advertisement
advertisement

Credit Karma weighs in on why its scores are different after viral Twitter discussions

All scores are not created equal.

Credit Karma weighs in on why its scores are different after viral Twitter discussions
[Photo: philipdyer/iStock]
advertisement
advertisement

Twitter was abuzz today with questions about Credit Karma, the Intuit-owned personal finance company that provides people with free copies of their credit scores. It’s unclear what exactly prompted the discussions, but some users had noted how Credit Karma scores can be, shall we say, more generous than other scores out there.

advertisement

The short answer for why different entities produce different scores about your credit is because they’re calculated using information from three distinct credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—and that information can vary. For instance, a lender may report negative or even erroneous information about you to only one of the bureaus, meaning scores that factor in that bureau would be negatively impacted.

Moreover, different scores are generated using different scoring models. Credit Karma scores use models from VantageScore, which is not as widely used as the market dominant FICO. This is not to say that the score you receive from Credit Karma is inaccurate, but it might very well be different from the score a lender would actually use to assess your creditworthiness. As CNBC reported, it’s not uncommon for consumers to receive a higher score from a service that provides free scores only to be shocked to learn that their FICO score is lower than they expected.

Reached for comment, a Credit Karma spokesperson said that while credit scores may be calculated differently, they typically paint a similar picture about your credit in the end. “It’s important to note that credit scores are highly correlative,” the company said. “That means if you’re rated a ‘good’ in one scoring model, you most likely have a ‘good’ credit rating in all other models. Most credit scores generally consider the same types of factors. While there are certain nuances to credit scores, they usually just weigh different factors or time periods differently.”

That said, the more you know about your scores, the better. If you’re planning to apply for a loan in the near future, it’s a good idea to find out your FICO score beforehand. Often, you can get your FICO score from your credit card company. If not, there are a few services that offer it for free.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

More