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My Bank of America credit card shows me a "FICO credit score powered by TransUnion". I also have an account with CreditSesame which shows me a "credit score powered by TransUnion" (No FICO is mentioned). The Credit Sesame score is consistently ~60 points higher than the score I see through BoA. Most months they move together (both go up/down) but sometimes they move in different directions.

Why are these not equal?

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Bank of America offers their credit card customers free monthly FICO credit scores. The FICO score is the credit score that is used by most lenders for determining credit worthiness. The score is obtained using a secret proprietary formula.

CreditSesame, CreditKarma, and other free credit monitoring websites offer VantageScore credit scores, a competitor of FICO that uses a different formula.

Your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) contain your credit history data. This data can be used as inputs for any credit score formula. Both Bank of America and CreditSesame are using your TransUnion report as inputs for their score formulas, but since the formulas are different, they yield different scores.

  • Interesting. So should I give any credence, really, to the higher Credit Sesame score since it is not FICO? – Brad Oct 5 '16 at 17:56
  • @Brad FICO scores are used more often, but VantageScore claims that their market share is rising. Since you noticed that they usually go up and down together, either one is useful if you just want to ensure that your score is headed in the direction that you want. However, you may want to ask yourself: How much does credit score matter? – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Oct 5 '16 at 18:07
  • Well normally I wouldn't care because but given I'm trying to buy a house soon and my credit score affect available interest rates it is kind of important for the next little bit. I'll start not caring again soon hopefully. – Brad Oct 5 '16 at 19:38
  • I have the same thing with DISCOVER but the FICO score they give me never matched the FICO scores on my refi or car loan scores. The FICO scores from my bank were always about 5% lower than what DISCOVER had. – Hannover Fist Oct 5 '16 at 23:17
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    @HannoverFist FICO scores can vary if the different banks use reports from different bureaus as inputs. In addition, there have been different versions of the FICO score formula over the years, and some banks use an older version of the FICO score, so that could also account for the differences. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Oct 6 '16 at 0:12
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You see a difference because they are two different scores. They both use TransUnion data in their calculations but have different scoring algorithms, leading to a different score. It is generally recommended to pay little attention to non-FICO scores since most lenders will use a FICO score and as you have seen, they can be substantially different.

  • My credit karma score is about ~70 points higher than my FICO score, go figure. – NuWin Oct 5 '16 at 17:28

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