If you’re not already keeping track of your credit score with another free monitoring service then why not give Credit Karma a try.
In fact, considering the huge range of services and tools they offer, why not switch from your current company and give them a try anyway. Did I mention that Credit Karma is totally free?
Oh yeah, you get your credit report from them for free, unlike other credit monitoring services that charge you for this freely available information. You do have to provide a bunch of personal information (It’s the credit reporting agencies requirements), but you would do that for the paid services anyway.
There’s no sneakiness going on either. There’s no trial fee, no need to give them a credit card number and no need to pay for the service now or ever. Plus, Credit Karma will let you check your score as much as you like. Other companies let you check once a year for free, which is really a teaser to get you to pay for their service so you can keep tabs on your credit report. With the Credit Karma service you can check as often as you like, although anything more than once a month is overkill since nothing will have changed.
If you are trying to set up your own personal identity theft detection plan then you’ll love having access to your credit score for free. While it’s not a true FICO score (it is the Transunion score), it is still useful in that anyone who tries to establish credit in your name will most likely be using Transunion to check your score, so you’ll see the strange drop in your score.
It’s still a good idea to check your FICO score once a year, but having access to monthly updates for free is a quick and easy way to keep track of possible identity theft.
Credit Karma Reviews
Any review about Credit Karma is going to point out that access to your credit report 24 hours a day is one of the most important services they provide.
There are other companies that will give you a certain amount of access, but limit the number of times you can see your report. Credit Karma provides you with the access that you need in the age of identity theft.
This is one of the most important services provided by Credit Karma, is that it is giving you free access to your credit report.
Once you sign up with their service you can look at your credit report any time you like and it will not cost you anything. On top of this, there is a lot of advice and information on how to improve your credit score. This alone is worth money to you personally. An improvement in your credit score can be translated directly into money saved the next time your borrow.
Doing your due diligence now, before you have any credit problems, is the best foundation you can build to ensure a strong credit history. The benefits can be realized further down the road when you apply for your first car loan, mortgage or refinance offer. Surprises that come up during the loan approval process are often unpleasant and shocking. That is why credit monitoring services are so vital for your overall financial wellness.
Credit Karma also has several other great features that you might appreciate:
– There’s a credit score simulator you can use to see what effect various things, such as paying off a credit card or taking out a new car loan, will have on your credit score.
– They recently added credit alert monitoring, helping you avoid identity theft even more easily.
– They give you an Auto Insurance Risk score which can be helpful if you’re thinking of shopping around for a new auto insurer.
Overall Credit Karma is a great alternative to the credit reporting services that make you pay them to get your own credit score. Having access to your credit score whenever you want is a huge deal, even if it is just one of the three credit bureaus. Plus the other features, such as the credit score simulator and free credit alert monitoring, are helpful and can also give you a better idea of how to manage your credit.
If you’re looking for an easy way to monitor your own credit as part of an identity theft screening plan then you simply must try Credit Karma.
A 2015 Credit Karma Review From Consumer Reports Rates Them As The Best Credit Monitoring Service For Consumers
You have many options for credit monitoring out there and that is why these CK reviews can be so useful. They offer the highest rated credit monitoring service according to Consumer Reports for 2015.
Credit Karma creates revenue from advertisers who offer special deals to you as a customer with good credit. Based upon your credit score, there are many companies that have product offerings for you. CK is the conduit for passing these offers along to you. You are under no obligation to accept any offers. They are simply advertisements displayed when you sign on to the website. These ads may be something you are interested in or not. Either way, this is a free service provided to consumers that is paid for through advertisements. There is really no downside to using this valuable online service. Any reviewer should also point out that your personal information is protected at all times and is not seen by other companies.
Credit Karma is a popular credit score tracking service that takes an unusual free approach to their scoring model. They do offer you something for free- your FAKO score.
But you should understand that they are NOT providing you with your FICO score- the one that almost all banks and lenders use.
The FAKO score could be off by as much as 50 points in either direction and should only be used as a guide.
They have a nice fancy advertising platform and I’m sure that for 90% of their users the service is valuable.
The problem is for those other 10% of us that have our information sold onto to 3rd party companies, are told our perfectly normal credit is too ‘think’ for their free credit score, or full their failure to use a SSL for their Smartphone app.
The FCC recently weighed in on the latter, Credit Karma’s mobile app SSL failure, by fining the company for “failure to properly secure data that consumers imputed on their mobile apps, leaving them at risk of being hacked.” This has reported been addressed by the company but the most recent FCC test results have not yet been released (per Credit Secure website).
Since their program focuses on consumer credit information, their breach directly exposed the sensitive personal financial information of their customers including Social Security Numbers, names, dates of birth and home addresses along with credit report details such as account names.
For hackers, this is like the holy grail.
It is possible to secure your customer’s personal information. This is especially true for a company strictly deals with credit monitoring. They have no excuse to not be using robust SSL certificates on each and every server the store customer info on.
To me, this proves that the company does not do business in a good-faith manner and in a sense truly living up to the Credit Karma scam rumors. In 2014, as the data breach frenzy of the holidays in 2013, there is simply no excuse to not take every measure.
Their FCC settlement requires the company to undergo independent security checks for the next 20 years to ensure they are using industry standards to secure consumer data.
The company’s official response was:
“Credit Karma is actively cooperating with the FTC and entered into this agreement to reinforce its commitment to data security. This issue was limited to mobile applications operating on unsecured networks only, and has since been addressed. There are no known individuals who were affected as a result.”
While their response has clearly been spun to minimize the potential fallout, you can safely assume the FCC would not be involved if this breach truly did not affect any consumers.
How Much Is A Free Credit Score Worth To You
The problem with Credit Karma score is not that it is free. That is the hook so to speak. While it is true that it is not the same score as your FICO score, it is a somewhat accurate representation of your credit file. They use their own scoring metrics to arrive at the number they give you. The problem is that this “free” credit score service opens up your credit file to 3rd party companies to send you offers for.
By signing up for Credit Karma, you are agreeing to give these 3rd party companies access to your credit report, which they then sell to companies who will potentially send you offers, such as credit cards, car loans, payday loans, etc…
While you may not mind that type of exposure, you need to ask yourself if companies like Credit Karma or My Fico are being upfront about their intentions. If you don’t mind these type of 3rd party offers or having your credit report open for all to see, then the ‘free’ score is probably fine with you.
For me, as a past victim of identity theft, I would advise consumers to never open up their credit file in this way. You have enough to worry about by other companies already having direct access to your credit history, without granting a free for all from 3rd party companies by giving them the green light to review your finances. For example, one user reported that within 48 hours of opening an account, they started getting solicitations from debt collectors (reddit image of collection letter from Cache LLC).
This was because their info was shared with 3rd party collectors- even if Credit Karma had no intention of sharing with that type of junk debt buyers.
Another Problem For Consumers After They Leave Credit Karma
One consumer that contacted us said that they after leaving CreditKarma.com because they were told their credit history was too “thin” to get their free credit score, their information was immediately sold on to 3rd party credit card companies.
In fact, within 12 hours of asking CreditKarma.com to close his account and remove all his sensitive information, this consumer had a new email for a secured credit card from Orchard Bank. This is indisputable evidence that Credit Karma sells this information on because this consumer had created a brand new email account prior to signing up just to test what type of spam offers he was going to get.