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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.

{ 430 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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430 Responses to “Is Credit Karma a Scam?”

  1. Dale Rodriguez says:

    I just signed up after reading the posts, and I mean it is not a scam, they have yet to ask me for any money, and the information they provided was accurate thus far.

    It is useful a little bit, but your better off getting something which shows more information.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Credit Karma is false. It keeps telling my credit score is 639, but when I applied for a loan, my credit score is actually more of a 520. So this site is very misleading.

  3. Ralph Veras says:

    I believe that Credit Karma must have some kind of legitimacy with their program. They know all my accounts and balances. The only way for them to know these is only if all of my credit card companies report to them, or they have access to the credit bureaus. They offer sound advise on how to better your credit and opportunities available for you taking into account your financial situation. What they speak makes good sense and some of it is just plain old common sense. I’m glad and fortunate to have joined them.

  4. DaPoppa says:

    Thanks for all the information about Credit Karma. It is good to see so many different views.

  5. Phyllis says:

    I was able to sign up with Credit Karma for free. The information that they have listed (type of accounts, balances, name of credit card or loan company, etc.) was 100% accurate. I received my credit score from Experian and the following week signed up with Credit Karma and the Credit Karma score was about 10 points lower than Experian. This is not a significant difference since all the credit reporting companies score differently anyhow. I haven’t had any problems with Credit Karma but I will also continue to check my credit report with the other agencies once a year.

  6. d.wyatt says:

    what info do they use to give you your first credit score? when I originally went to thier site and asked for the credit report it came up good and at that pt all they could have gotten was maybe my email address. when you visit these so called sites are they getting more info than I know about on my first visit?

  7. Leo says:

    I just used it, its not a scam, its very simple, like any credit score company online… But its not like the ones you pay for, For example, it does not give you full information about whats on your credit either then just your score and your balance…. to me just see credit score was enough, So thats my take on it… Oh and if anyone wants to get there Complete credit information, your going to have to pay someone that does it for a living…

    Godspeed!

  8. Shelly says:

    I am a skeptic of many things so I can’t help but wonder how many comments from above were posted by individuals working for the site. My friend is trying it out and she wants me to try it out but since it is her first day I think I will wait about 6 months to see how it works for her and trust her judgement

  9. frankiez says:

    If they never reqwuire a credit card how come they asked for one to pay the processing fee?
    I’m sure-as previous experience has proven-that somewhere in the fine print there’s an on going charge or subscription of some kind.
    I passed on it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t have to pay a prossessing fee. In fact I didn’t have to give them any credit card info

    • mark says:

      Make sure you are at the right site, never paid a cent or was never ask to give a credit card #

  10. Dawn says:

    I am going to DEFEND CREDIT KARMA… I unfortunately had to file BANKRUPTCY in 2010 and I have been working on Building my credit back UP. CREDIT KARMA is the ONLY real FREE website that I could find that really provides FREE information.
    I also was able to get a Low Interest Rate Credit Card to start building my credit back up. And when I say low interest rate I mean low for someone who has filed Bankruptcy.
    Other Banks wanted 21% Credit Karma is like 19%… and FYI, the secret to BUILDING YOUR CREDIT BACK UP. PAY EVERYTHING BUT $10.00 ALWAYS LEAVE A BALANCE. IF YOU PAY IT ALL OFF, THAT WILL NOT MAKE YOUR FICO SCORE GO UP. makes no sense but its true.

    I can only hope I have helped someone else In my shoes… :-)

    Dawn

  11. Dawn says:

    what am I supposed to type here?

  12. Lisa says:

    I just tried signing up, and it informed me that it couldn’t retrieve my credit scores with the information I provided…and now it wants my full SSN. I’m gonna rethink this one.

  13. David says:

    When a company advertises no credit card required and then asks for your credit card information…sounds a little like false advertising. Free is Free! Asking for too much information to get the scores! They want the card information so they can make $1.00 from each inquiry. Not hard to make a million when you intice many to give up that $1.00 and their card information.

  14. Ron says:

    My cedit score at credit karma is 653, but when I checked w/ experian equafax and trans union 595/594/595. Most lenders use one of those three

  15. michael says:

    credit karma don’t up date their credit scores.Or when do they up date their credit scores

  16. michael says:

    when do they up date their credit scores

    • mark says:

      next to the last updated date click on up date. got a credit card from lowes for 6k. By the time I got home from the store and clicked on update they already had the info. U can update anytime and it is not a hard inquiry.

  17. paul says:

    it is a scam cause for the fact i never used the site. seen it on tv yesterday went to sign up and it says i already have a account. so i went to log in and it says account has been deactivated. No theres no number to get a hold of anyone. that runs the site. so thats your big give away.

  18. Lisa says:

    I read all the comments and I also have been on ck God I sure hope this sight is not a scam!! But wouldn’t they have to have your whole ss number to steal your id???

  19. Shaun says:

    I’ve been using the service for over 3 years, it’s been a great tool for a high level view into my overall credit standing. I was actually signed up for the service through my Sears Card. So, to access the CK website, I go to SearsCreditScore.com. I highly doubt if CreditKarma had any ill intentions that Sears would affiliate themselves with them and extend the service to their customers.

  20. KC says:

    When they pull your credit is it a hard pull? I tried to sign up to post a question in the forums (I use Identity Guard for 3 bureau credit monitoring and have no use for the TU score).

  21. KC says:

    I signed up just to post a question there, but they keep redirecting me to enter my address and last 4 of my SSN. Do they make a hard pull from TU? I monitor my credit through Identity Guard so have no use really for a TU score from anyone else.

  22. Mike says:

    I pulled up what I thought was CreditKarma. Was instantly switched to another site which wanted credit card info as they all do. What a croc.

  23. Drey$$ says:

    I have only been a member for 1 day although I have frequented the website over the last few months to gather info about credit approval rates etc. Credit Karma sounds like a good business model on the surface for both Credit Karma and consumers. One major concern that I have is that one of the KC recomendations indicated a match for a personal loan and that if I checked to see if I was pre-approved it would not negatively affect my credit score. I applied and was immediately denied. Among other reasons, they sited they require excellent credit and I along with many others don’t meet their requirements. Why the KC recomendation then? No problem. I did; however receive a e-mail response stating that they pulled my credit from a credit reporting agency. If so, that would be a HARD pull on my bureau which I didn’t authorize. Not cool. I’m not mad or angry for being denied, just a little dissapointed with KC for the poor recommendation. I will use KC again; however, I will NEVER apply on that website again. I can roll the dice on getting approved without their recommendation. lol

    • rob says:

      I.can tell you that transunion is the toughest credit score sight in the business.equifax and the other creditt score sight(can’t remember the name)…are much easier credit scores. Personally,Transunion has about a 40 point difference than the other two. Creditors take all three scores and divide the total by three for your FICA score. They are not your friend.

  24. rob says:

    What does moderate mean exactly?

  25. jim says:

    You have to provide contact information. They can then seel that to other vendors offering financial services or debt collectors ! If you have gerat credit , likely no concerns in signing up. If you have debts or owe money ? Might want to reconsider.


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