Credit Karma Review

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Credit KarmaI can’t believe I’ve been using Credit Karma all these months and never wrote up a quick review of the service! I’ve done walkthroughs of their Credit Score Report Card, but never about the entire service. Tsk tsk, what a bad blogger I am.

Credit Karma offers a lot of nice juicy information but the only thing I’m really pumped about is the fact that you get your TransUnion credit score absolutely free. When you sign up, you have to provide a lot of sensitive personal information because it’s needed to pull your credit score from TransUnion. Since the service is free, the only barrier to using it is your comfort level with providing this information to a third party.

Here’s what my dashboard looked like:
Credit Karma Dashboard

There are several reasons why I like Credit Karma:

  • It’s free. When other companies are charging you to look at your own credit score, it’s nice to be able to see it for free. You don’t have to provide a credit card number, there’s no “trial,” and there’s no sneaky catch in there. It’s free and they never ask for a penny. That’s very refreshing.
  • Check as often as you want. Many of the trial services let you check your score once. After that, you need to pay. With Credit Karma, you can check it as often as you’d like. The real limit is once a month because that’s how often various creditors will report data. So you can check daily, but it won’t change unless your report changes.
  • It helps protect against identity theft. Now that the barrier to see your score once a month (or daily if you prefer) has been reduce to $0, it’s possible to use this as part of your do it yourself identity theft protection. If someone opens an account with your credit and the account uses TransUnion to check your score, your score will inexplicably go down. While this doesn’t trump checking your report every year through, the fact that it’s free makes it a no brainer for you to check at least once a month, rather than once every twelve.
  • The credit simulator is fun to play with. If you’ve ever been confused about your credit, such as what can hurt or harm it, the credit simulator is a great intuitive way to learn how your actions affect your score. Open a new account? Score falls. Pay off a debt? Score rises.

Here are some reasons why I don’t like it:

  • It’s not a FICO credit score. Credit Karma does not give you a FICO credit score, they give you a TransUnion credit score. TransUnion is one of the three credit bureaus, so it’s a score from a credit bureau; it’s just not one using the FICO credit score equation. If you’re planning on getting a loan, you’ll want a FICO score. If you just want to see what your score is, this score is good enough.
  • It’s a security risk. Giving a third party your sensitive information, even if it is protected and secure, is always a risk. For me, the risk is acceptable but you have to make that determination for yourself. It’s just like the warning I give every time I write about personal finance tools like Mint or Quicken, you take a calculated risk whenever you give your sensitive financial and personal information to at third party. If something happens, ultimately you are responsible.

Overall, I’m very pleased with what they offer. If you’re wondering how they can offer this service for free, it’s because they’re supported by advertising revenue. One thing they have promised never to do is sell your personal information to third parties, which is always one of the concerns whenever you sign up for free services like this. Fortunately they’ve addressed it and put that issue to bed.

I know a lot of Bargaineering readers have signed up for Credit Karma, in part because everyone always gives them a shout in the comments, so I’m curious what you think about the service. If you have any recommendations of what they can or should do, please also share those as well.

{ 155 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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155 Responses to “Credit Karma Review”

  1. Carol says:

    Oh yeah I forgot they also helped me get 3 negative reports off of my record at no charge

  2. Kip's Mom says:

    A decent overview, but they don’t get updates very often. Seems like they are quick to lower the score if anything bad happens, but my score hasn’t improved in over 4 months, even though my credit card dept is being lowered significantly every month. Also, when I have called to find out why my score has been lowered, they have been no help at all, could care less about really offering a service. Seems their main service is the advertising of secured credit cards, etc. I am not getting much out of it since, the score never seems to get better…and I am working very hard to get the balances reduced, payments on time, etc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Credit Karma no longer has an update button, I have been using it for about a year. They take your information and run it through a similar algorithm to one of the credit unions, to give you a close estimate to what your score is.

    However recently they made their “update” button available so that you are dependent on CK for an update of your score (mine hasn’t updated in 3 months). Upon investigation there seem to be complaints across the span of a few years that credit scores will not even change one point after a certain point. Which leads me to believe that instead of it being a website-wide problem, it is something that happens individually to each user after a certain period of time.

