I was reading through some of the carnivals I’d entered in the last week and I came across Sun Financial’s entry Is CreditKarma Useful? From there, through a series of clicks here and there, I landed up at DebtKid’s site. Yeowch. I was reading his post on how to raise your credit score and I got to wondering if my score has risen since I checked it last on August 31st. I had hoped to see it rise before we attempt to refinance our mortgage. One of the things dinging my score according to Equifax: “You have recently been seeking credit or other services, as reflected by the number of inquiries posted on your credit file in the last twelve months.” The last time I applied for any credit was back in September 2008, when I applied for several cards at once. So, I’d hoped since it’s been over twelve months, it would go up.
When I checked on August 31st, my score at Equifax it was 722. My score at CreditKarma which is apparently just a “pretend” credit score, was 732. UPDATE: In comments Josh corrected my use of the word “pretend” stating rather that CreditKarma uses a “different” scoring method. Thank you Josh for clarifying. Also, for more information on FICO scores, see How to Get Your Free FICO Score and avoid Fake Credit Offers.
So I thought… I should go back to Equifax and see how much it will cost to get my credit score, to see if it’s gone up there, too. Shoot. They want $15.95. OUCH. Well, I thought it would be worth it. So I tried. And I tried. And I tried. They won’t accept my debit card! The error message just keeps saying I should use another card, or validate the current card. There is no place to validate the current card, which is a card I used a couple of years ago. I tried using a new card, but I get the same error message.
The reason I picked Equifax in August is because it gave the lowest score back in 2007 when I first reported my scores on this blog. I wonder, does Equifax typically return the lowest score of the three?
I guess I have no choice but to go back to Annual Credit Report and try getting my score through another credit bureau. I decided since I could not get my debit card (or a credit card for that matter) to process through Equifax, I decided to see what Experian says about my credit score.
That’s crazy. I’m nearly at 800. Back in 2008, Experian was 31 points higher than Equifax. If I apply that math to my score today, then my Equifax score could be at 766.
Also, if CreditKarma can be believed, back in August, it said my score was at 732. That is 10 points higher than Equifax. Applying the math again, my CreditKarma score is currently 763, so if I subtract 10 points, Equifax could be at 753. Does that make sense to anyone else? Correct me if I’m thinking wrongly here.
Gosh, I wish I could get my Equifax credit score! I think it is now between 753 and 766. I wish I could see if that is true. UPDATE: I finally decided to put a call through to Equifax to find out why they wouldn’t accept my card. I ended up signing up for “Score Watch” for $12.95 a month until I cancel it (at least that’s cheaper than the $15.95 they wanted just to give me my score!). I will cancel it in about 25 days. Anyway, here’s my score – it’s 751!
I was off on my estimation by 2 points. And to answer the question in my title, according to Experian, my credit score has risen by 29 points. The 31 points is via CreditKarma.
According to Experian, here are the factors “lowering” my “VantageScore”:
- The sum of balances on your credit accounts is too high. Having high balances on your credit card accounts has a negative impact on your credit score.
- The average loan amount across open, recently reported real estate accounts, such as a mortgage, is too low. Having low loan amounts has a negative impact on your credit score.
- The balance paid down across your real estate accounts, such as mortgage, is too low. Paying down the balances on your real estate accounts can have a positive impact on your credit score.
- Your report shows that the available credit across your open, recently reported revolving accounts, such as credit card, is too low. Having low available credit amounts on revolving accounts has a negative impact on your credit score.
- Your report shows one or more inquiries on file. Each time a potential lender pulls your credit report for review, an inquiry is placed on your file. While having inquiries on your file does affect your score, the impact is minimal.
At any rate, this is great news since the credit union said the closing costs would be an additional $800 in closing costs if my score was lower than 740.
Now I’m tempted to check Transunion, but I don’t want to “waste” my third chance to check my credit score.
In a few days I’m planning to tap my $20K line of credit to pay off two of the credit cards that are at 13.24% and 12.24%. The 20K line of credit is at 10.2%. No charge to access the money. I’m waiting for a few days because I want the payment date to be after the 15th, closer to the 20th.
I wonder if this is going to ding my credit score? It’s going to look like I’ve gone into debt another $12K until the credit card is paid in full. That is going to take 2-3 days to transact. Does anyone know? UPDATE: Since I signed up for Equifax’s CreditScore for 30 days, I will be able to check regularly and see if anything changes. I will let you know if anything happens.
Thanks for your help, and YAY me that my credit score has gone up. I do understand that CreditKarma is not a true FICO score, but is anyone else using them to track their credit score?