My Credit Score – Has It Really Jumped 31 Points?

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.

I decided to check first at CreditKarma and was surprised to see it has jumped up to 763!

CreditKarma Score

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.

Experian 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!

Credit Score October 2009

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?

This post was included in the Money Hacks Carnival #85 hosted at Green Panda.

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12 thoughts on “My Credit Score – Has It Really Jumped 31 Points?

  1. WOW! That is great. I am sure that feels amazing!

    I believe credit bureaus are updated every 30 days so I think you would be fine with that transaction. And you could also talk to your bank about moving the payment date! We do that all the time! 🙂


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Mrs. Money, I was actually pretty surprised to see it jump so much. I will be posting soon about Mr. A’s credit score, which has gone up as well. Thanks for the suggestion to have the bank change the date, I think I have done that in the past. Thanks!


  2. Credit Karma consistently reports my score to be 50 to 75 points lower than it actually is. I’ve had my credit report pulled frequently for my mortgage and refinance lately, and it’s always horribly low. It actually has me at a 693 right now, whereas I’m above 750 on all three scores according to my bank. Who knows…


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Melissa, I’m curious… has it stayed at 693 for some time? The reason I ask is because I have gone to CreditKarma over the last few months, checking Mr. A’s credit score, to see if it had gone up. But it stayed at 666. I would feel some disappointment, because I would like to see his credit score come up. Well, when I logged in a couple of days ago, and saw that my own credit score was still 732, where it was back on August 31st. I’d clicked on “Get Your Score Now” but then I realized I hadn’t clicked on the “Update Your Score” button. I felt pretty silly, because then it went up. I went back to Mr. A’s account, updated his, and it went up. I’d be very curious to know if you experience the same if you try clicking on the “Update Your Score” button again.


  3. My credit union pulls only one score every 3 months from experian, but in my history of fixing my credit I have learned that most are within 10-20 points of each other


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Dawn! 🙂 This is quite an interesting examination of credit scores for me, and I appreciate your input. I will keep that in mind as I keep looking at our scores. I think it’s neat that I can check mine, and Mr. A’s – that much more data to examine! Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  4. No, I have clicked Update Your Score. Over the last year and a half, it’s never been closer than about 50 points lower than my actual score.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Melissa, thanks for letting me know. That certainly is odd that your score comes back so low from Creditkarma. Good to know the variations of the site.


  5. Credit Karma provides the TransRisk score from TransUnion, so it is not “pretend” as you say, it simply uses a different scoring model.

    Credit scores vary for numerous reasons. Even within the same bureau, scores will vary depending on the model. The TransRisk model is a consumer based score.

    Probably the most important thing to do is track your score over time. Credit Karma also allows you to compare yourself to everyone in the Credit Karma community, so even if a score varies from scores you get elsewhere, you can compare yourself to everyone else.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Josh – thanks for the clarification, I have added an update into my post. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Mrs. A


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