CreditKarma.com Makes Free Credit Score More Like FICO's

The CreditKarma.com site we told you about in our roundup of “5 No BS Ways To Get A Credit Score For Free” has changed its calibration system so the free, advertising-supported, credit score it gives you is now on the 300-850 range, just like your FICO score. It’s still not your FICO score, but it does make the approximation, based on TransUnion data, more relevant. If you’re do some major money moves, like getting a mortgage, you would still want to pay for the FICO score for total accuracy, but if you just want a general sense of how you’re doing, CreditKarma.com is a great way to do it for free.

Credit Karma [Official Site]

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  1. cotr says:

    gotta add an “m” to the link. currently points to creditkarma.co.

  2. Tank says:

    see, now that pisses me off a little. i read the site and believed it was actually retrieving the credit score from TU, now to find they’re actually using a model that’s similar, and not actually providing the accurate score.

  3. sjaguar says:

    I have been using CreditKarma.com since it was mentioned last time. It is within 50 points of my FICO score. So, it is a good, inexpensive approximation.

  4. AngelofMotrin says:

    if you want your true scores get myfico, otherwise, these are just giving you an idea of what your score is. (same applies for truecredit and creditsecure)

    http://www.creditboards.com is a great credit card forum for helping people fix their credit problems.

  5. CK_Founder says:

    @ Tank

    We have always used TU scores. A common misconception is that there is only one credit score. In reality, there are dozens of different scores and those scores change by the bureaus that you use.

    The point of any credit monitoring service should be to track how your score chances over time. It should also help you understand how your everyday actions affect your score and how you rank against others.

    I can certainly understand your frustration. One of our primary goals is to help consumers understand the sometimes confusing credit score landscape. We hope to not exacerbate the situation and therefore have switched our model.

  6. nataku8_e30 says:

    I got a credit check back in March, and I’m pretty sure that the TU score was exactly the same as the CK score I got about a month later. It may not be exactly the same, but I think it’s close enough

  7. Again I ask, if my FICO is so darned important, why should I have to pay for it?

    • JB Segal says:

      @ceejeemcbeegee: Because the creator of FICO managed to create it and THEN convince the rest of the world that their property was important.

      The only way that’s ever going to change is if one could convince legislative bodies that it’s too important to keep commercial… which SHOULD be doable, given the one-free-report-a-year.

    • kaptainkk says:

      @ceejeemcbeegee: “Again I ask, if my FICO is so darned important, why should I have to pay for it?”

      Because the whole credit scoring system and credit reporting agencies are a scam!

  8. cotr says:

    anyone here use the Identitymonitor thing from Costco/Citi?

    gives a score for each report.

  9. nightsweat says:

    So does this generate an inquiry on my credit report like a credit card application or a landlord inquiry would? My understanding is that knocks a few points off your score.

    • womynist says:

      @nightsweat: As far as I know, a “soft inquiry” like checking your own report, does NOT affect your score.

    • aristan says:

      @nightsweat: I am not sure, but I’d assume it was processed the same way an information request from a bank would be processed, that is rather than processing it as I have asked for credit, it’s processed as a lender wanting to offer me credit.

      I’ve seen my Credit Reports in the last couple of weeks, and have spent a bit of time disputing things. They can never tell my father and me apart and for some reason an account of my -Grandmother’s- is on my credit report now. And not in a good way, I swear I think they put a negative on everyone who’s ever shared an address with her. Surprising to see that my credit isn’t as bad as I thought, though it needs a lot of work

      @AngelofMotrin: And now I might know where to get help, thanks for this.

  10. I can not use these services because I am not in the US at the moment so I would like to know what kind of info do you have to provide and submit to these websites?

    Do they get their figures by gathering data from other agencies or do you have to manually input how much debt you think you are in?

  11. mac-phisto says:

    just an FYI – FICO consumer score =/= total accuracy for situations like obtaining a mortgage. more likely, they are pulling a tri-merge (or blended) report. there’s also question as to whether the scores you see are the scores reported to lenders – i know i’ve personally seen variance in my scores.

    some lenders also purchase score models that are tailored for specific information (for example, a car dealer might weight previous auto loan history heavier than credit card or mortgage history) – these scores are not available to consumers (afaik).

    • mac-phisto says:

      @mac-phisto: i meant to wrap that up with some useful advice – don’t stress about your score. make sure your report is clean (no collections, past dues, judgments, liens, etc. & keep your credit utilization <33%) & your score will fall in line.

      although, i do always have fun playing around with those slider “what would happen if your score was…” tools.

  12. PinkBox says:

    Thanks for posting about this, Consumerist!

    My score was higher than I thought it might be, which is a plus. I know it most likely isn’t totally accurate, but it is nice to have a ballpark figure.

    I’m about to send a lovely letter to a collection agency trying to validate a debt that isn’t mine soon, so hopefully I’ll see it continue to rise.

  13. wwwhitney says:

    Thanks! First Mint, now this… would never have found about either them without Consumerist!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Macphisto is right. The big banks (yes the same ones that created this mess) use a trimerge. A trimerge gives the three scores form the three major bureaus but tries to consolidate the data so that each credit line only shows once. Those big banks then would use the middle score of the three. Local banks often only pull one bureau. Additionally, the credit reports are available in a variety of forms suited to mortgaes, car loans etc and also mentioned and the price to the lender can vary and I think that can determine the timeliness (or freshness) of the data. The trimerge is not created by the bureause themselves but by third parties. All this causes variation in the scores so that two scores could be pulled at the same time thru different trimerge companies and yield differnt scores; usually not by much but some lenders would only use certain trimerges. Hope this made sense