Credit Karma is working to change the credit score landscape. They offer consumers a unique platform to track and manage their credit for free. Based on your score, you gain access to exclusive offers from companies that value your creditworthiness.
Credit Karma does not have a free trial, because the service is already completely free. Their niche entails free credit scores for all consumers which can be monitored and viewed monthly. They offer updates and resources to keep track of your score and its performance.
Once signed in, the interface or dashboard is clean and easy to use. We were able to navigate between our score and their version of a credit “report” without confusion. Information is broken into sections and very consumable.
Credit Karma offers an advice and learning center with articles and resources to help individuals increase their credit scores and get on the right track. They also provide tools such as a credit change calculator. Consumers can adjust their balances, payments, etc. with simulated scenarios (pay off one card, increase the balance on a card, get a new loan, etc.) and the calculator shows the resulting effects upon the credit score.
Credit Karma has a B with the BBB currently due in large part to a recent government action (FTC) against Credit Karma which was settled. Credit Karma was found to have not taken the measures which it purported to in securing sensitive customer data with their mobile app. The lack of security measures is a concern in many arenas, and even more so when working with sensitive financial data.
Credit Karma is free but consumers pay in different ways. Credit Karma makes it very clear on their site that they use consumer information for offers. Credit Karma says, “Based on your score, you gain access to exclusive offers from companies that value your creditworthiness.” What does this mean? Credit Karma has to make money in one way or another. They’ve chosen to peg consumers with offers. One can expect to receive “consumer spam” after signing up with Credit Karma.
Credit Karma does not give consumers access to credit reports from agencies nor do they offer FICO scores. Credit Karma has set up three scores that are unique to their site. We like their approach; however, we find not having reports from major bureaus, to be a drawback.
The Bottom Line
Credit Karma is truly changing the credit landscape. Their services are financially free, and are accessible at any time. Using Credit Karma is an option for those who do not want to pay monthly fees or do not want the hassle of canceling.
The security issue with the FTC has been addressed and will be monitored for the next 20 years as per the settlement. As such, we can recommend them with cautionary advice as an option for learning what your credit score is.
While you don’t receive reports from all 3 bureaus, you do receive some valuable information that can truly help you with whatever goals you have.
Understanding the different features and services offered by each company will be helpful as you’re determining which service is best for you. We’ve highlighted a few of the services that each company offers, but this is not an exhaustive list. To see everything Credit Karma has to offer, visit their site.
Free TransUnion Credit Score
Credit Karma gives members access to their TransUnion credit score. Access to only one score is not ideal, but having one score is definitely better than not knowing any of your scores. Knowing all three scores is beneficial because some lenders don’t report issues or incidences to all three reporting bureaus.
Free Credit Report Card
When you enroll with Credit Karma you gain access to your credit report card. This shouldn’t be confused with your actual credit report, as it’s different. The report card is generated by Credit Karma and shows you how well they believe you are doing in your credit life.
Daily Credit Monitoring
Free daily credit monitoring can be a very helpful tool when you’re trying to keep an eye on your credit situation. Credit Karma will monitor your credit and update you if any certain changes take place.
Credit Karma looks at your credit score and your credit situation and can make recommendations about how you can save money, based on your habits. If you spend a lot of money doing certain, unnecessary activities, they may recommend that you cut back.
Access to Credit Card and Financial Institution Reviews
Credit Karma has looked into and reviewed many different credit card issuing and financial institutions and they offer the results to you. You can look into the different organizations and determine which may be best for you, depending on your preferences.