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. Bonita says:

    I was made aware of CreditKarma via Howard Clarke to check ur score for FREE. This was a good thing… My credit score was better than I thought! The Bad thing is that they offered (in my case) to apply for a Chase Bank that offered me a Very Good chance of acceptance to transfer cc balances, so I applied. I received a denial from Chase and also, my Score dropped almost 80 pts. Shame on u both; had I known I would not have had a “Very Good Chance” of acceptance, I would not have applied. No shame on me, cause I should have known that there is always a catch! They’re working together!!

    • Pauling Wexford says:

      CreditKarma took my information and gave it to the WORLD. Honestly, I was hiding from capital one and have been for 10 years, waiting for them to go away. In Texas, that’s the law. Anyhow, now they call daily both at home and at work. It’s very embarrassing and I could lose my job over it. Yes, I owe the money but credit Karma messed me up bad and they will likely remove this post. Don’t apply unless you want collectors calling you

      • Eric says:

        Capital One is not allowed to call you at work. Tell them to stop calling you at work and they have to stop or you can pursue legal action against them. This happened to me with other creditors. The difference between us is I paid them back and wasn’t trying to hide. You, on the other hand, are a despicable human and a wart on the face of society. Pay your debt or don’t borrow.

      • Josh Johnson says:

        I’m sure it is also the law to pay your debts, you freeloading

      • Daniel says:

        You are not responsable.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about instead of ‘hiding’ for 10 years – you actually make the effort to pay what you admit you owe?!? If you care about your credit – – and you must – – make an agreement to pay it off.

      • Tim L. says:

        I don’t think this was Credit Karma’s fault. Whenever you apply for new credit or a change happens on your credit report these debt collectors are alerted so that is why they called you. And you are wrong about one major thing. 10 years they can’t touch your credit report or even sue you but they technically can keep contacting you for your money forever. You’re right you don’t have to pay but they can still legally ask.

      • Jon says:

        Get a Google voice phone number and use that # for any creditors or anyone you may suspect that will call you all of the time.

        When they keep calling, just put them on block list and they will get a message saying this number has been disconnected…..(or anything you want it to say).

  2. Elvia Guevara says:

    yes , I agree with you but i am a little concern, does credit karma hurt my credit score? you know how they say that if you check your credit score so often it hurts your credit, is it true?

    • Robert says:

      Hi Elvia,
      Credit Karma does NOT hurt your credit score. Why? Because it is simply a reporting tool. Your score is determined mainly by the 3 scores reporting agencies such as Transunion, etc. Credit Karma simply fetches the aggregates of such scores and shows it to you by means of a graph.

      I don’t think they have any control over your scores. I have used them for years myself and I have watched my score graph fluctuate, but always in the Excellent region. I never had any email spamming or any issues with them.

      Checking your credit score does NOT hurt it. Hard inquiries by banks, agencies, etc. will. Even the agencies offer their own credit score reporting tools and they even charge for it. So if checking score really hurts it, do you think anyone would pay about 10 bucks a month just to check their score and hurt it? I don’t think so. I would personally never do it myself.

      Your score will be affected by the way you make payments. Don’t ever cross your deadlines and I can assure you that you will be fine. I have a prefect track record of paying all my credits by the Due Date and I never incurred a single fine. All that because I know how to spend wisely and spend it only where it is needed and only when the time is right.

      Just keep your creditors happy by making your payments on time, if not before time and good things will follow. Your payments and the way you earn your money and your lifestyle could influence your score highly. I work for Extreme Web Designs and I never had a problem of getting paid and hence I never had the problem of paying back to my creditors. So if you are having problems with your Employers even after you are true to your work, then I suggest switch to a different company who respect and pay you for your hard work on time. This way, you can pay back on time and enjoy a positive and higher credit score.

      Hope it helps you and all the needy.

  3. Not Blind or Stupid says:

    Looks like the author is getting paid for click throughs to CK website.

    No wonder the author loves CK so much, they are PAYING HIM.

    • Exploits says:

      i agree i just saw the commercial on TV and thought mmmm! glad i check reviews first, always a catch!

    • Robert says:

      Can you share the basis on which you say that the author is getting paid to clicks to CK website and probably that’s why he has left a positive comment on CK? Do you have any solid proof of that?

      And even if he did share his affiliate URL with others, I don’t see anything wrong with it. The affiliate URL is meant to be shared with others, if one likes the system. I don’t understand why you are skeptical about Jim posting whatever he did so far.

      CK is the only website out there that gives you a complete score without ever asking for your credit card. I have used them for years together and I never had a problem. So if I had to post an article on my own blog, I would definitely share my referral URL with my users.

      In fact, thank you for sharing this idea, it didn’t strike my so far. But I guess I will post my own comments on CK on my blog when I get some time. There’s nothing wrong in sharing a resource with others, especially when it is good and trustworthy.

