Is Credit Karma your real credit score?

Many people get their credit score from places like Credit Karma, and off their credit card statements. But are these your real credit scores?

The answer is YES and NO. Yes, they are a real credit score, but you may get a very different score when your credit is reviewed by lenders.

The confusing comes because there are many DIFFERENT scoring models out there, including multiple different ones from the same credit bureau. Each company and scoring model calculates your score a bit differently, but they all use information from your report.

The three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – create your credit reports, with credit scoring models like VantageScore, Beacon Score, and various FICO scores. These are use to come up with a score that typically ranges from 300-850. Theses scores for you based on their own proprietary models.

VantageScore 3.0 is a credit scoring model generally used whenever you the consumer are able to look at your own credit score, while most lenders actually use different scoring models.

Basically the thing to understand is something known as Industry-Specific Credit Scoring models, which are tailored to each industry. If you buying a new car, or new home – it may make sense for that lender to consult a credit scoring model created with for what they care most about. So car lenders care about how you handle car loans, credit card companies care how you handle credit cards, and finally, mortgage lenders car most about how you handle mortgage loans. When you look at the Vantage score, I generally call that the generic score because it is not tied to any specific industry.

For example, FICO® has all of these different models: FICO® Score 9, FICO® Auto Score 9, FICO® Bankcard Score 9, FICO CLASSIC V5, FICO CLASSIC (04),  Fair ISAAC (VER. 2).

So your score WILL VARY based on where you get it, and what type of company pulls it. It is most common for us to see your mortgage score easily 20 points lower than your Vantage score.

Your credit scores are typically based on things like how often you make payments on time and how many accounts you have in good standing.

Your score will never factor in personal information like your race, gender, religion, marital status or national origin.


Why free credit report scores are not accurate

Why free credit report scores are not accurate

Minneapolis, MN:  As a mortgage loan officer, every single day, someone tells me their credit score they received from Credit Karma, some “free credit report” web site, their Discover Card statement, or even directly from the actual credit reporting agency.

Everyday, I tell them that is NOT their correct mortgage credit score.

We jokingly call those score your “Fake ‘O’ Score”  – (joke for FICO score)

Why isn’t my credit score my credit score?

It is actually rather simple. There are multiple credit score models, and the models vary by what you are doing.

Your Credit Score

When you apply for a credit card, the credit card company cares most about how you handle credit cards, and the likelihood of you defaulting on a credit card. Like wise, when you apply for a car loan, the scores are based on the likelihood of you defaulting on an auto loan. The same holds true for mortgages loans.

When you obtain your credit score from ANY SITE that YOU as the consumer are able to get your credit report, you are getting a GENERIC score.  That is, a score NOT based on any one industry risk factor.

It is very common for mortgage lenders to pull scores that are 20 points, even 30-points lower that you just saw on one of those other sites…. and NO, it isn’t because we pulled your credit!!  That truth about inquiries NOT lowering your score is for another article