Two free credit score providers

Wanted to offer a kind word for a couple of credit score providers I’ve been using. Both are free.

I realize Argyll likes Credit Karma a lot, and I respect his preference. But I’m inclined instead to provide my own personal data to credit score providers associated with financial institutions that already have the same data. I have been using Chase’s free Credit Journey service for a number of months. It’s a good service and I like it. But the scores only update weekly. If you request a score today, you cannot access another updated score for one full week.

Another alternative I began using only recently is called Credit Sense. I have free access to this service because of my MSDFCU (Merck) membership. I like the Credit Sense service a lot. But what is especially attractive is availability of daily credit score updates. Having requested your score, you need wait only 24 hours to obtain an updated score.

Both the Credit Journey and Credit Sense services provide a whole lot of personal credit information beyond just your score. And all that extra stuff is interesting and quite informative. But to me having access to a fresh, up-to-date, readout of my credit score is most important of all. Month old credit scores as offered by some financial institutions, e.g. Citi, are of little value.

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I’m not familiar with Credit Sense, but Credit Journey provides the same information as Karma, but from only one bureau rather than Karma’s two. Have you not drilled down in Karma to find:

  • Details on each hard inquiry
  • For each credit card, credit limit, age, payment history, status, worst status, etc.
  • Age of open and closed accounts
  • Overall utilization and utilization per account

Not to say Credit Journey is not good, but the one I check weekly is Karma. Gives me as much or more than anyone else.

Let us stipulate that Karma, among others, are giving you the Vantage 3 score. That is sufficient for my purposes, and evidently good enough for a large number of credit providers. I compare with Fico 8 (through Discover) and have never seen any significant discrepancy. I don’t consider +/- 10 to 15 points to be significant. My credit score varies over time by that margin naturally and it just doesn’t matter.

I do check mine with Karma weekly mostly because I can and it is part of my keeping up with my finances ritual. For most people, weekly is probably excessive. If my score drops from Exceptional to Very Good in one day then I want and have alerts for that. Watching it go from 821 to 827 to 813 … etc. is just for my amusement … no practical value in doing so.

The wording here confuses me, Shin. Who are you providing data to?

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repost? Free consumer Reports - Experian Equifax Transunion Early Warning etc


All the services, including Credit Karma, require you to provide personal data, for example your SS number, name, address, and so forth.

I’m more comfortable sharing that data only with services associated with, tied to, financial institutions where I’m already a customer or member. The alternative is to provide the data to a stand-alone outfit, like Credit Karma, where the relationship is only two way and not three way. This is no more than personal preference.

Fair enough. I mistakenly thought you were referring to your credit report as your data. I see what you mean now.

I’ve been a member of Credit Karma for almost ten years with no problems. Credit Karma has over 85 million members. I think you’d be hearing from them if there were major security problems.

I use PSECU for Experian FICO and NFCU/Synchrony/Discover/Andrews FCU for Transunion and Equifax. I haven’t really paid much attention to scores in general though.

Credit Karma is good for alerts and looking at specific account info, such as balances reported, open dates, etc. However, I never pay attention to their scores, since they aren’t used by many, if any, lenders for lending purposes.

Well, here we go.

So possibly not used by any lenders?

I can’t see the article–do you subscribe to Asset Securitization Report?

As far as I’m aware, the VantageScore model/version that CK uses, is not used by a lot of lenders. There’s a reason (well, multiple, of course) CK is free and other, FICO, services aren’t.

FICO scores are free from multiple providers.

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Yep, but not CK, as far as I’m aware. Has that changed?


An interesting recent experience: I applied to subscribe to a community solar company which works with the local utility and they required a credit score. I asked if there was a way to avoid an inquiry and they asked me to email a photo of my Credit Karma score. That did the trick.

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I saw that up thread and was very intrigued. Surprised, too.

Here is the study the article referred to …

Is Vantage exactly FICO 8? No, it isn’t. Is it as useful in monitoring the general health of your credit worthiness? Yes. Variations of 10-15 points either way in whatever scoring model you choose are just not important. My score goes up and down by that amount constantly. Given a comparison between Vantage 3 and FICO 8 when based on the same data from a bureau at the same time are within that insignificant margin of error.

My CK scores and my FICO scores have varied up to 50-75 points before. Those instances have colored me unimpressed with CK’s scoring model used.

I can’t argue with the conclusions you’ve drawn from your own data points.

I was responding to your assertion that it is possible that no lender uses Vantage scores.

Now you’re cherry picking what I said.

It was a long held FWF principle that various credit score sources shouldnt be compared directly, none are “more right” than others. The value was in tracking changes over time - an increase in one score/source generally correlates with a similar increase in others as well.