    • Eric says:

      Damn near EVERY website has pay for click advertising…….it’s called marketing and how the world works even before the web. It was just done a bit differently. Haven’t you ever been asked, “where did you hear about us”? This is a way business decide what ads are working and which ones are not worth paying the publication or marketing “vehicle” for.

  4. victim of ID THEFT says:

    The bad thing about CK is that the scores are not actual fact they are estimates, to be totally accurate you NEED all three scores from the 3 major credit reporting agencies , also the information CK obtains from you can be used for ID Theft , one of the things dumpster divers look for despite regulations to shred the papers before dumping them , remember all the past and recent stories on the nightly news about credit card information stolen from dumpsters….dont believe every thing you hear or read about FREE Credit scores, check it out and ask a lawyer first, know your legal rights

  5. learned my lesson the hard way says:

    CK is NOT A FICO SCORE do not believe that all CK tells you is accurate There is NO SUCH thing as a FREE Credit score They may offer it to you for free but once you subscribe they will send you a monthly bill and if you dont pay it gets sent to a collection agency who will call you daily to pay the bill been there done that

    • Bostont says:

      Seriously? They never advertised as being a FICO score, and they are completely free. There is no subscription, as you don’t need to enter in your credit card information. It’s a report from TransUnion, which you are correct, is not FICO, but again they never advertised as being a CREDIT REPORT or from FICO. You should get your facts straight before screaming about a scam 🙂

  6. Joe says:

    Looks a bit fishy to me. I tried to subscribe today but inexplicable failed twice their security questions. When asked for support to move on, their solution (by email)was that I needed to mail them a copy of my DL or passport. Whaaaat ?. They’gotta be kidding me. !!!

  7. Vince says:

    I’ve used CK for 3 years now. When I work hard to improve my score, I like to check CK 1-3 weeks later and watch my score rise. It does give motivation to keep paying more than the minimum balance on credit cards and keep a good debt to income ratio as well as checking my percentage of cc utilization usage. I’ve never had CK ask for money and have NEVER been billed. However, last October, CK had a referral on bank to lower my car payment percentage. I applied, and dropped my 19.8% interest rate to a 6.7%. I saved thousands of dollars on my $20,000 note. I was paying 515 a month and lowered it to 409 a month, with the same termination date (48 months). Since switching the note on my car, I saved $5,088. I will ALL WAYS recommend CK to my friends now. Free and helpful.

  8. Susan says:

    The statute of limitations in Texas for credit cards is 4 years (after your last payment). Why would someone continue to call you after 10 years? If over that 10 year period you said you would send them some money, the 4 years starts over again at that point. If you have not said that you would pay them, the next time they call, tell them about the 4-year SOL. And, for your information, you have to send them a LETTER to not call you at work not just tell them.

    • Tim L. says:

      Again here is a little education. SOL applies to the time they cannot report derogatory information on your credit report and the time they can sue you. The law says nothing about calling you and asking for their money. They can legally do this forever or until the case is resolved.

  9. Audrey says:

    Are there any other TRULY FREE ones like CK that show the scores of the other 2 credit bureaus (equifax/experian)?

  10. daenyll says:

    I believe creditsesame is one that is linked with experian

    • Audrey says:

      thanks! Maybe I can find one for equifax now. This is kinda cool to be able to track all this…

  11. John says:

    The creditKarma score is worthless and not accurate. If you apply for an auto loan or mortgage, the score from Transunion direct is not the same…. so what good is it. I have compared the two since I am a member of Transunion and it is significantly different.
    Credit karma should correct this which should be easy unless they are calculating it themselves.

  12. Lady V. says:

    Yes CK sounds like it may be a risk to try. It is unfortunate that people create ruse targeted for people with financial concerns. It is a better piece of mind to pay the fee that is associated with a known company backed by the Better Business Bureau. We have no money to waste.

  13. Christine says:

    Ook first I’m going to start saying I seen the commercial then I went online signed up….I couldn’t go forward without signing up for a credit card or etc….THIS IS A SCAM…I just wanted to see my credit score not sign up for a credit card WTF I’m thinking about getting my lawyer to review this what u think

    • Bostont says:

      You have a lawyer but you can’t speak or spell properly?

    • dixie says:

      You must have been on another site besides co.I did not have to put in a credit card # to get started. I have been a member for 4 years now. My credit score has improved &I have not had any problems at all.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You all are nuts. You can check your score for free once a year from each credit bureau. Just check one and then 4 months later go to another one.

  15. Audrey says:

    This is not a scam–rediculous! It’s a great way to monitor your credit accounts FOR FREE to warn against identity theft and what not. For example: I got a credit allert email from CK and it turned out that somehting was being reported on my credit that was incorrect. I disputed it, and it was fixed. If not for me checking CK monthly, I’d probably still not know.

    Why does everyone these days think your suposed to get something for nothing? If you want to get your FICO score, go pay for it!

  16. Audrey says:

    for htose interested:

    Equifax Credit Score Card™ is one for equifax.

