I have gotten into checking my credit scores recently. I have it setup to check once a month on mint, and I also check it about once a week on credit Karma.

Today I noticed a discrepency. On my mint.com credit score (Equifax) it shows as a 738 with all of the correct details. On credit karma it shows a 792 (Equifax) and 797 (Transunion), again with all of the correct data. The credit karma was updated today, and the mint.com data updated on the 19th.

What could cause this discrepancy?


Each of the three agencies not only use different techniques to calculate their scores, they also are not reporting to you the FICO credit score which is typically what is actually used by lenders. Equifax discusses this on their credit score page, while Experian claims to use FICO Score 8 which does match what some lenders use (but not all).

In your particular example, however, you're comparing reports pulled at different times. More than likely, there is a credit card balance that's different or something similar between the two; since your credit utilization is one of the biggest factors, that could be a significant amount of your credit score.

It's also possible that Mint is reporting a different score than Credit karma. One might be showing you your FICO score and the other the proprietary score from the credit reporting agency, or a different FICO score (there are different FICO algorithms, typically used for different purposes), or even VantageScore, which is yet another algorithm that has a higher maximum (goes up to 990); TransUnion talks about this some.

Edit: Indeed, Credit Karma is reporting your VantageScore; it is the 3.0 model, which does max at 850, but it could easily be different from what Mint uses (which I couldn't find quickly).

Mint uses the Equifax Model (look in the 1 footnote); it uses information from all three reports but uses the Equifax model to apply to those three reports to generate the score.

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  • I can also confirm that my mint.com score is significantly lower than the matching score reported by other sources. Perhaps Mint skews your score lower for marketing purposes? – Bigbio2002 Mar 24 '15 at 21:12
  • I doubt they intentionally skew it differently on purpose. I'll update with a little information that i've found (but not necessarily perfectly accurate, I am concerned). – Joe Mar 24 '15 at 21:17

The companies all use slightly different techniques to calculate the score. I've never seen my score the same across all three agencies. Timing might also be different.

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Your credit report is more important than the score. Only address the things that are theoretically lowering your score and all the scoring models will generate an improved score, eventually.

But the discrepancies between those scores is not important, except for the situation where one company has inaccurate information about you, that other credit companies do not have. In which case, you need to fix the inaccuracy, again, on the credit report itself.

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