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Free Credit Scores from Credit Karma

September 17, 2008

By MoneyRates Team | Money Rates Columnist

Monitoring your own credit score used to be an involved process in which a consumer had to separately order their report from each major reporting agency. Although many companies provide a consolidated report online, nearly all of these services required a paid subscription for credit monitoring after an initial free report. A relatively new site, CreditKarma.com, is providing a free consolidated report with monitoring options. CreditKarma.com has one of the most comprehensive and modernized platforms which is supported by onsite advertising and not subscriptions. Credit Karma is not a reporting agency, but retrieves your credit scores and provides a useful way to analyze the information and trends. The ongoing credit market crises means that credit in all facets will be harder to obtain and more expensive. A good credit score will be more important than ever.

In general the major reporting agencies use the following range in developing their credit scores:

FICO: 300 - 850
Experian: 330 - 830
Equifax: 300 - 850
TransUnion: 300 - 850
VantageScore: 501 - 990

While in theory each reporting agency is using the same data the scores can vary based on different statistical models. A consumer who keeps track of their credit scores can make informed decisions regarding their particular credit cards, available balances, credit lines, etc. and the impact each has on their overall credit score. One of the best things a consumer can do to help themselves is to stay on top of their scores is utilizing a free service like creditkarma.com

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