didn't see any new inquiries or credit lines, I think it may be related to a particularly large purchase that was just posted. – zzzzBov Jun 8 '16 at 14:42
  • ^ That supports @Joe's answer, that utilization might be an issue. – Pete B. Jun 8 '16 at 15:06
  • To see if this was the reason you simply could pay 90% of your balance before the statement is posted and see if it goes back to normal. I personally would not be concerned as long as there are no hard inquiries. – Freddy Jun 8 '16 at 17:29
  • Pretty sure that "VantageScore vs TransUnion" is an apples-to-oranges comparison. TransUnion is a credit reporting bureau; VantageScore is a score computed from your credit report. You can get a score based on your report from any bureau (so you can get a VantageScore from TransUnion, or another score like FICO from TransUnion). Can you clarify what the old "TransUnion" score was? (Perhaps it was an earlier version of VantageScore.) – BrenBarn Jun 8 '16 at 18:57
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It's nearly impossible to answer definitively without looking at your credit report, which understandably you wouldn't post here (please don't!). But a few general comments/suggestions.

First, don't worry about short term changes that are not caused by fraudulent activity, and are not caused by a late payment or other negative activity. If my score dropped by 50 points, I would first make sure the accounts on my credit report were my accounts - that there wasn't a new account that I didn't know about - and I would second make sure there wasn't an account that I was late paying on that I didn't know about. This could include both forgetting to make a CC payment, and also something like a medical bill I didn't realize I owed show up suddenly - that's not uncommon.

Second, particularly when you have a high (800+) score, it's not uncommon for utilization to play a big factor, and utilization can vary from month to month. My utilization is always low, because I have several high balance cards, but it still shifts from anywhere between 0% and 10% depending on when the cards report usage and what I've been buying recently. That causes significant shifts in my credit, largely because it's the only potential negative - I have a reasonably long established history, good history with no dings, etc.

I would see what happens next month, after you pay off the big item you said in comments that you posted recently. If it goes back up - then you know that was the problem. If it doesn't, and the reported balance is lower, then you may want to look at other items (such as Pete noted an unauthorized hard inquiry) with a full credit report pull of all three agencies.

Also, note that you can usually find out what the algorithm considers your 'biggest negatives'; I like to see what those are each month just to make sure they don't change. (For me they're always utilization and length of credit history; neither is meaningfully negative, but they're the most negative. If that changed suddenly, it might be a sign of a problem.)

  • I double checked my utilization, and also used the "Simulator" in the credit tracking app to test what would change by paying off the large balance. Sure enough, after simulating paying off the full balance (which I'm doing anyway) my credit score returned to normal. Really I'm just surprised that the score would swing that drastically for a single month of higher utilization. – zzzzBov Jun 9 '16 at 3:13

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