    Now Credit Karma has my personal information (including social security #) and does not provide the service I originally signed up for. Also the only way to delete your account is by writing an email to support. Which was very difficult to even discover. In the terms of services it APPEARS that termination is simple, there is a whole section dedicated to it. Upon closer instruction there is a click “here” link to terminate your account, which just leads you to a very abbreviated “account help” section that makes no mention of termination.

  4. eddie says:

    The number you get from CK is NOT official. There is nothing free in this world. If you want your credit report and scores, it is going to cost you about $15 minimum.

    Also note, that the number CK reported alleging to be my Transunion score is 26 points lower than what Transunion says it is. I have my real, full report in front of me, 7 days old. The score CK shows for me has not changed in 5 months, though 4 accounts have been paid to $0 and closed in that span.

    Truly a “get what you pay for” situation.

  5. Bill Forester says:

    Saw a commercial on TV about how the other credit companies online want a credit card and why do they need a credit card but creditkarma doesn’t ask for one so I went to the website and guess what I started to put in my info and guess what, they ask for my credit card. Another scam.

    • JJ says:

      clearly you did it wrong. it does not ask for your cc

    • john pilgrim says:

      please be careful, there are currently 94 scam websites (according to the phishing agency) that make you THINK you are at credit karma, but it is a scam, please check your address bar that you are actually on the real credit karma site….. there is NO CREDIT CARD page on there. good luck and watch your information

    • Anita says:

      I’ve used CK for over two years. I have never provided them a credit card number. You may have clicked on “buy your credit report.” Try again!

  6. Jen Thon says:

    I’ve noticed more than once they are very inaccurate. Today, for instance. I logged in, they said they updated scores today. My score dropped 5 points, they say because my credit limits are getting close. I paid those cards off a month ago, yet today their “UPDATE” shows a balence. No more credit karma, I will find an accurate site.

    • Moe says:

      Jen Thon: Shirley is right, even other credit reporting companies used by all banks get info based on your last statement, whatever shows up on there is what is reported to them as well, so it is always a good idea to pay off or lower your owing limit BEFORE your statement is printed even if you pay it off in full after the statement is issues and prior to the payment due date. Thats how it works, it kind of sucks especially if you are like me using your cc heavily and paying it off in full at the end of the month which could still not look good if you apply for new loan or cc.

  7. Shirley says:

    Jen Thon, they use the cc balances for the previous month, so next month will show your new or non balances.

  8. Garoldina says:

    Credit Karma is full of it! Asked questions to prove I was who I am, asked me if my car was finaniced with 4 different places I clicked no of above same thing for my government school loan. Was told I was wrong to send in my birth certificate ans social security card. TOTALLY BOGUS?

  9. Ella McNeamer says:

    I need a phone number to update correct info.

  10. Fay Sage says:

    My score should be better as Sunhomes has be paid off and no longer should be on the record.

  11. Gloria says:

    For some reason, Credit Karma seems to have some broken links. When they ask for your Birthday for instance the numbers offered only go up to 19. For the year of birth there is a frozen limit as well.
    Then it won’t take your security question.
    How do you get around these problem to actually use the site when there is no one to communicate with when there is a problem? I am frustrated and disappointed.

  12. George Blanco says:

    Just want to know why white people always lose on that game on the Credit Karma commercials.

  13. mike says:

    why can I not find a telephone number for Credit Karma>

    Please send it to me.


  14. Robert says:

    My score dropped by 67 points in one month. I had not done anything to justify such a monumental drop from 816 to 749. When I tried to ask Credit Karma for an explanation they replied that they have no way of knowing why the drop and that I should contact the Credit Agencies. The Credit Agencies are not the ones who made the point determination. Credit Karma is the one who should be able to answer why they lowered the point score. I am not happy with the service.

  15. Jamie says:

    A few years back I tryed CK, at first I thought wow an actual website that wasn’t just trying to get my email and all my personal information to send me junk mail and give me a bunch of viruses… They are just in it for the money and to get anyone and everyone your information, beware!!

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