Some lenders report to all three major credit bureaus, but others report to only one or two. Because of this difference in reporting, each of the three credit bureaus may have slightly different credit report information for you and you may see different scores as a result.
Though Credit Karma does not currently offer FICO® scores, the scores you see on Credit Karma (VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax) provide valuable insight into your financial health. It's important to keep in mind that no one credit score is the end-all, be-all.
Which credit score matters the most? While there's no exact answer to which credit score matters most, lenders have a clear favorite: FICO® Scores are used in over 90% of lending decisions.
Credit Karma compiles its own accurate VantageScore based on that information. Your Credit Karma score should be the same or close to your FICO score, which is what any prospective lender will probably check.
Borrowers should also show restraint by keeping their credit card balances well below their limits. Maxing out credit cards, paying late, and applying for new credit haphazardly are all things that lower FICO scores. More banks and lenders use FICO to make credit decisions than any other scoring or reporting model.
The most commonly used FICO Score in the mortgage-lending industry is the FICO Score 5. According to FICO, the majority of lenders pull credit histories from all three credit reporting agencies as they evaluate mortgage applications. Mortgage lenders may also use FICO Score 2 or FICO Score 4 in their decisions as well.
What Credit Score Do Lenders Use? The two main companies that produce and maintain credit scoring models are FICO® and VantageScore. Lenders most commonly use the FICO® Score to make lending decisions, and in particular, the FICO® Score 8 is the most popular version for general use.
Although VantageScore credit scores have been around for about 15 years, the FICO Score is still the preferred choice of most lenders. In the U.S., lenders use FICO Scores in 90% of lending decisions.
You can get your FICO® Score for free from hundreds of financial services companies, including banks, credit unions, credit card issuers and credit counselors that participate in the FICO® Score Open Access program and offer free scores to customers.
But, despite that, you'd be surprised how many borrowers are shocked that their Credit Karma score is lower than the FICO scores their lender uses. Read on to find out why. And most importantly, what you need to know about credit scores when applying for a mortgage.
Consequently, when lenders check your FICO credit score, whether based on credit report data from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, they will likely use the FICO 8 scoring model. FICO 8 scores range between 300 and 850. A FICO score of at least 700 is considered a good score.
Best Overall AnnualCreditReport.com
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau confirms that AnnualCreditReport.com is the official website that allows you to access each of your credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — at no cost.
Basically, "credit score" and "FICO® score" are all referring to the same thing. A FICO® score is a type of credit scoring model. While different reporting agencies may weigh factors slightly differently, they are all essentially measuring the same thing.
Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.
FICO 8 is still the most widely used FICO credit score today. If you apply for a credit card or personal loan, odds are that the lender will check your FICO 8 scores from one or more of the major credit bureaus.
If you've had late payments on your credit cards, they will have about the same impact on both your FICO and your VantageScore. But if you've had late payments on your mortgage, you might find you have a higher FICO score than VantageScore.
VantageScore counts multiple inquiries, even for different types of loans, within a 14-day period as a single inquiry. Multiple inquiries on your reports for the same type of loan or credit, spanning more than a 14-day period, may have a greater impact to your VantageScore® credit scores than to your FICO® scores.
Which credit scores does Credit Karma offer? The model used for credit scores on Credit Karma is VantageScore® 3.0. While VantageScore® credit scores aren't used as widely as FICO® scores for credit decisions, they can still give you a good idea of where your credit stands.
A conventional loan requires a credit score of at least 620, but it's ideal to have a score of 740 or above, which could allow you to make a lower down payment, get a more attractive interest rate and save on private mortgage insurance.
FHA loans (score: 580)
Most mortgage lenders accept FICO scores of 580 and above for an FHA loan. And you only need 3.5% down to buy a house with this program. Some lenders even allow credit scores of 500-579 under the FHA program, though you'll need a 10% down payment if your score is in that range.
But information is typically reported every 30 to 45 days. And your scores could change every time new information—like new accounts or changes to your account balances—is reported by a lender and reflected in your credit reports.
Your score can then differ based on what bureau your credit report is pulled from since they don't all receive the same information about your credit accounts. Secondly, different credit score models (and versions) exist across the board.
Our Verdict: Credit Karma has better credit monitoring and more features, but Experian actually gives you your “real” credit score. Plus it offers the wonderful Experian Boost tool. Since they're both free, it's worth it to get both of them.
Credit Karma is different from Experian. While Experian compiles your credit report and determines your credit score, Credit Karma simply shows you credit scores and report information from Equifax and TransUnion.
FICO 9 is a credit scoring model owned by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), who introduced it to creditors in 2014 and consumers in 2016. As with FICO's older models, such as FICO 8, it scores your credit on a scale from 300 to 850. Your FICO 9 score indicates how likely you are to repay your debts.