- Editor Rating
- Rated 4.5 stars
- Credit Karma
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
- Last modified:
- Company ReputationEditor: 90%
- Customer ServiceEditor: 70%
- FeaturesEditor: 90%
- FunctionEditor: 80%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 100%
Credit Karma is an online credit score monitoring service that is safe and completely free to use.
There are many scams and gimmicks currently out there that claim to provide you with a real way to check your credit score for absolutely no cost. For example, the highly marketed service “freecreditscore.com” is not actually free, but instead gives users a free 7 day trial then automatically charges them $14.95 a month to continue their service. Unfortunately, too many people fall for this and do not realize they will be charged after initial 7 days.
On the other hand, there is a free service called Credit Karma which allows users to view their personal credit score free of charge. There is no possibility of having to enroll in a paid plan as they do not offer any paid plans! Instead, Credit Karma provides a safe and secure online credit monitoring service that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has been featured in reputable sources like The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, and msnbc.
Here is their official take their free service and how they make money in comparison to their competitor's shady tactics:
Credit Karma believes consumers have a right to know this information with no charge or without the bait and switch of 30 days free followed by enrollment products with confusing opt outs. We subsidize our cost of pulling the credit scores by selling advertising on the site. (see more frequently asked questions)
By signing up with Credit Karma, you gain a great deal of valuable features in order to better understand your credit score and to keep it monitored against fraud and suspicious activity.
In your dashboard you are given four different scores (descriptions taken from CreditKarma):
- TransUnion® New Account Score. This score ranges from 300 to 850. It's calculated by TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus. The New Account Score is used by lenders to assess your creditworthiness, or the likelihood that you'll repay your debts.
- VantageScore. This score ranges from 501 to 990. The VantageScore model was created through a collaboration by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It aims to make credit scoring more consistent and accurate across all the bureaus. The VantageScore grades your creditworthiness on an easy A to F letter scale.
- Auto Insurance Score. This score ranges from 150 to 950. It is calculated using data from your TransUnion credit report and is used primarily by auto insurance companies to help assess the likelihood that you'll file an insurance claim. It is not based on your driving record.
- Home Insurance Score. This score ranges from 150 to 950. It is calculated using data from your TransUnion credit report and is used primarily by home insurance companies to help assess the likelihood that you'll file an insurance claim.
In this dashboard you will also see your “Credit Report Card”, which will give you an overall grade as well as an individual grade for the following criteria:
- Credit Card Utilization
- Percentage of Payments Made On-Time
- Age of Credit History
- Total Accounts
- Credit Inquiries
- Derogatory Marks
This feature is one of my favorites as it gives you a quick an to the point way of showing you where you stand in terms of what is helping or hurting your credit score and gives you an idea of what you need to work on to improve it. There is also a credit score simulator that will help you determine how different scenarios will affect your overall credit score.
I was an early supporter of Credit Karma and have been a member for the past 2 years. I have never received any charges since I have never had to enter in any credit card information. I was obviously hesitant about giving a random company my social security number, but since they have a great reputation and have received such a great deal of positive media attention I was willing to do so.
You might be thinking is “since they don't charge for the service, I bet they will bombard my email with spam”. Luckily, this is not the case whatsoever. Over the 2 years that I have been a member, the service has only emailed me a total of six times. One of these emails was sent immediately after I signed up to let me know how the service works. The others were periodic updates that let me know of changes to my credit score.
Overall, I find the Credit Karma service to be an excellent way to check your existing credit score and to monitor any future changes. This service is the real deal with no hidden gimmicks and best of all you don't ever have to provide them with any credit card information. However, you need to give them your social security number in order to be properly tracked. From someone who has been with the service for over 2 years, it is perfectly safe to use and I have had no complaints.