Each of the bureaus provides different data, so you really have three different FICO scores -- one using data from each bureau -- that can vary.
Why share all this confusing nonsense about credit scores and bureaus?
One of the most common pieces of advice I hear about student loans and credit scores is "be careful about paying off your loans too early because it might lower your credit score." This always sounded a little odd.
When I was considering whether to repay my student loans more quickly than required, I wondered at this advice and really wanted to understand why that might be the case.
You're trying to give yourself the best options financially.
Your credit score is only a part of that and certainly smaller than what you're actually spending and saving.
so it's basically just like financing a fridge with equal monthly payments? FICO: "Yeah, a fridge." (Now I'm paraphrasing.) So, if that's the case, how and why would paying off an installment loan early adversely affect your credit?
The answer is this: what considered by FICO, and many other credit scores, is the diversity of your credit.
Furthermore, according to FICO, the factor of "types of credit used" only accounts for roughly 10 percent of the score, whereas "amounts owed" corresponds to roughly 30 percent.
I'll say again that I think you should almost never hesitate to pay down student loans early because it might impact your credit.
I certainly won't bat an eyelash when I have that opportunity because I believe a potential impact on my credit score will be outweighed by saved interest and the satisfaction of fully paying off my student loans.
This, as far as I can tell, is the only way in which paying off a student loan early adversely affects your credit.
And so, if people are right in saying that paying off early can reduce your credit score, why do I say that shouldn't really matter?
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that concern for your credit score should almost never prevent you from paying off your loans early, and paying early is likely to improve your score in some cases.