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So, Credit Karma has been trending on Twitter because a lot of people were pretty surprised to learn that making big financial decisions based on the company’s free credit scores doesn’t always end well.


NBC / Via giphy.com

In case you’re not familiar, Credit Karma is a personal finance site where you can look up your credit reports and scores for free. Not typically the stuff that trending tweets are made of, but it kinda makes sense given the ongoing GameStonks saga.


POP / Via giphy.com

FYI, your credit reports are held by the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Your credit scores (yes, you have way more than one) are calculated using different scoring models and based on information contained in your credit reports. And your credit scores matter because lenders use them to determine if they’ll lend to you and the interest rates you’ll pay if they do.

Aaaand here’s why people are tweeting: Credit Karma shows a kind of credit score called a VantageScore (and they are pretty transparent about it on their site, like in the screenshot below). But the thing is, in over 90% of US lending decisions, lenders actually pull a different score known as your FICO score.

Screenshot from Credit Karma showing a score calculated using VantageScore 3.0


Credit Karma / Via creditkarma.com

Both VantageScore and FICO are just types of scoring models. And not to get too technical here, but there are also different versions of VantageScores and FICO scores (that use different algorithms), any of which may be pulled by lenders depending on the kind of loan you’re applying for. But the TL;DR of it is that the credit score you see on Credit Karma is most likely not what a lender will check when you apply for credit. That’s not to say it’s never used in any situation — it might be — it’s just way less probable.

BTW, if you’re still not really sure what all this credit stuff means, check out our handy guide to credit scores.

Since you won’t see your FICO credit score on Credit Karma, you could be in for a big surprise if you apply for a loan or line of credit based solely on their scoring information. And as usual, Twitter users had the best reactions when they found this out.

1.

Some people compared it to checking your health on the internet:


Twitter: @RiotGrlErin

2.

Some people were angry:


Twitter: @JillScottTwin

3.


Twitter: @fvtureitmngr

4.

Others were just in total disbelief:


Twitter: @justsapphixx

5.


Twitter: @Biggirlslay

6.


Twitter: @UptownDCRich

7.

Some people could at least appreciate the gesture:


Twitter: @EddieAndretti

8.

Ignorance is bliss…right?!


Twitter: @Toxic_Thundr

9.

Other people thought it had to be one big joke:


Twitter: @Biggirlslay

10.


Twitter: @badnellyx

11.

And others felt lied to:


Twitter: @trenttjeremiah

12.

But there were a few people already ~in the know~:

13.

Who pointed out there are ways you can check your FICO score:


Twitter: @tmthomas2750

On Experian, you can check the most widely used version of your FICO Score (based on your Experian credit report) any time for free just by signing up for an account. If you’re concerned about your credit and want to monitor your FICO scores from Equifax and TransUnion too, Experian also has a paid option that lets you keep an eye on all three.

14.


Twitter: @jeanster3

15.


Twitter: @_theeunicorn_

Anyway the lesson here is: not all credit scores are created equal. If this tickled your fancy, why not check out these common credit score myths or even more of our personal finance posts.





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