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.


Think you know your credit score? You are wrong!

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN:  These days, everyone seems to know their “credit score”.  Many people subscribe to one or all  3 credit services, or get a score from a place like CreditKarma.com.

Before you get too excited about that credit score, understand that the score numbers you just received most likely was based on the “Advantage Score” model. While that IS a credit score, that is NOT the same scoring model mortgage companies use.

Mortgage Credit Score
Mortgage Credit Score

There are many different ‘types’ of credit scores.

Mortgage lenders care about how you handle mortgages, credit card companies care about how you handle credit cards. The reports these industries pull tend to be weighted towards their industry.  The Advantage score you get when you look at your score, or from your credit card statement simply is NOT the same scoring model lenders use.

Another way to look at is is think about buying a car. You tell someone you bought a new Ford. Great, but what model Ford? Did you get a Ford Focus, or was in a new Ford Truck?

Getting your credit score somewhere?? Great, what scoring model is is based on? They are generally all FICO scores, but what scoring model is it based on?? Advantage score, Beacon Score?   Typically the Advantage Score is noticeably higher than your mortgage score.

If the credit score you are looking at is from a mortgage company, then that should be accurate if any other mortgage company pulls your credit…  Or at least until something changes, and credit scores can potentially change everyday.  I’ll save that for another article…

Ultimately, the ONLY credit score that matters is the credit score your Loan Officer obtains on the day you start your mortgage application!

For most people, the score you see and get on your own, or through your credit card statement are close, and give you a ballpark idea of your lender score, but don’t be surprised when we tell you a different number.