Credit scoring differences between fintech apps (like Credit Karma and NerdWallet) and credit bureaus (like TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most important factors involves the type of credit scoring model used in calculating the credit score. The FICO score has long been the industry standard, but recently the VantageScore has become a prominent alternative.
Yes, they are reliable, but their credit scoring model might be different from the model used by the official credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). This is why your Credit Karma score is usually a little different from your official credit score. Official credit reporting agencies use the FICO scoring model, while most fintech apps use the Vantage 3.0 scoring model.
Create an account with Experian. It's free for the starter subscription but that's all you need. It grants you annual credit score updates. Credit Karma gives you weekly credit score updates, but their credit scoring model is different from the ones used by the three US credit bureaus.
Please see the following article for comprehensive breakdown on this topic: https://www.debtly.app/post/alternative-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score
Please see the following article for a comprehensive guide on this: https://www.debtly.app/post/alternative-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score
Yes, closing a credit card account decreases your credit score because it decreases the average age of your credit accounts (which makes up 15% of your credit score).