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Credit Scores from Credit Karma are Deflated

I recently refinanced my mortgage, which provided me with my real credit scores from all three repositories: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. For a while I’ve wanted to try out Credit Karma’s free credit reporting service. This is a perfect opportunity to compare Credit Karma’s score with my real credit score.

How it Works

Credit Karma provides free credit scores because they believe the credit score is necessary to maintain and improve your financial health, so they give it out for free. The site is secured through VeriSign and Hackersafe. Your social security number is the only critical piece of information that is needed to access your credit score, and it’s only request once.


Follow this LINK. Click on the “Get Your Free Credit Score” button.


Enter the following information:


Check your email to confirm your email address.


Enter some more information:


Credit Scores

Credit Karma provides a graph that allows for easy tracking of your credit score.


Unfortunately, I just started using Credit Karma, so I only have one data point. Interestingly enough, Credit Karma gave me a credit score of 718. When I refinanced my mortgage, I was provided with the following actual credit scores: 751 (TransUnion), 751 (Equifax) and 746 (Experian). Clearly, Credit Karma’s reported credit score is a tad below the actual score.

Credit Snapshot

Credit Karma provides more than just your credit score. They provide you with information regarding how your credit score compares with others. Credit Karma provides the following charts.




A quick distribution shows that I fall into the largest category with 17% of the nation. Compared to US consumers I fall in the 68th percentile. Apparently, my credit score in the eyes of a lender ranks between fair and good, yet my mortgage broker says I’m in the highest bracket, which qualified me for the lowest rate on my mortgage. All of the FICO scores that I’ve received in the past year all provide me with higher credit scores, percentiles and lender rankings. Again, Credit Karma appears to be a bit low with regards to statistical analysis rankings.

Credit Compare

I don’t know how useful the following information is, but Credit Karma provides you with credit score comparisons with the Credit Karma community, your state, age and email domain. I find this information to be very useless when compared to information about the total US consumer base.



Credit Simulator

The most interesting aspect of Credit Karma is the credit simulator. The following categories can be modified and you will receive a simulated credit score.

  • New credit cards
  • New loans
  • Credit inquiries
  • Increased credit lines
  • Close your oldest credit card
  • Balance transfers from another credit card
  • Increase or decrease your credit card balances
  • Pay off all credit card balances
  • Allow monthly accounts to become overdue
  • Make your payments on-time
  • Public records (liens, foreclosure, etc.)
  • Go to collections
  • Declare bankruptcy

Final Thoughts

Credit Karma appears to provide slightly lower credit scores. A more accurate credit score might be obtained if you take the Credit Karma score and add 20-30 points. I do really like the graphing/monitoring capabilities and the credit simulator. Overall, Credit Karma seems to be a safe way to monitor your credit score. It’s definitely better than not knowing your credit score.

Does anyone else use Credit Karma? And if so, is your credit score low?

Random Thought

USA! USA! Nothing like a good dog pile in March. What a come from behind victory. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me if the USA wins, I’m just proud of the effort they’re putting forth. I love the World Cup because of the emotion and passion. The WBC is starting to become that type of event. The timing is unfortunate, as a lot of very talented players are not playing so they can prepare for the major league season.

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Posted in Financial Status, Reviews, Uncategorized.

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12 Responses

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  1. Money Progress says

    I’ve been using CreditKarma for since October. I log in every once in a while to see what my score is. I haven’t compared it to my real FICO too much but I got my FICO in Jan and it was 706. CreditKarma said it was 756 at the time, but dropped to 724 for a while the next month.

    I don’t think CreditKarma is useful for getting an accurate score but I do think it is useful for general monitoring purposes. I’ve seen my Credit Karma score go up and down like it should as I apply for new credit or have a larger balance than normal on my credit cards.

  2. Steve says

    I agree that it’s not very accurate, but for monitoring purposes, it’s a great tool. After using it for awhile I will be able to comment more towards how sensitive a tracking tool it really is. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Megan @ Counting My Pennies says

    Mine’s also low. But I agree with the idea that it’s useful for tracking changes in your score (which seem to be occuring when I would expect them to). Plus if it gets people interested, that’s a good thing. And I would prefer a deflated score to an inflated score.

  4. K Lin says

    Thanks for the nice write-up. Like your readers suggest, we are not trying to be a FICO clone. We are a completely free credit monitoring service. Our goal is to help consumers better understand how their everyday actions affect their score. With that said, our score is built from the data as everyone else so an excellent score on our system will be an excellent score on others as well.

  5. Steve says

    @Megan, I agree that a deflated score would be better as it pushes you harder to bring it up. You won’t be content if it’s lower than you think it should be.

    @K Lin, Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comment. I appreciate the free monitoring service even if it doesn’t provide an “official” score. It’s always nice to have an idea as to what your credit score is, especially since it’s free.

  6. Chris says

    I like the way you write! Nice blog.

  7. Google Bizkit says

    That’s good. Helps everyday users realized what type of everyday use has an effect on their credit…..

    Get A free credit report online

  8. Rhys Phillips says

    My credit score last year got lower because i have some unpaid bills on my credit card company and i also lost my job.;-`

  9. Mia Harris says

    My credit score last year got lower because i have some unpaid bills on my credit card company and i also lost my job.,`,

Continuing the Discussion

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