Author Topic: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?  (Read 3833 times)

begood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 957
My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« on: April 10, 2015, 01:01:25 PM »
We applied for the Bank of America cash rewards Visa last weekend - it'll probably rotate in as our main card (*sniff*, bye, Amazon points!) since we enrolled in some Preferred Rewards malarkey that increases our rewards by a decent percentage if you funnel it into a BoA account. Whatever. Really, the only reason we got it is because Costco is phasing out its relationship with American Express next March and I didn't want to only have one true credit card.

SO. We got a notice in the mail from BoA today, addressed to my mister, saying his request for credit has been approved and that his current Equifax score is 737. "Huh," I thought to myself. "Why isn't it higher than that?"

We pay off three joint cards every month. No missed payments. Nothing. Nada. No student loans, no mortgage, no car loans. No debt beyond our rotating credit on the cards.

I came on here and searched the forum archives for info on "credit score", then hauled myself over to creditkarma.com, made myself an account (for me, not for my mister), and lo and behold, according to them, MY scores are 827 (Trans) and 824 (Equifax). So what the heck? Why would my score be 90 points higher than my spouse's? Even if they're off by a bit, I don't get why there's any discrepancy at all.

We applied for two cards this year - the True Earnings AmEx from Costco and this BoA rewards card, but both are joint. I just don't get it.

The ONLY thing that is not in both our names is my car, which I took out a loan for, then paid it off within five months two years ago. Is that it?

Lis

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2015, 02:16:41 PM »
Hmm... how long have you guys been filing everything jointly? The only thing I can think of is maybe your credit history is longer?

I'd pull all the credit reports and scan them over just in case. You would think if someone stole his identity or anything, his score would be tanked. But maybe there's one payment that slipped through the cracks within the past few years? It's worth looking into, if you haven't already.

I love CreditKarma, and I'd recommend he sign up for it as well. If anything, it notifies you when an account (bank, credit card, loan, etc.) has been opened in your name. Great little check to make sure nothing fraudulent has happened.

begood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 957
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2015, 02:21:54 PM »
We've been filing jointly for 26 years, Lis!

Next week, I will sign him up, and I suppose I should pull our three reports from annualcreditreport.com. We have never done that before.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2015, 03:01:08 PM »
tip - pull reports one at time, every 4 months rather than all at once.  That way, if there's anything wrong, you'll catch it sooner.

It could be the car, it could be student loans, length of credit, one missed payment (I missed one once bc they switched it to paperless billing w/o telling me and it)...

begood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 957
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2015, 03:11:28 PM »
tip - pull reports one at time, every 4 months rather than all at once.  That way, if there's anything wrong, you'll catch it sooner.

It could be the car, it could be student loans, length of credit, one missed payment (I missed one once bc they switched it to paperless billing w/o telling me and it)...

Thanks for that tip, CommonCents. I'll do the first one next week. And I should pull one for him and one for me, right? I was all the way through the registration process for creditkarma before I realized that it was only going to give me mine, not both of ours. *SIGH*

Lis

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2015, 03:21:00 PM »
If you're concerned something might be wrong, I'd pull all three now, then switch to the one every four months next year. If not, spacing them apart like that is definitely the way to go! And yes, pull both of yours separately. If you're a couple that shares everything financially, maybe even pull his one month, yours two months later, his again two months later... although that might get confusing haha.

And 26 years? Yeah at that point it shouldn't matter lol. Unless he didn't get his first credit card until several years after you did? Credit scores are one of those frustrating things - we never know exactly how they're figured out. CreditKarma may not be spot on, but they're definitely helpful.

I think it's Discover gives you your score every month on your statement. If you're looking to open another new card, that might be a good idea.

I'm asking because I have no clue - how does opening a CC jointly work? Is one of you the primary holder and the other secondary, or are you equal? Do you have a combined limit or two separate?

begood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 957
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2015, 03:27:56 PM »
If you're concerned something might be wrong, I'd pull all three now, then switch to the one every four months next year. If not, spacing them apart like that is definitely the way to go! And yes, pull both of yours separately. If you're a couple that shares everything financially, maybe even pull his one month, yours two months later, his again two months later... although that might get confusing haha.

And 26 years? Yeah at that point it shouldn't matter lol. Unless he didn't get his first credit card until several years after you did? Credit scores are one of those frustrating things - we never know exactly how they're figured out. CreditKarma may not be spot on, but they're definitely helpful.

I think it's Discover gives you your score every month on your statement. If you're looking to open another new card, that might be a good idea.

I'm asking because I have no clue - how does opening a CC jointly work? Is one of you the primary holder and the other secondary, or are you equal? Do you have a combined limit or two separate?

I like the idea of pulling all three now, and then doing the switch off to quarterly or so next year. The newest card - the BoA one - is in his name, and then I'm added on as a second card holder. For the Costco card, I'm pretty sure I'm the primary card holder... with him on as a second.

Our situation is a little weird because we don't pay rent and we don't have a mortgage, and that's going on six years now. We never had student loans. We paid for his car with cash in 2012. I don't have time... no, that's not true - I have time, but I don't have the emotional energy yet to do it. I will. I realize money's not supposed to be emotional, but for me it is. It ties back in to scrubbyfish's thread earlier today: I assume that something will go wrong, and it's 5:30 on a Friday afternoon, and I'm traveling this weekend, so whatever I found wrong would have to wait until Tuesday, by which time I would have dissolved into a stressed-out puddle of goo. So... I'll do it next week!

iamlindoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1520
    • The Earth Awaits
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2015, 03:29:45 PM »
CreditKarma "scores" aren't actually accurate scores.  They're what's called "FAKO" as opposed to "FICO."  It's an approximation or estimate of the credit score based on the data in the credit report.  If you want to see the actual scores, you should pull them for both of you from one of the actual reporting bureaus.  It is not uncommon for creditKarma to be 50-70 points off from the legit score you can purchase from the credit reporting agency.

I too use CreditKarma on a weekly basis, but when I actually need to *use* my score, I always pay $20 or so to Equifax to buy all three scores.  Right now my CreditKarma score and the actual paid score differ by 15-20 points.

Catbert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1543
  • Location: Southern California
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2015, 04:20:49 PM »
^^^Yeah, what iamlindoro said.  You're comparing a real FICO score to CreditKarma's estimate of what a real score might be.  If you really want to compare scores (why?) then go to myfico.com and get the real thing.  You may find that they are much closer than you think now.

I'd still pull a credit report on you DH to see if there is anything screwy on his underlying credit report.

A cc of mine now provides my FICO score monthly and I find that it easily the bounces around 20 points just based on how much my cc bills are for any given month. 

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2798
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2015, 05:03:33 PM »
The ONLY thing that is not in both our names is my car, which I took out a loan for, then paid it off within five months two years ago. Is that it?

Almost certainly this plays a role.  Between the car loan (even paid off), and the different source of the credit scores, that's probably the entire difference.  One of the factors in a credit score is number of types of debt, so that's a big plus for you that's not there for your husband. And without a mortgage (rent is almost never reported to credit agencies), that probably plays a big role.

terran

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1488
Re: My credit score is higher than my husband's... why?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2015, 05:56:11 PM »
You're also not both primaries on your credit cards (even if you both have cards) because the card companies don't do that (at least not anymore -- we've tried). So if your card use on "your" card(s) are more pleasing to the credit unions for whatever reason, then maybe that could contribute.