Table of Contents
What’s the difference between TransUnion and Equifax?
TransUnion and Equifax are two of the three major credit bureaus in the US (the third being Experian). They both create credit reports using information they receive about your credit accounts from lenders and other companies that handle your debts.
In general, both companies are quite similar. However, Equifax and TransUnion process and report information related to your credit history in different ways:
1. They may present different information on your credit report
TransUnion and Equifax generally report the same types of information about you (i.e., the same types of debts), but their records aren’t always the same.
When you have a credit account, your creditor will probably report its status and your payment history to one or more of the three major credit bureaus, but they aren’t required to report to all three. 1 As a result, your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports won’t necessarily be identical because not all lenders report to both companies.
Several sources also claim that the payment history records on Equifax credit reports only extend back 81 months rather than the traditional seven years (84 months). This is backed up by sample credit reports that are available online. 2 3
2. They offer different credit monitoring services
Equifax and Transunion offer slightly different credit monitoring services at different prices. Equifax offers a variety of credit monitoring services priced from $4.95 per month to $19.95 per month. 4 5
- Access to your credit reports: Equifax gives you annual credit reports from all three bureaus and daily access to their own credit reports, whereas TransUnion only gives you access to their own reports.
- Access to your credit scores: TransUnion and Equifax both give you access to your VantageScore, which is updated daily (based on information in the credit report that they produce for you). Equifax also gives you annual VantageScore credit scores from the other two credit bureaus.
- Credit monitoring: Both TransUnion and Equifax notify you of any major changes to your credit reports from all three bureaus. Equifax also notifies you of any major changes to your Equifax credit score.
- Credit advice: TransUnion offers a tool called CreditCompass, which provides you with recommendations to help you improve your credit score. They also offer a credit simulator tool that predicts how your current credit score could change in response to future actions and events.
- Identity theft protection: Both Equifax and TransUnion offer a variety of tools to help prevent identity theft, as well as insurance to cover expenses resulting from identity theft.
- Additional protection features for families: Equifax provides credit monitoring for an additional adult and four children.
Why are my TransUnion and Equifax scores so different?
There are several reasons why you might have different credit scores with Equifax and TransUnion. Minor differences between your scores aren’t generally cause for concern, but significant differences are worth investigating.
Here are some likely explanations:
Different information from creditors
As mentioned, your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports will contain different information if some of your creditors only report your account information to one bureau or the other. Your TransUnion and Equifax credit scores will probably be different if the two bureaus have different information on file for you, even if they’re using the same scoring model.
Different update times
Discrepancies can also arise between your TransUnion and Equifax credit scores when your creditors report new information to the two bureaus at different times. This contributes to when and how often your credit score is updated.
For example, if you were late paying a credit card bill, your creditor might report the late payment to Equifax first but not get around to reporting it to TransUnion until the following week. In this case, there might be a brief period where your Equifax credit score is significantly lower than your TransUnion credit score.
Even if the two bureaus received updated information on the same day, it’s possible that the credit scores you’re seeing were calculated on different days. For example, a paid credit monitoring service that provides daily updates may show you a different credit score to the one you’d see on an unpaid partner site that updates less frequently.
Different credit scoring models
Equifax and TransUnion don’t always use the same credit scoring models. When you get your score from TransUnion, they’ll calculate it with the VantageScore 3.0 model (which uses a score range of 300–850), whereas Equifax may use its own scoring model (which has a score range of 280–850). 7 8
Although these scoring models take the same information into account, they weigh certain factors differently. With that said, a high Equifax credit score generally corresponds to a high TransUnion credit score.
Where can I get my Equifax and TransUnion credit scores?
Because Equifax and TransUnion are separate credit bureaus that work independently from each other, if you want to see what your credit score with each bureau is, you’ll have to check them in different places.
Where to get your Equifax credit score
You can buy your Equifax VantageScore from the Equifax website. Equifax also gives you access to your FICO score when you pay to access your Equifax credit report. Alternatively, the same FICO score (derived from your Equifax credit report) is available on FICO’s consumer website. 9
As mentioned, Equifax has its own score, which is calculated using a proprietary model and is different from your FICO score and VantageScore. 8 However, Equifax refers to this score as an “educational score,” and doesn’t provide it to lenders.
Where to get your TransUnion credit score
Your TransUnion VantageScore (calculated using the standard VantageScore formula but with information only from your TransUnion credit report) is available directly from the TransUnion website. Your TransUnion FICO score is not available directly from the TransUnion website, only from FICO’s consumer website.
TransUnion also has its own proprietary models, but these are primarily designed for businesses and are not widely available to consumers. 10
Is TransUnion or Equifax more accurate?
Neither TransUnion or Equifax is more accurate or more important. The two bureaus provide very similar services, and the slight differences between them don’t make one objectively better than the other.
With that said, some creditors may prefer to use reports and scores from a specific bureau when making lending decisions. 11 You can always ask your prospective lender which credit report they’ll check, but they aren’t obliged to tell you.
In any case, before applying for new credit, always make sure that the information on your credit reports is accurate.
Disputing your credit report
Regularly check all your credit reports and be sure to dispute any errors that you find. To do this, you’ll need to contact the credit bureau that published the error as well as the creditor that reported it. The bureau then has 30 days to investigate the case and provide you with a response. 12
Here’s the contact information you’ll need to file a dispute with TransUnion and Equifax:
|Where to send your dispute letter||Equifax|
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
|TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
|What you’ll need to send|
|Dispute online||Equifax’s online dispute form||TransUnion’s online dispute form|