Credit Report Card

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In the past I’ve joked about how your FICO credit score has become the new report card for your life. Instead of letter grades, we now get a three digit grade in the form of a credit score. As much as you may hate it, that’s how life works and your credit score has become just that, a grade.

I don’t know if Credit Karma heard me or it’s just a strange coincidence, but they put out a credit report card tool that takes your TransUnion data (all of Credit Karma’s information is based on TransUnion data) and gives you grades on a litany of factors (seven to be exact):

  • Credit Card Utilization
  • Percent of On-Time Payments
  • Average Age of Open Credit Lines
  • Total Accounts
  • Credit Inquiries
  • Total Debt
  • Debt to Income Ratio

This is great for anyone curious about the factors that go into your credit score and where they stand relative to other users of Credit Karma.

Credit Report Card
(click to enlarge)
Card Utilization More Info
(click to enlarge)

To the left is a snapshot of the card itself. It lists the seven categories, your performance (if you’re logged in), as well as your relative performance to other Credit Karma users. This part isn’t as useful as the next part, when you click on More Info. The right snapshot is what you’ll see when you click on More Info and it shows your performance in that factor, as well as your history. So for credit card utilization, you can see that your current utilization is 8%, which puts you in good shape (at least an A!). You can also see that your utilization has increased in the last few months and how you rank versus your peers.

I think it’s the history that has the most value. You can see trends you otherwise may not have noticed. Are you slowly increasing your utilization? have you begun to lean on your cards more heavily? It’s good to see that trend, especially if you aren’t aware of it otherwise.

For an absolutely free service, powered by their partnerships and advertising (who knows what else), Credit Karma really offers some fantastic tools.

{ 20 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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20 Responses to “Credit Report Card”

  1. Nice post!

    Jim, when do your royalty checks start rolling in for your report card product?:)

  2. Caitlin says:

    That’s pretty cool!
    Does anyone know if there’s a similar tool for Canadians anywhere?

  3. CuriousAG says:

    hahaha royalty check is it Jim? 😛

    Well I read about Credit Karma’s report cards somewhere last week but thought of letting you know that my score has just rose by 10-15 points. I was concerned about my decreasing score few weeks back if you remember, I am now in the range of 730-745.

    Hurrayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 🙂

  4. Jim says:

    Not sure what you guys mean, I don’t have a report card product but maybe I should!

  5. Modder says:

    This is pretty cool indeed!

    Rather amazed by what it tells me. I have a 800+ score, but my report card sucks: 1 A, 3 Cs and an F (number of accounts). Clearly their grading mechanism isn’t perfect yet, I assume they need more data.

    But two interesting things.

    A) I scored a C on credit utilized because I am utilizing 0% of my credit. If I utilize 1-20% it says I would get an A. Do I need to utilize at the lower or higher end of that spectrum? Also, when I had monthly trans-union updates, I could see that my credit score dropped by a dozen or so points whenever I carried a balance on my CCs (even $20 was enough). So not sure I believe this one.

    b) I got an F on # of accounts. The graph implies that you need 41+ accounts (vs my puny 7) to get an A. Sounds hoky to me. I think they need to redo their math (older people have more accounts and have higher credit scores; that doesn’t mean that having more accounts increases your credit score)

  6. @Jim I was joking that they stole your idea and you should seek royalties . . .

  7. CuriousAG says:

    @Jim I was backing up DDFD lol

  8. Jim says:

    Oooooh, you mean about the joke I made of your score being your new report card. I thought you meant I had some product or something that they stole… I was confused. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s my first time here, your article is so interesting,hoping your new work

  10. Chris says:

    Awesome addition they made. I saw that and think it’s a great bonus. Are you there consultant? 🙂

  11. Observer says:

    A growing number of Americans are being financially ghettoized.

    How do you get ahead if you have an expensive uninsured health collapse?

    You lose your inco9me and then your credit, then with trashed credit you become job-market ghettoized, and good luck earning enough income to get your credit back to a respectable level.

  12. Jon says:

    I might actually have to try this now.

  13. Julio says:

    What is the catch with this site? Do they try to sell you another product or do they bombard you with solicitations or advertising? I’m interested in the free score but hesitant to sign up.

    • Jim says:

      I believe they earn money when you sign up for various financial products but I’ve never received an email or any other solicitation to sign up for something through them.

  14. Amanda says:

    I agree with Modder. I am rather confused by their “grading system”. My score was right under 800 but I received 3 A’s, 1 D (length of time of accounts – I’m only 24 so my accounts have been open about 5 years), and 1 F (number of accounts).

    Does it really improve your credit score to have more accounts? I thought it was the total credit versus total credit utilized that mattered.

    Furthermore, who would ever want 20 credit cards??

    Other than my confusion with the grading this seemed very cool. Thanks for the information!

  15. Frank says:

    If I read the utilization chart correctly, it is just as advantageous for your credit score to have no debt as it is to have a “boat load” of debt.

    Is that right?

    • Jim says:

      Remember, causation and correlation are two different things. It may just be that CK’s users that have high debt amounts have good credit scores but the high debt amounts don’t cause the higher scores.

      • Frank says:

        I agree; however, a high level indebitedness that is paid on time and according to the provisions set out by the “lender” should result in a high credit score. My point was you seem to be able to get the same effect by having zero debt as shown in the first bar chart above. This would imply having zero debt is just as helpful as a “boat load of debt” even if that debt is is in “good” standing. Maybe there is something I am missing. Just an observation.

  16. eric says:

    This reminds me to do my monthly check! Thanks. Will check it out.

  17. Steve says:

    Interesting idea, but having already had my identity stolen once, the idea of giving all my personal info incl social sec # to a company I don’t know isn’t going to happen.

    Now if I knew one of the 3 reporting agencies or maybe MC or Visa who already have all my info was behind this, maybe…but to fork over all my info to a company I don’t know? No chance…

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