This is not the WSJ article, but it is a link to the same topic you mentioned. https://seekingalpha.com/news/3399294-big-u-s-lenders-share-underwriting-models-credit-karma
I agree with you with respect to what you said about CK’s relationship to EX, especially with these lenders. I am sure there is some exclusivity agreement between CK and these CC companies; but from what I can determine, it is really a nothing burger for these entities. It truly appears that they are giving nothing away. If the CC companies only use EX, then the information they give to CK is useless for EQ and TU. CK in turn provides a service that is basically useless to the consumer. Nevertheless, the CCs give the appearance of giving something up and more potential customers, while CK gets more “click through” money at the expense of a potential naive user.
The user must really be aware of what CRA the CC company they are applying for above uses in their area. I have 4 of the 5 cards mentioned and each pulled (at the time I got them) from EX only. And we all must remember, what was valid a long time ago, may be irrelevant today. Remember CC companies can change CRAs they use the same way you can change gas stations. There has been a lot of movement since the EQ fiasco, so – well, remember if the company used a particular CRA in your area several years ago, they may not use that same company today.