Is Credit Karma a Scam?

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Credit KarmaYou know the old maxim – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Does Credit Karma sound too good to be true? You can see your TransUnion credit score for free? You can get absolutely free credit monitoring? These are services that people pay good money for and Credit Karma, a company that isn’t affiliated with any of the credit bureaus, is giving it away for free. It does sound too good to be true.

That begs the question – is Credit Karma a Scam?

Is Credit Karma a Scam?

While you can never say so with 100% certainty, I don’t think they are a scam. I don’t think they are a scam because I understand the business model and you can make more money legitimately than illegitimately, plus they’ve been at it for a long time. While none of these are absolute indicators of them not being a scam, I’d find it difficult to believe that this is an elaborate ruse designed to steal personal information. 🙂

For more information about their service, here’s my Credit Karma review and video walkthrough.

How does Credit Karma Make Money?

I don’t know for sure but my guess is that they make money when someone signs up for an offer on their site. When you visit the site, you’re frequently shown banking, credit card, and other financial offers that are probably better than whatever you’re using. When I logged in, I was shown an offer for the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard and estimates that I could save $342 over a year. Since I carry no balance, I know that savings estimate is wrong but for someone who does carry a balance, $342 is good savings. If I sign up, Credit Karma may be paid for that.

What About Other Free Credit Scores?

For almost every other free credit score offer, you get your credit score in return for signing up for a credit monitoring membership service. That credit monitoring service comes with a monthly fee after the trial period and the company is betting that you’ll continue with the service, either by choice or because you forget to cancel. They aren’t scams because they tell you this up front but Credit Karma doesn’t sign you up for anything you will eventually pay for.

You will have to make your own determination as to whether Credit Karma is a scam. I’ve been using them for over a year with great results, they’re the cornerstone of my do it yourself identity theft protection system and it’s been working out so far.

{ 440 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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440 Responses to “Is Credit Karma a Scam?”

  1. Roger says:

    Do Not do Credit Karma. They sell your information to old debts you may have had in the past. I have had more mail every since I signed up for credit karma. Bills from 10 years ago!!! If its too good to be true its not GOOD!!. Remember there is always a catch to everything!!

    • Ronald says:

      That has nothing to do with credit karma. So quick to blame a website because you couldn’t pay your bill’s. Whats the point of looking at your score if you owe people money from 10 years ago? . You think just because the debt is that old that they wont come after their money?

      I’ve used them for over a year and never had a issue.

    • Linda says: are so right!! The same thing has happened to me, and every other day recently I have been getting mail from Citi and Freedom Chase. SMH!!

  2. glen says:

    well when u sign up here you have to give them your SSN from what i understand that is all they need to get all your info so why go through this you have no idea who is looking at the info
    u might as well just post your SSN on a public site

  3. William Hammons says:

    My experience with creditkarma was NOT a positive one.I filled out the online forms,and gave up my personal information,all the while feeling nervous;wondering if it was a scam.I found out rather quickly.I was told I had a “thin profile” (WTF?)and would not receive a report.To add to the fun,On the same webpage as the refusal,There were several “offers” ,some for credit cards,and the suggestion that if I were to apply for them,creditkarma would then be able to provide a credit report.I have attempted to unsubscribe,and asked to be removed from creditkarma’s mailing lists,AND those of their “partners”.I have also demanded that creditkarma delete ALL of my personal information.Complaints have been filed with the FTC,and FWIW the BBB.WE’LL SEE.

  4. The Imcredible Flounder says:

    I got my score for free and took there advice and got two credit cards. My score went up 12 points, used them the first using only 30 percent of the available balance and paid them in full before the due date. Now my score dropped 26 points. WTH?

    • Jason M says:

      Two credit cards meant that there was two hard credit checks on you, that’ll hold fort about 6 months, then the points should return.

  5. Tommy says:

    Same bullcrap stop giving out too much information on yourself. Who cares what your credit report says. Once you sign up who knows what these creeps get up to with it. I don’t want credit from anyone because the cost is too high in information required. I will do anything including give false information to every form I have to fill out, only to stop companies storing data on my personal life. Fly way under the radar. Do everything you can to stop companies gathering information on you that they have no right to have. Ever since I adopted this policy my life has been so much simpler.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Credit is Is a debt Collection agency That’s trying to locate an update their files. if you owe a debt don’t sign up remember nothing is free and the ones here that are defending this site probably works for them.

