Credit Karma Now Offers VantageScore and Auto Insurance Score
Credit Karma, which has been offering its customers free credit score since 2008, is getting better.
Last night, I received an email from Credit Karma (I have been using their free credit monitoring service since March 2009), announcing that two new free credit scores are now available at Credit Karma, one is VantageScore, a credit score that was jointly developed by three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and the other is Auto Insurance Score, which actually is TransUnion Auto Insurance Risk Score and it’s derived based on information in TransUnion credit report.
If you are not familiar with Credit Karma, you can check out my Credit Karma review post for details about what it is and what it offers. Basically, Credit Karma allows its users to check their credit score for free. The free score score offered is TransUnion RiskScrore, which was built by TransUnion. RiskScore has a score range from 300 to 850, which is the same as the FICO score range.
If you are using Credit Karma, you can access both the VantageScore and Auto Insurance Score by logging into your account and clicking the Update Score button next to your TransRisk score (you won’t see the new scores until you update your score). Once you updated your TransRisk score, two new tabs appear alongside the TransRisk Socre.
I have a very detailed discussion of VantageScore before. Basically, it was introduced by the three credit reporting agencies as a competitor to the popular FICO socre (however, I don’t think it’s as widely used as FICO sore is). VantageScore ranges from 501 to 990 and the range is divided into five grades: A (901-990), B (801-900), C (701-800), D (601-700), and F (501-600). The score is available through TransUnion and Experian.
BTW, I was really surprised to see that my VantageScore reached the maximum 990, even though I know my FICO score hasn’t even crossed the 800 mark yet (see how you can get a free FICO score from myFICO).
According to Credit Karma, Auto Insurance Score “represents whether you are more or less likely to file a claim that will result in losses for the insurance company.” And the model that’s used to calculate the score was “built according to standards set by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators Model Act and should thus help take the mystery out of how scores are calculated.” It’s calculated using information from TransUnion credit report, which gets updated every time you update your TransRisk score even though the report itself is not offered to Credit Karma customers. The Auto Insurance Score ranges from 150 (minimum) to 950 (maximum).
Even though we all know that TransRisk score or VantageScore is not FICO score, therefore, many see them as less useful as FICO score, I think that as a free offer from Credit Karma, they can still be helpful in monitoring any significant change in FICO credit score because essentially all credit models track the same consumer behaviors, thus there are certain degree of correlations among models even if they may weigh those behaviors differently, resulting indifferent scores. That’s why I get an update of my Credit Karma free score every month and keep track of the changes, even though I found my score has been very, very stable for the past 20 months.
If you don’t have an account with Credit Karma, you can sign up for free and try yourself to see if whether it can help you or not. BTW, checking your own credit score will not affect your score. So you can check as many times as you like, but Credit Karma only updates the free score every month.
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