As a responsible person I like to keep tabs on my credit score. I put a lot of effort into paying my bills on time and in full so I don’t want my credit ruined by fraud, identity theft, or errors. Every year I take some time to check my credit score through AnnualCreditReport.com but you can only get your credit report for free every twelve months. In that time a lot of damage can be done. I wanted some thing that will give me some more real time stats about my credit.
I’ve been seeing the commercials for CreditKarma.com A LOT lately. Who hasn’t really? they play the commercial constantly. But I’m never too thrilled about services that have to advertise that much, I like the Google thought, if a service is that good, you won’t need to advertise, your customers will tell every one they know. But I was curious so after some research I bit and signed up.
Credit Karma asks you for your full name, address, and the last 4 digits of your social security number. They then ask you a few questions that only you should know. That’s it. No credit card number. In fact they don’t offer any paid services. So their commercial is true.The service is free.
Logging in you see a dashboard that tells you your credit rating, along with all the loans, credit card, etc that you have. It is a great snapshot and honestly all that I really expected. But you can dig deeper and view each loan, credit card, etc. So you can see how you are doing on each. If you missed any payments, if there are issues with the account and more. It is pretty nice.
But there is more! They recently added a free credit report. This is more like what you are going to see on AnnualCreditReport.com. You can see current and past accounts, credit inquires, collections, and public records. Digging deeper they have a Credit Score Center that give you your other scores including, VantageScore, Auto Insurance Score, and Home Insurance Score. Credit Karma even has stats so you can see how you rate compared to other people.
So how does Credit Karma make money? By getting you to sign up for credit cards, loans, insurance, and more. They are not shy about it either. Pretty much every screen has some sort of offer. Slightly annoying but it is a free service after all.
However, there are a few issues. I wouldn’t say they are misleading but a misunderstanding. For example I have a credit card that I’m paying no interest on so long as I make payments. Credit Karma recommends that I transfer the balance to a different credit card with no APR for 18 months then it will have a lower APR. It is a bad move because the transfer cost would be $75 and if I don’t pay off the loan in 18 months I would be hit with interest. Where as with my current credit card as long as I make payments, it is always going to be at no interest. I can see where Credit Karma is coming from if you compare both credit cards, it would appear as if I’m paying interest because it doesn’t show up as 0% APR. So as long as you use common sense and don’t jump on or at least pay attention to what they are offering, it won’t be an issue.
Beyond that, I surprisingly happy with Credit Karma. They provide very useful information in an easy to understand manor. So if you have some time this week, I recommend signing up for Credit Karma.