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Can I Trust Credit Karma?

Can I Trust Credit Karma?

Q: How accurate are the credit scores on Credit Karma? Is there anything I need to know before signing up?


A: Credit Karma is a legitimate company, but its scores may vary from the score your lender will share with you when it checks your credit.


We have answered all your questions about Credit Karma.


What is Credit Karma?


Credit Karma is an online service allowing you to check your credit whenever you’d like at no cost. Scores are updated weekly and checking your score never hurts your credit. The site also offers credit advice, customizable loan calculators and reviews on financial products.


How does Credit Karma calculate my score?


The online credit company uses information from two of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion and Equifax, to give you a VantageScore 3.0 credit score. While this credit score is gaining recognition among lenders, the FICO scoring model is far more popular.


The atypical scoring model, coupled with the absence of information from Experian, tends to make Credit Karma scores higher than those pulled by other companies and financial institutions. The score is usually within range and a good indicator of your credit wellness.


How do other lenders calculate my score?


Most financial institutions use the FICO scoring model to measure consumers’ credit scores. As mentioned, this number will likely differ from the score you see on Credit Karma.


When you apply for a specific kind of loan with an individual lender, such as a mortgage company or auto lender, it will likely use its own customized formula, which can result in an even lower credit score.


Is there any other way to get my credit score?


You can ask a potential lender to pull your credit, though this might cost you in fees and in a knock to your credit. You can order your free credit report once a year, at For more frequent monitoring, you can sign up for access to your FICO score and 3-bureau credit report on, where packages start at $19.99 a month.


How does decide if I’m eligible for a loan?


We use the [FICO] model to calculate your credit score when you apply for a loan. While this number will likely be lower than your Credit Karma score, it gives us a broader picture of your credit as it includes information from all three credit bureaus. We’ll also review your full financial history and trajectory. Here at New Orleans Firemen's Federal Credit Union we are far more likely to approve a loan for one of our members than a lender who doesn’t know you or your financial history.


If you’re ready to take out a loan, make us your first stop! Our stress-free application process, low interest rates and reasonable terms make us the best choice for your next loan.

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