Whether it’s your first time visiting Credit Karma or you’ve been a member for years, you might want some more insight into where Credit Karma gets your credit scores and why you should trust a company that claims to offer something for free.
Here’s the short answer: The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major consumer credit bureaus. The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma should accurately reflect your credit information as reported by those bureaus.
This means a couple of things:
- The scores we provide are actual credit scores pulled from two of the major consumer credit bureaus, not just estimates of your credit rating. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why we ask for your Social Security number and other personal information in order to create a Credit Karma account — so that we can match you up to what the bureaus have on file for you.
- Credit Karma isn’t a credit bureau or a credit-reporting agency. We don’t gather information from creditors, and creditors don’t report information directly to Credit Karma.
Understandably, you may still have some questions about how Credit Karma gets your credit scores and why your scores from Credit Karma might look different from scores you got somewhere else.
What’s a credit score?
There are few numbers in life that matter as much to your financial well-being as your credit scores.
Each of your credit scores is a three-digit number that relates to how likely you are to repay debt. These numbers can go a long way in determining whether a lender will approve you for a credit card or loan.
We say “each of your credit scores” because you actually have more than one. The three major consumer credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — create credit reports that contain important information about your credit accounts and financial profile.
Credit-scoring models created by companies like VantageScore Solutions and Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) use the information from your credit reports to calculate your credit scores. Different credit-scoring models may weigh the information in your credit reports differently, but high-impact factors generally include credit card utilization, your payment history and any derogatory marks on your credit reports.
Why are my credit scores from Credit Karma different from scores I got somewhere else?
We pull your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores directly from TransUnion and Equifax. There are a few reasons why you might get different credit scores from each of the three major credit bureaus.
One big reason why you may have different scores is that the three credit bureaus may have differing information about you.
Here are three reasons why that may be the case:
1. Mistakes happen
Errors on credit reports are not unheard-of, and even if one bureau has your information completely correct, there’s no certainty that the other two bureaus will as well.
To offer some helpful context: Through Credit Karma’s Direct Dispute™ tool, more than $10.2 billion in erroneous debt has been removed from TransUnion credit reports since 2015. And that’s only one credit bureau!
2. Not all lenders report to all three major credit bureaus
Some lenders may only report to one or two bureaus, not all three. Also, the bureaus may not update your reports at the same time. Different information can understandably result in different credit reports and credit scores.
3. Different credit-scoring models can yield different results
Lastly, credit scores are calculated using different scoring models. Because each scoring model can emphasize different aspects of your credit history, you can get different scores even if they’re based on the same credit reports.