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Credit Karma iPhone Mobile App Review

Posted By Jim On 07/18/2012 @ 9:06 am In Reviews | 2 Comments

Credit Karma [3] recently released a free Credit Karma iPhone app [4] that lets you monitor your credit anytime you want. It was released today I think and, as is the case with everything I’ve seen from them, it’s very well done.

The data on the screens isn’t mine so I can’t speak to what some of that means in a broader context.

The app is straightforward, with four basic screens (click to enlarge them in a new window):

Dashboard Screen

The dashboard screen, which you see immediately after logging in, shows you your TransRisk Score – the same TransUnion credit score you get from the Credit Karma [5] website. Below your score, and their scale, you’ll see two “stacks of papers” which lead to your Credit Report Card and My Accounts screen. Below that are your notifications, which is a list of all the major credit changes on your report. If you give the app the ability to do Push Notifications, the app can tell you when there’s a change to your report. This could be a useful addition to a do it yourself identity theft protection plan [6].

Credit Score History

Clicking on the top panel on the Dashboard will slide open the Credit Score history screen, which looks a lot like the Score Center on the main website. Your score is shown at the top followed by your score history for the last twelve months. You can tap each orange dot to show your score history. At the bottom you’ll see how it compares to “customers nationwide.”

Credit Report Card & My Accounts

If you’ve played on the Credit Karma site much, these two screens will be familiar abbreviations of their website counterparts. The credit report card shows you how you’re doing on six of the factors that affect your score – open credit utilization, percentage of on-time payments, avg. age of open credit lines, total accounts, hard credit inquiries, and derogatory marks. I don’t know how they determine the grade you get but they assign a grade. Clicking on each will give you a one sentence recap of how you’re doing right below the row.

My Accounts simply gives you a snapshot of all the accounts listed on your report, broken out into the different categories. Credit cards, auto loans, home loans, and student loans (plus an “other” listing) are included. You can then go deeper into each category and see the individual accounts under each category. This is a good way to keep tabs on cards you never use but have kept in a drawer for credit score purposes. The last thing you want to do is have a fraud charge compounded by late fees because you didn’t see it. That would be adding insult to injury.

Notifications

All the other stuff is great but it’s the notifications that make this app useful as a mobile application. Credit Karma has really grown into a service that can monitor your TransUnion credit report, which is far more useful than providing you a non-FICO TransUnion TransRisk score. Most notifications are benign, such as a decrease in account balance or a report of credit utilization, but it’s still good to get a review them. All it takes is one strange notification, that you need to investigate deeper, for this to be all worth it.

Here’s one notification in greater detail about my utilization:

How Much Is It?

The app itself is free but it’s supported by advertisements, a fair trade in my book. So far, I only saw an advertisement for the Chase Freedom card on the credit score history screen. The advertisement was presented as a “tip,” but the tip was “Start earning cash back today with the Chase Freedom card!

All in all, a good app. Hopefully I never get bad notifications!


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/credit-karma-mobile-review.html

[3] Credit Karma: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/creditkarma.php?tag=CKreview

[4] Credit Karma iPhone app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/credit-karma-mobile-free-credit/id519817714?ls=1&mt=8

[5] The dashboard screen, which you see immediately after logging in, shows you your TransRisk Score – the same TransUnion credit score you get from the Credit Karma: http://www.bargaineering.com/images/in_posts/credit-karma-dashboard.png

[6] do it yourself identity theft protection plan: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/do-it-yourself-identity-theft-protection.html

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