  17. susie says:

    Hey, Credit Karma is free to use and as often as you like, so anyone bitchin is crazy. Also, it doesn’t effect your credit score at all, only hard inquiries do. I love this site. I was in over $20,000 cc debt and now I am happy to say I am debt free. Not because of KC (they have nothing to do with your score, their just the messenger) but because of my determination to take control of my own life. It simply helped me to keep track of the mess I made and now I see improvements in my credit.

  18. Ruth says:

    I was curious if it tells you who you have loans out with or the amount of money that tells you who is charging you on your credit check?

  19. Aaron says:

    I was referred to Credit Karma by one of my roommates, but after looking at the reviews here I was unsure. I checked in with the Better Business Bureau, and it looks like CK is not a scam and is nothing to worry about. They have an A from the BBB.


  20. Arthur Hall says:

    You rave about Credit Karma but there is no way to become a member from what you show on the screen. How do I join ? Arthur

  21. TOM says:

    1st day using credit karma i applied for 3 credit cards, how stupid of me to think/beleive them that these were the best offers for me. turns out all 3 rejected me and the inquiries are now on my credit report!!

    • Bostont says:

      Nobody should ever apply for 3 credit cards simultaneously, you aren’t supposed to open that many lines of credit so close together. You are supposed to space them out, just because they show you credit cards that you may qualify for, doesn’t mean that you need to apply for them, especially not all at once!

  22. ggmagg says:

    Considering using CK with some reservations however…perhaps someone can resolve? How accurate are the credit scores provided by CK? I unfortunately thought, due to the sponsor, the “three credit scores” feature provided by the Transunion membership I purchased was somewhat accurate. What a joke! Upon meeting with a mortgage broker to apply for a loan I discovered my transunion sponsored credit scores were off by as much as 100+ points. Where can you get the real, accurate FICO scores from that lenders use? Also, someone stated that the SOL for credit card accounts is 4 years…I have a disputed purchase/balance on a Sam’s Club Credit Account that I have fought for YEARS to no avail. Not only do they continue to list this erroneous & negative info on my credit report as an unpaid debt, so does the collection agency they sold the account to. It has been there for 6 years. If the SOL for such is 4 years does this apply to Texas residents re:reporting negative info on credit reports?

    • Bostont says:

      To answer this question, the credit score used by CK is the TransUnion credit score. To get the FICO score, you need to visit the FICO website and get it directly from them, or another website that will pull up the FICO score. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the main 3 agencies once a year, so you should ideally do one every 4 months. I believe you can pay for additional copies of your credit reports (which is different than your credit score) but it may negatively affect you if you request it too often.

    • James Johnson says:

      Due to job loss in 1990, followed by a divorce, followed by my X filing for bankruptcy, I can tell you a lot about the process. I also worked as a collection agent in the early 80’s during college. The most important thing you can do when you are facing financial hardship is communicate with your lenders. Example: Due to my issues in 1990, I had to swallow my pride and return my home to the mortgage holder. Because I had been responsible with my credit and communicated with them before they saw any failure to pay on time, I made it through with the mortgage showing paid on time, and no negative report to the credit bureaus.

      Based on my experience from both sides, credit issues remain on your record for 7 years and most collection companies will use this 7 year time span as their guide for keeping your collection records active. Keep in mind if you pay even one cent toward a debt the 7 year reporting clock starts over.

      This does not mean that they will continue to call. Each collection agency has different policies, but their goal is to get payments and make money. Only the poorest of collection agencies will continue to contact you beyond a few months, because the odds are that if you didn’t agree to pay in the first week, you aren’t going to pay. On the other hand if you tell them you will pay, they know there is a greater chance of them getting money and they will call and call and call. In the collection business time really is money.

      For those that want to see their true credit scores, If you own a home and are paying more than 4% interest go to your bank and refinance. During the process most banks will run all three of your reports and if you ask they will share the information with you. I am currently refinancing and my credit scores range from 816 to 825. Not bad for someone that was laid off on July 10,2012.

  23. Delbert Betzer says:

    I love using ck I use the new app on the iPhone to check my credit score and what my credit is doing all the time it works great.

  24. Ariel says:

    Hi I’ve been using credit karma for a couple of months now and I have had no problems with it ! It has been very helpful for me as it gives me an idea of what my credit score is like- although it’s not my exact credit score used by car dealerships, it’s in the right range. It gives me hints on how to improve my credit score. I have NEVER recieved any phone calls from any collectors so I have no idea what some of the people are talking about on here. If you want a general idea of how your credit score is, then this is a great tool! I love it and recommend it to everyone as I work in the car business for a Chevy dealer in sales myself!

  25. ericka says:

    I paid off 2 outstanding bills I had on my credit report one aprox 3 months ago and one 2 months ago they are still showing up on credit karma does it take longer on ck to come off??

    • eddie says:

      Credit Karma is NOT a credit bureau. It is a reporting tool. You need to check with Equifax, Transunion and Experian as to why those accounts do not show closed. Also be aware that it is up to the people you paid off to report those. That can take 30-60 days.

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