Hi @tpask8r, thanks for the details, that helps narrow things down.
Some variation is no doubt due to the credit scoring model used and the credit report data it’s applied to. NerdWallet uses the VantageScore 3.0 model and applies it to your TransUnion credit report. VantageScore and FICO consider much the same credit scoring factors, with some differences in how they weight them.
Usually the big factors swaying a score are payment history and credit utilization. Clearly, you have mastered credit utilization! And I’m betting if you had a missed payment depressing your score you’d have mentioned that.
So, that narrows it down to inquiries and age of accounts. You note you’ve gone from 2 credit cards late last year to 35 now. That means a lot of hard inquiries and a big hit on average age of accounts.
As you note, FICO says inquiries count for 10% of its scoring algorithm, while length of credit history is 15%. VantageScore, on the other hand, says inquiries are “less influential” while type and duration of credit is “highly influential.”
I’m betting that your VantageScore is reacting to those two things:
- Lots of new accounts diluted the overall average age of your credit accounts.
- A flurry of applications in a short period can be interpreted as a signal of financial instability. Doesn’t sound like that describes you — but the algorithm can’t necessarily distinguish someone opening several accounts to optimize rewards vs. someone who’s stacking up debt.
The effect of inquiries is usually short-lived; they fall off your credit report at 2 years but stop affecting your score much sooner than that.
Your case would be interesting to follow because of the number of inquiries. Do you see a rebound in 3 to 6 months? That is usually the case with a few inquiries, but how does your VantageScore handle a big batch of inquiries? How much of a rebound will you see as the inquiries fade but your average age of accounts remains low?
I hope you’ll let us know! Thanks for sharing your situation, it’s really interesting stuff!