In recent years checking your credit score has become not only easier but more affordable.
There are now several platforms offering free credit score reporting services, including Credit Karma.
In this in-depth Credit Karma review, we’ll have a look at the most common questions folks ask about this service.
What is Credit Karma?
Credit Karma is an online platform that provides subscribers with free credit score reports and credit monitoring.
They also offer resources so that you can better understand what goes into your score and how you can improve your credit standing.
Credit Karma believes that access to free credit score reports and monitoring will help more people reach financial well-being.
Not only do they provide their users with credit reports, but they also offer a variety of resources to help people avoid (and resolve) identity theft and lower their interest rates.
What Does Credit Karma Offer?
When you sign up with Credit Karma you will have access to an online dashboard to be able to view numerous different things:
View Credit Reports
When you access your Credit Karma account, you will be able to view both figures in a dashboard image. As banks will pull scores from any or a combination of the three major credit bureaus, it is important to know if they are reporting different numbers.
The only score not reported by Credit Karma is Experian.
Monitor Credit Inquiries
Credit Karma also helps you monitor inquiries on your credit. Credit inquiries have two variations, hard or soft inquiries.
The latter can harm your credit standing. Hard inquiries require your consent and are usually done when you ask for a loan, or place a deposit on an apartment or a house.
Through Credit Karma, you can track when your credit has been pulled through a hard inquiry. Credit Karma uses soft credit inquiries to access the information they provide you, so using its services will not adversely affect your credit scores.
View Credit Score Daily
While other platforms might restrict your access to a free credit score to only once a year, Credit Karma will allow you to review your scores whenever you like.
This can help you protect yourself from identity theft, as you will be able to see immediately if any discrepancies have occurred in your credit portfolio.
Help with Identity Theft
Credit Karma can also walk you through the steps you need to take if you experience identity theft.
Credit Score Simulator
Another feature of Credit Karma is their credit score simulator. This application uses your current credit information to estimate how long it will take you to pay off a loan, what price range you can consider when buying a house, and what kind of loans you might qualify for.
While these results are speculated, and not exact, they can help users get a better idea of what they are up against.
Credit Karma’s simulation feature has a user-friendly interface. You can select certain bars to see what would happen to your credit score if you close a bank account or open a new line of credit. You can also estimate your results if you pay off a loan or a standing credit balance.
Credit Score Comparison
Another interesting feature of Credit Karma is its ability to compare your credit scores to other users of a similar age and income. This way, you can see how your Credit Karma score stands compared to existing averages.
Is Credit Karma Free?
Yes, Credit Karma is completely free. You do not need to enter your credit card information to register. There is no free trial involved that may charge you if you do not unsubscribe.
The Credit Karma free credit score offer is not a scam!
How Does Credit Karma Make Money?
Credit Karma free credit reports are possible due to advertisements. Banks pay Credit Karma to advertise loan and credit card offers that you qualify for, based on the information recorded on the site.
While this might seem alarming at first, this business model is used by a variety of companies and is very similar to how Facebook uses your information to send you targeted ads. Credit Karma does not share your data with third parties.
Credit Karma also receives money when you take a loan or sign up for a credit card with one of their partner companies. These companies benefit from economized marking.
Meanwhile, Credit Karma insists that everyone will be better off when you can make informed decisions regarding your finances.
Pros and Cons of Credit Karma
- User-friendly interface: Your credit score is presented in a visual graph as part of a dashboard display, making it easy to break down its different components. The credit simulator also allows more visual types to see how their individual decisions will affect their credit scores.
- Daily Credit Score: While other platforms might restrict your access to a free credit score to only once a year, Credit Karma will allow you to review your scores whenever you like.
- Unable to provide FICO scores: However, their reports of figures from both Equifax and TransUnion aim to give you the best information possible and are usually within close range of your FICO score.
- Advertisements: Credit Karma’s goal is to change the market of credit by giving more people access to affordable reports. Banks jump on board with this, because they can save money by selective advertising to clients they can realistically expect are interested in their products. This is perhaps the downside or the ‘price’ to Credit Karma users. You will likely receive a fair amount of advertisements, in exchange for a free service.
Should You Use Credit Karma?
A common concern regarding Credit Karma is data protection. Credit Karma assures its users a high level of data security—a 128-bit encryption system with 24/7 monitoring. The security protection that Credit Karma promises its users is at an industrial standard.
Since a dispute in 2014 regarding the security of Credit Karma’s mobile app, the federal government has required that the company turn in security reports every two years until 2034.
While some potential users are hesitant to share personal information, such as their social security number, Credit Karma does not store this information and only has access to the last four digits. Your social security number is necessary for pulling credit inquiries.
Your credit score is important if you ever want to apply for a loan. It can be essential in buying a car or a house. It may even be necessary for certain workplaces, or as a preliminary step to sign a lease on an apartment.
It’s recommended to check your credit score at least once a year, however, the ability to view these numbers monthly can protect you against any discrepancies as the result of an error or identity theft. Credit Karma believes this is the reason regular credit score reports should be free and accessible to everyone.
In short, if you don’t mind an ad or two and some affiliate offers, Credit Karma is a superb—and free—way to monitor your credit.