It is smart to monitor your credit score, as this lets you plan for major loans, check for fraud, and track your financial health. But how accurate is the popular CreditWise service from Capital One?
CreditWise gives you accurate information about your VantageScore from two of the three credit bureaus. That it is the VantageScore is an important point, as some lenders will use this score while others may look at your FICO score. If you want to know your FICO score, choose another service.
Take a closer look at how much accuracy you can expect from CreditWise. You will also learn more about the other features that CreditWise includes, why you should care about your credit score, and how to improve it.
How Accurate Is CreditWise From Capital One?
CreditWise is a credit monitoring service that is offered by Capital One for free. It is similar to CreditKarma in that it tracks your credit and factors that affect it, such as when payments are made, how much you owe, and how much credit you have. It allows you to have access to your credit report and credit score. You do not have to open an account with them but do need to have a valid Social Security number, as well as be older than 18. The CreditWise app works with Android and Apple devices.
What Is CreditWise?
The free service tracks your credit as a rebranded version of Credit Tracker. Some of the primary features allow for:
- · Tracking credit score
- · Viewing credit report
- · Improving credit score through specific advice
- · Credit simulators to show what activity might impact your credit score
There are two major credit scores for the USA. These are VantageScores and FICO Scores. Most people are familiar with the FICO models. CapitalOne uses TransUnion's VantageScore 3.0 model.
You can check your VantageScore weekly without a fee with free credit monitoring from the CreditWise app. You also get alerts when your score changes up or down.
Credit score reporting details are part of the CreditWise features. You get not only your score but also performance notifications across certain categories. These are:
- On-time payment history
- Credit account age
- Credit being used
- Recent credit inquiries
- Recently opened loan accounts or credit accounts
- Available credit
You will receive credit reports from two of the main three agencies. With CreditWise monitoring, you will get your credit reports from Experian and TransUnion. Check your report regularly for indications of fraud, theft, or general errors.
Some other notable features and functions include:
- CreditWise sends out change alerts when changes occur or potential fraud happens on their TransUnion and Experian credit reports.
- You receive free tips on improving your credit score through specific advice.
- You can figure out how future activity may affect your credit score with CreditWise Simulator. This will allow you to simulate different events, such as paying off a debt, to see how it affects your score.
- Privacy Breach Alerts are also a feature with CreditWise. This will alert you if your email address or other personal details are found on the dark web.
How Accurate Is CreditWise Credit Score?
The short answer is there is no best estimate to go by. Most lenders simply trust FICO scores, making it one of the most popular rating systems. Other tracking systems use VantageScore.
Credit Wise Accuracy for FICO Vs. VantageScore
CreditWise from Capital One will not give you FICO points. You will, however, get a TransUnion Vantage Score. The credit score is accurate but independent of your FICO score as it is a different platform.
Does It Affect Your Credit Score to Use CreditWise?
No—using CreditWise will not affect your credit score. This is so because CreditWise employs soft inquiry to check your credit. The free monitoring system for credit works with Android and Apple devices. You don't need a Capital One account to use the service. You do need to be at least 18 to use CreditWise.
Does CreditWise Work with TransUnion and Experian?
CreditWise uses two out of the three credit bureaus to verify your TransUnion and Experian credit reports. You also get notifications of changes with Equifax reports.
What You Need to Sign Up for CreditWise
Signing up for a CreditWise account is easy. You will just need the following:
- Social Security number
- Phone number
- Email address
- First and last name
- Home address
- You will also need to be 18 and a resident of the U.S. or Puerto Rico to use CreditWise
CreditWise Vs. FICO
Both FICO and CreditWise allow you to use your credit report and credit score. The difference is that CreditWise bases its score on the VantageScore system while FICO uses FICO scores.
Another difference is that you will pay to access your FICO scores. The fee is anywhere from $19.95 a month to $39.95. CreditWise allows users to get TransUnion and Experian reports and FICO gets them from all three—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Why You Should Monitor Your Credit Score
There are several reasons to keep an eye on your credit score. One of the biggest areas to consider is to keep track of any fraudulent activity. If your credit gets hacked, a monitoring system is the first way to get notified that something is amiss.
You should also keep an eye on your credit to help build it. This will let you know what is being reported and what areas you need to focus on for improvement.
Many people choose to monitor their credit when they are looking to make a large purchase in the near future. This is not the only reason to keep an eye on your score. You need to know what is reporting to where, so you have a realistic idea of what interest rates and loans you should qualify for. It will also help you get a better picture of what you need to do to grow your score.
Why People Choose CreditWise
While it is a newer monitoring agency, many people are choosing to utilize it because it is so budget-friendly. For no cost, you can start getting a good idea of where you stand with your credit score. Other monitoring agencies charge fees, which can work against a person who is trying hard to get their finances in order.
CreditKarma or CreditWise or MyFico
The truth is each of these monitoring agencies has pros and cons. When you use myFICO, you get an easy and free way to see your credit score and report. You can access different plans of protection at different fees. You can get help analyzing your credit score. You can also make improvements to your finances and achieve your long-term goals. With myFICO, you can also make improvements to meet long-term goals.
CreditWise has a monitoring system that allows you to watch your credit scores for free. You can check your personal information and financial fitness with this app. CreditWise uses VantageScore to get your credit score. This model lets you see your:
- Number of late payments
- Available credit
- Accounts closed
- Existing credit lines
- Credit behavior
- Credit applications
You will have to decide how much you want to spend to monitor your credit score, as well as what service you feel most comfortable using. You may want to investigate the accuracy of the scores or the other features that are included.
What to Do to Improve Your Credit Score
If you are monitoring your scores, there is a good chance you are concerned about raising them. Here are some simple tips to get you started in the right direction.
Get your free credit report. You can't start addressing what is on your report until you know what is on there. Make sure to get your report at least yearly and address any concerning items. Dispute items you can and pay off others.
Get serious about paying your bills on time. It may seem trivial, but this simple step is the easiest way to build your credit. With all the apps that are available to remind you to pay on time, do not skip doing this.
Don't overextend your credit. It may be tempting to use every bit of your available credit, but it is best if you leave some of it available. In fact, it is suggested that you do not use more than a third of your available credit.
Do buy items on credit. It can also be very attempting to have all your available credit open. This won't help build your credit scores either. You should use your credit for purchases, pay them off, and repeat to get the best scores.
Regardless of the monitoring system you decide to use, the best thing you can do for your credit score is to act. Every small bit of attention to where your money is going will help you be more responsible about it. Learn the factors that impact your credit score and then learn how to get the most out of them. Your credit score is a powerful financial tool if you can get it to work for you.
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.