When you apply for a loan, lenders typically pull credit reports from one or all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
It’s rare to know which credit bureau your lender will use before going through the process of obtaining a loan. In most cases, you won’t be able to determine which credit bureau it will use.
Because of this, our Equifax-only lenders list only has one option: Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Why Your Credit Score Varies Between the Big Three
The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each credit bureau will report a credit score between 300 and 850, but your actual number may vary by bureau.
The reason for this is that lenders aren’t required to report credit information to all three bureaus — or at all. So bureaus don’t have access to the same information.
For example, if you have a delinquent loan with a credit card company, that company can choose to report it to just one of the credit bureaus. That credit bureau will calculate a lower score based on this information.
Perhaps more importantly, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion use their own algorithms to calculate your credit score. That means, even if all three credit bureaus have the same information, your score can still vary by bureau depending on how the bureau weighs certain criteria.
So, which credit bureau will give you the most favorable credit score? That depends on your personal information and credit history.
If you know that Equifax gives you a higher score, it would make sense to look for a lender that uses Equifax only. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a loan company that states it only uses Equifax — or any one credit bureau, for that matter.
Why Loan Companies Use More Than One Credit Bureau
Lenders want to make sure that someone seeking a loan will pay it back. To that end, lenders will pull however many reports they think are necessary to make an informed decision.
The bigger the loan (like a mortgage), the more likely a lender will pull from multiple credit bureaus.
There are also situations where a lender will pull from more than one credit bureau. For instance, if your credit score is borderline Fair-Good from one bureau, a lender will often consult another bureau.
Once the lender receives your credit reports, the lender will use the lower of two scores — or the middle of three — to make a decision regarding your loan, Forbes reports.
Unfortunately, in most cases, you won’t know which credit bureau a lender uses until after your credit is pulled.
To put it simply, lenders don’t sign exclusivity contracts with specific credit bureaus. Lenders are free to pull reports from any bureau they want.
Also, be aware that there are more than the above-mentioned “big three” credit bureaus.
Should You Get a Copy of Your Credit Reports?
Before you submit a loan application, it might seem like a good idea to get a copy of your credit reports.
However, there are a few things to consider before doing this:
- Educational credit score: When you order a credit report from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, you’ll be getting what’s known as an educational credit score, according to Lexington Law. This may not be the same score that lenders get; educational credit scores give you a general idea of what your credit score it. To obtain a free annual credit report courtesy of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
- FICO score: Lenders typically request that credit bureaus report what’s known as a Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score. There are multiple ways to calculate a FICO score, with each formula looking at different factors, according to Credit Karma. Credit Karma gives the example that if you’re applying for an auto loan, the auto loan lender can ask for a FICO Auto Score that may weigh missed car payments more heavily than other factors. To get your official FICO scores, go to MyFICO. There, you can choose between getting a FICO report from all three credit bureaus or just one. Your official FICO scores are the ones most lenders will use when evaluating a mortgage, credit card, or auto loan, according to MyFICO.
If we could give you the Equifax only lenders list, we would. However, it’s nearly impossible to know which credit bureau a lender will use — and most will consult more than one credit bureau.
However, we were able to find one lender that says it only pulls from Equifax: Pentagon Federal Credit Union.