I have used Credit Sesame for some time now, it is termed ‘FAKO’ in that it provides a similar result to your FICO credit score, but is free, so a lot more attractive to people, as the official reports from the three big providers (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) can cost around $15-$20 per month each.
Recently, I started exploring their Credit Utilization Alerts, as I found myself receiving warning emails from Credit Sesame that I had too much on a card. It turns out that even if you pay off your bills in full each month, if you have a high balance prior to that payment being made you are flagged for high utilization, here is a post on how to manage that. I wanted to confirm that these alerts were generated from my credit report, rather than my bank account, so I reached out to Credit Sesame, and they confirmed all their data is from Experian.
My Credit Sesame (Experian) FAKO Score
A score of 784 is pretty good, especially if you consider that my Credit History in the US is only about 4.5 yrs, and I have no other debt, such as mortgages or car loans. The blend of debt you hold increases your score.
I am especially happy as it clearly states that the data comes from Experian, so I don’t need to worry about actually checking my real score. However, when I recently started digging into this subject I learned that despite there seeming to be clarity on the score, in truth there is a lot of weird murky goings on behind the scenes, that is depicted as ‘propitiatory information’ where these companies state that they won’t tell you everything that goes into constructing a score in fear that the calculations it will be stolen. For me, that just raises my distrust level, so I thought why not see what Experian shows on their side:
As you can see, the difference between 784 that Credit Sesame shows me, and 744 that Experian shows me is actually quite the jump. Both are decent scores, but the 784 is a lot more robust, as it puts me firmly into Excellent Credit wheras 744 that Experian shows me is somewhat more on the border between good and excellent, 40 points is no joke. Now, certainly the score provided by Credit Sesame doesn’t have to be the Experian score, but this sort of verbiage, along with the image at the top of this post really do imply that it is:
So, why the discrepancy? I cannot say, but I can posit that since Credit Sesame makes revenue from the sale of credit vehicles, such as credit cards, loans and mortgages, it does have an incentive to encourage you to apply for new credit, and offering a better looking score would certainly help encourage potential borrowers to apply.