  7. Billy says:

    I know it’s not an exact credit score, but since ive signed up in January, and have steered my credit in the right direction, my credit limit on my main credit card has increased several thousand dollars. Never have been charged either.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I really wonder what some of you people are doing. I’ve been using CreditKarma since January of 2011. I’ve never been charged anything, didn’t get more junkmail or offers or scams, the only email I ever get from them is once every month or two… In all that time I had one fraudulent charge on a credit card – by an ex-friend who had my info and used it to charge $30. I don’t think most people have any idea how any of this works OR how to read fine print. CK *does* offer higher level monitoring for a fee. You CAN buy more services. You don’t have to and I think they’ve emailed or asked me to do that maybe 4 or 5 times over the last year. Same with Credit Sesame. `

    • Anonymous says:

      Im with you. I don’t think I have gotten more then the initial sign up email since I registered with them aboit 6 months ago. No more spam mail then before I registered either. But I did find out an old debt that had been settled in court was still listed as beingnin collection. I was able to settle this matter and improve my score. May not be the best place for credit info but I don’t think it’s a scam

    • cls.ohio says:

      I agree…have NEVER had any problems with them…

  9. dave homa says:

    Since we have joined credit karma our scores r going down like crazy. We have a debt to income of 18% n we pay for our house n a vehicle. No company does something for nothing! What I believe is that credit karma is soliciting our numbers out to their clients who are paying them for names.

  10. mary turner says:

    not really interested in any of my credit stuff. take my name off any and all you have I am not open to any and all who i have owed in the past having my info!! I have already received stuff pertaining to past credit problems and this is the only place they have this info. I do not want my name attached to anything to do with

  11. Linda says:

    I guarantee it is a debt collecting agency!! I wouldn’t give them any info, I would give false info before I gave personal info,, unless u want companies bugging u.. Then by all means do it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Actually they showed me who I owed and their addresses so I could contact them and pay them back. duh This is part of the process of improving your credit. By paying my depts. and making informative decisions I brought my score from 518 to 750 in 1 year. But if you have a lot of old debts you don’t plan on paying why would you go on a website to improve your credit?

    • Steve says:

      This is as imaginary as the person who wrote it there is absolutely NO WAY you go from a 530 to 1 750 in 1 year. I am a credit manager and that is nothing but a lie…He wishes but it takes a LOT LONGER to go from a 530 to a 750, it takes YEARS!

  13. Bob Bright says:

    Ha Ha, Joks is on the American Public… Credit Karma has been set up for
    one thing and one thing only… The United Staes Government, Free is the word and now you have joined and compromised your personal Information which is being monitored by those agencies which keep an eye on you and anyone who joins. You know you heard the stories of the new super computers and storage facility which has been set to store everyones information which can be used and catalog about your entire life. So if you want an a book of your life from birth until death by all means join.

    • Skinner says:

      Do you not pay taxes? Register to vote? They (govt) all ready have all your info. Credit Karma is not a scam. Or collection agency. Or govt controlled info collection site. Used them for years never had any issues.

  14. im a member only a short time so far ive no troubleand its easier than calling the reporting agencies even if u want to check ur score every day u can and its always there for you to see

  15. deVoll says:

    I too joined CK only a few months ago, but I have not received any “extra” emails or collection calls nor have I be solicited for services of any kind from Credit Karma. I have, however, been able to monitor my credit reports on a very very regular bases and by managing my credit I have improved my score by nearly 200 points in four months. Just knowing of one negative credit collection erroneously on my account allowed me to deal with it and get a huge improvement on my credit reports in just a few days after joining. Mostly, I have been able to better understand how my credit reports are determined and now can make much better decisions on how I use and manage my credit.

  16. Brad says:

    we have used credit karma for awhile no and have never had a problem with them!!Don’t blame them for your negative credit score when you don’t pay your bills!!
    the3ir site is no different then any other site online. their there to make money. it cost money to run a website.

    wake up and smell the coffee nothing in life is FREE

  17. Steve says:

    They would be even better if they were somewhere within 20 points of what your real rating is they are consistently 20 to 30 points ABOVE what your REAL (FICO) score really is

  18. Warren says:

    CreditKarma has been a great thing for me! I know about the debts I have had, and still owe. I have been around the site for about 2 years and have not paid a dime. Checking my credit once a month for free, seeing what they offer, and learned a great deal from their website about credit management and how to re-build. It has made my knowledge about credit building much better than it used to be. If CreditKarma were to charge for $10 a year for their services I would be willing to pay to stay informed.

  19. Dave says:

    Well, I don’t think they are a collection agency but they do share your updated info with the credit bureaus per the TOS and in turn collectors can get and act on that new info. I think that’s standard wherever you get your credit info from including the bureaus themselves. They will give you credit info if you give them your info. A previous poster mentioned giving false info and, if you can get away with it, that might be a deceptive solution. The long and short of it is yes, you sign up for CK or any other type service free or otherwise including applying for credit and yes, old creditors that you shook long ago can find you.

    I did find on the CK site this:
    “Advertiser Disclosure: We think it’s important for you to understand how we make money. It’s pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.
    Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That’s why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.
    Of course, the offers on our platform don’t represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.”

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