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Creditpuzzled

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Why are the 3 credit report FICA scores 100 points lower then what the bureaus are reporting?

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There are two separate parts that go into determining a credit score.  One is the credit and collections history that one of the three major credit bureaus has collected on you.  It is normal for this information to vary a little across the three companies.  The other is the credit scoring model that analyzes that data and generates a numerical score from it.

There are many scoring models offered for sale to consumers and lenders, but only the ones created by FICO have any wide use for making credit approval or denial decisions.  The most commonly used score, especially for credit card decisions, is the FICO 8.  However, most mortgage lenders still use the FICO 4.  However, there are also auto loan, insurance, collections, new account, and other customized FICO scoring variations that are less well known and less widely used.

CreditKarma does not pay the rather large fees FICO charges for their scores (FICO 8 scores from all 3 bureaus typically costs $40 - $60 from the credit bureaus).  Instead CK offers the much cheaper Vantage 3 which was developed as a competing score by the 3 major credit reporting agencies.  This Vantage 3 score, while fairly similar to the FICO 9, differs quite significantly in some areas from the widely used FICO 8.  The most common culprits are paid collections.  Vantage 3 is very forgiving of paid collections, while FICO 8 is not, and a couple paid collections or medical collections can easily create a 100 point higher Vantage 3 score than FICO 8 score. 

Reply by
2ndchancekarma

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The credit industry uses FICO scores, not Vantage scores.  In my case, on two occassions, my credit union assessed my scores with a minimum of 100 points less than Vantage.  In checking with other credit institutions, not one uses or recommends relying on Vantage scores as they are inaccurate and misleading.  In both cases of credit applications, at different times, I was denied because my scores were much less than Credit Karma or Sesame Credit scores were reporting to me.  Because of this misleading information, my "true" FICO scores took a hit and dropped by over six points.

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