Credit Karma is a feature-rich credit monitoring & reporting service. Users can check their credit score & protect their identity. Best of all, credit karma is free & users are not required to input any information upon signing up.
- Pricing Packages
- The Good
- The Bad
Credit Karma Features
Credit Karma Credit Reporting
Equifax: Users will receive a credit report from Equifax.
Experian: Users will receive a credit report from Experian.
Transunion: Users will receive a credit report from Transunion.
Credit Report Price: All credit reports are free.
FAKO Credit Score: Users receive their FAKO credit score, which is a proprietary credit score developed by Credit Karma.
No FICO: Users cannot view their FICO credit score.
Credit Karma Credit Monitoring
No Automatic Subscription: Users are not automatically subscribed to credit monitoring services after applying for a credit report.
Alerts: Users receive alerts of significant changes to their credit report.
No Database Monitoring: Credit Karma does not actively monitor databases for changes in user information.
No Advanced Monitoring: Credit Karma does not actively scan all available databases for changes in user information.
Online Access: Users can view their credit reports online.
Incorrect Information Disputes: Credit Karma users can dispute incorrect information directly from the app.
Other Credit Karma Features
Mobile Apps: Users can view their credit report information via Android devices, iPhone, and iPad.
Tech Support: Tech support is available via online knowledge bases and email.
No Toll-Free Telephone: You cannot connect to Credit Karma’s tech support team over toll-free telephone.
Online Knowledge Base: Credit Karma’s online knowledge base explains the intricacies of credit reports and answers specific Credit Karma questions.
Free Credit Reports
No Credit Card Entry
The Good On Credit Karma
If you search for “free credit scores” on Google Search, then you’re going to find a ridiculous number of scams and low-quality services. Finding a legitimate free credit score provider is rare. Credit Karma, however, is legitimately free. Instead of luring users with free credit reports, taking their credit card information, and then charging them once an arbitrary “free trial” period is complete, Credit Karma takes a different approach. Users are not required to input credit card data to use Credit Karma and Credit Karma does not charge anything for its services.
Credit Karma Makes Money Through Legitimate Advertising
Of course, once a service advertises itself as “free”, most people start to wonder how, exactly, that service makes money. Credit Karma makes money by selling advertisements on its site. Specifically, when logged into their Credit Karma accounts, users will see “recommended” credit card offers and other promotional deals. Credit Karma makes commission when you sign up for these credit cards. Additionally, users receive regular promotional emails from Credit Karma listing the best available offers. You never have to click on any of these offers and you can unsubscribe from promotional emails. If you’re sick and tired of other “free” credit report companies hiding their monthly subscription fees, then Credit Karma may be your best option.
High Level of Security
Credit Karma uses HTTPS protection and OpenSSL encryption on its website for maximum security. All information transmitted between users and the Credit Karma servers is protected during the entire transmission process.
Credit Karma – unlike some of its competitors – offers a full lineup of good mobile apps. Credit Karma mobile apps are available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The apps are highly rated in their respective app stores and provide users with full access to their accounts. New users can download the apps and create a new account in-app. New features include the ability to dispute inaccurate credit report information directly from the Credit Karma app.
No Need to Enter Credit Card Data
Some free credit reporting agencies request your credit card data even when they claim their service is “free”. In many cases, they do this to charge your credit cards once a trial period is complete. That’s a deceptive approach to doing business. Fortunately, Credit Karma takes a different approach and does not force users to enter credit card data at any step of the way. You never need to pay Credit Karma anything – and no, it’s not a scam, trick, or marketing ploy. Credit Karma just makes its money in other ways.
Easy UI and Clear Display of Information
You don’t have to be a financial expert to decipher Credit Karma’s data. Instead, all information is clearly and simply displayed on your Credit Karma account. You can easily understand what you’re viewing. If you’ve never checked your credit before, then you’ll appreciate the fact that Credit Karma clearly explains what each factor means and what impact it has on your credit score. Of course, just because Credit Karma’s UI is basic doesn’t mean that users can’t view detailed credit report data – all the advanced information about your credit is available, including the total number of accounts, the amount remaining on all loans and lines of credit, and other factors included in your credit score.
Receive Credit Alerts
Credit Karma is a credit reporting agency, but it also provides basic credit monitoring services. Credit Karma will email you when a line of credit is nearing its limit. It will also notify you of any potential problems with your account. If an account was recently closed, Credit Karma will deliver a notification. It’s not nearly as full-featured as other credit monitoring agencies, but considering it’s free, it’s tough to complain.
Advanced Credit Tools
Credit Karma isn’t as feature-rich as paid providers, but it does offer a handful of useful credit reporting tools. Those tools include a simulator that lets you tinker with your credit score using various methods. Want to see how much that missed car loan payment will affect your credit score? Check the simulator. Want to see how long it’s going to take to improve your credit score? Check the simulator. If you’re relatively new to credit monitoring, then I recommend consulting the simulator before making any major credit decisions.
Detailed Credit Report Cards
Credit Karma’s credit report cards feature detailed information about your credit score and credit information. That information includes all outstanding debts and lines of credit, including the amount by which your balances have increased or decreased since the last update. In addition, Credit Karma grades your credit report from A to F in a number of different categories, including Overall, Utilization, On-Time Payments, Average Age of Open Accounts, Total Accounts, Hard Inquiries, and Derogatory Marks. These grades help you determine where you need to improve and which factors are dragging down your score.
The Bad On Credit Karma
Limited Credit Monitoring
Credit Karma is, first and foremost, a credit reporting service. It does not offer advanced credit monitoring features. Credit monitoring services scan public databases for any changes made involving your personal information. If you require credit monitoring, you can expect to pay between $10 and $25 per month from another provider. If you don’t require credit monitoring, then Credit Karma is a good option. Of course, you can monitor your credit manually by checking Credit Karma frequently for your credit report and scanning that report for any changes.
No FICO Scores
Credit Karma does not provide your FICO Score. Your FICO Score is what creditors and lenders use to determine your worthiness as a borrower. It’s the most important number associated with your credit. However, Credit Karma does use a metric of its own called the FAKO Score. Your FAKO Score is an estimation of your FICO score and the two numbers will not be identical.
Credit Karma is free because the company makes money from promotional advertising deals with credit card companies. There’s nothing wrong with that: after all, nothing is free on the internet. However, if you’re the type of person who hates receiving promotional emails and doesn’t like seeing advertisements on websites, then Credit Karma may not be your best option. That being said, you can opt out of all promotional emails and use an ad blocker to block website advertisements, so most users won’t find this to be a big deal.
The Verdict On Credit Karma
Credit Karma is one of the few credit companies that legitimately offers free credit reports online. Users don’t have to enter credit card information upon signing up for their account, nor do they have to remember to cancel their account before an arbitrary “trial period” is complete.
Credit Karma makes its money through promotional credit card offers and monthly promotional emails. It doesn’t scam users, lure them in with false advertising, or perform other deceptive advertising practices. Instead, it’s a clean and simple service that offers a wide range of features – even when compared to other paid providers.
If you’re looking for a free credit reporting service, then Credit Karma is a good option. If you’re looking for full-fledged identity theft protection and credit monitoring, then there are better options out there – although none of them are free. All things considered, Credit Karma offers considerable value for a free service and we strongly recommend it for anyone interested in tracking their credit information.