Why is my credit score different from what I thought when I applied for a car loan preapproval?

I applied for car loan preapproval, but the credit score the lender said I had was different from my research. Why would this be?

Answer
This is a common occurrence, so know you aren’t alone! If you noticed a different credit score when you applied for car loan preapproval, it’s the result of one of three things:
  • Your credit score has changed since you applied.
  • The lender used a different credit bureau than the one you viewed.
  • The lender used a different credit model or rating system.
In most cases, it’s the last two reasons. You may have looked up one credit bureau, but the lender uses a different one. Depending on the lender, they’ll use one or more of the following credit reports:
  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion
Additionally, there are several different ways to rate credit, including:
  • FICO®
  • VantageScore®
  • Custom scoring models created by the lender
Because of this, you should always look at all three of your credit reports to avoid surprises. If possible, try a credit checking tool that gives you access to multiple types of scoring models or bureaus. Doing this before you apply for a car loan or preapproval is essential so you can get the best rate, even if you’re just shopping around.
And speaking of shopping around, don’t forget about your car insurance on your new vehicle. With the Jerry app, you can compare rates from 50+ insurance providers to get the coverage you need at the best price.
Eric Schad
Answered on Dec 10, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.
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