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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. Don says:

    Credit Karma is NOT a scam. Believe me when I tell you that I went to their website and got my credit score within a couple of minutes. They ask for NOTHING. Not one red penny. They do however advertise which is the way (must be) they make their money. It’s a pretty cool service. I to this day don’t understand why getting a credit score is so difficult. And the other free credit score sites ask for your credit card info and they charge. Credit Karma doesn’t. Great service.

    • Barbara Ball says:

      This is a lie. I just went on the site and they do ask for a credit card. If you don’t cancel within 7 days you will be charged $29.99 a month. Whoever you are, Dan, you are as crazy as this site.

      • Stephanie says:

        I’ve been using this for about 2 months now and aside from it not updating very often I’m happy. I don’t know where you went but I signed myself and my husband up and neither time was asked for a credit card. Its actually free. I think they offer premium services for a cost but I don’t know. I never looked into that. What I do know is its a legitimate site and hasn’t ever asked me for money.

      • Jim says:

        I have been using it for 4 months and not once have they asked for money or a credit card. I signed up and just had to give SS# and address. I think you went to a different site because they don’t ask for CC #.

      • kelly says:

        The information you are posting is not correct they do not ask for credit card information, get your facts straight before posting comments.
        Thank you

        • Dave says:

          There is no fee, Kelly. I have been with them for eight months. I check my score twice per month. They are slow to update but never a fee.

      • Anonymous says:

        I dont know where you clicked but I have been using this site to improve my score for the past year and have never been asked a penny either… Sorry for you…

      • F.M. volcy says:

        I have use Credit Karma for 2 plus years It does not ask for a credit card nor is it a scam.

  2. Crickett says:

    Hello Jim. Thank you for the great research regarding Credit Karma……bye bye Experian!!

  3. JB says:

    The credit score they say I have is WRONG. I had my scores checked at the BIG three. They at least should give the right score if they are going to make the offer.

    PS My score is higher than what they say by several points.

  4. job says:

    I thought this s*** was free no credit card needed but you still asked for one so just being curious I put in my number and still charge me a dollar I know it’s only a dollar but still you said free and you still charge me money what the hell!?

  5. ME says:

    JB…the BIG Three give somewhat inaccurate numbers to consumers. The score range for consumers is completely different than that for creditors. For example if you get a score of 720 from “the big three” a bank would get in the 650 range.

    • Patty says:

      This is what shocked me when I checked my score on CK as compared to free credit report.com which uses Experien, I have a 706 score there but only 653 with Trans Union. That is a really big difference to me. Are you saying the 653 is what the score a bank would get?

      • KG says:

        You need to contact all of the three credit agencies and clear up any discrepancies. Some companies only report negative items to one of the three credit bureaus. Some companies only request one of the three. You have to keep on top of it to make sure all of them match.

  6. fredy says:

    creditkarma sucks i log in and it wants to verify my information and when i enter it it wont let me in
    its happened over and over again
    just when i started to like it

  7. Ruthie says:

    My experience with Credit Karma is that they do not use the correct name when filing for your credit score they gave me over to ScoreSense and I was under the impression that I was dealing with Credit Karma, so when I get an email for Scorecense I just ignored it and was charge 29.95 on my credit card from them. I am in dispute with Scorecense now because they said I signed up with them and they do not have anything to do with Credit Karma, but Credit Karma is the website I was under. Yes Credit Karma says they are free but they charge you $1.00 and bill you through ScoreSense for monitoring that you do not request until you realize they have charged your bank account

    • Krista says:

      I have been using Credit Karma for little over a year now and not once have i had to give me credit card info or was charged for anything. The credit score they did provide me was a little lower than the one i got when i went for a loan but the website is a good tool if you want to get you credit score higher.

  8. Justin says:

    These comments are very misleading on both sides. If they dont ask for a credit card, how do they charge you whether its 1.00 or 29.95?? Why are there so many diverging experiences here?

    • JAN H. says:

      WHY JUSTIN?????? VERY SIMPLE THEY ARE NOT ON THE CORRECT SITE!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE USED C.K. FOR Years, NO COMPLAINTS, LOVE THE SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Jim says:

    Credit karma has a free app. Download that and you never ever will be charged. They don’t ask for any CC #. And with in 5 mins you have your score. Your score is only from one of the big three but it gives you a guessestimate of your score.

  10. Carlen says:

    I think the possible reason for the mixed comments could be that other scanners are using a malicious URL to gain customers. It happens a lot. For instance, those ads that offer $1000 Best Buy etc gift cards but when you read the fine print, it says they’re not affiliated with Best Buy etc. I’ve been using Credit Karma for a few months now and haven’t been charge for anything. I wasn’t even charged the usual dollar that most credit score companies ask for.My only issue is that my TransUnion credit score isn’t updated as periodically as I’d like it to. Other than that, I don’t think there’s any other “free” service like Credit Karma.

  11. Jamie says:

    My boyfriend, at least two friends, and myself use the app and have for months. Not one of us have ever been charged a dime. The banks score was less than the score CK gave though. Are you people going to a scam site and getting charged? Not one of us ever given a card number.

  12. Carrow says:

    I signed up last year and wasn’t nor have I been asked to provide a credit card number. I get emails regarding my accounts and when any account activity has happened.

    I have yet to see the down side and regarding the score being wrong, the big 3 will give you three different scores as well so I fail to see the problem.

  13. G. Freeman says:

    I’d say those being charged, Then coming here ranting, raving and insulting are probably experiencing PEBKAC errors.

  14. Steve says:

    I have been using Credit Karma for over two years. Have my wife and son also signed up. Have never be asked for or paid a penny. Am am a former 25 year VP of lending operations for a bank. Credit scores will NEVER be the same. Transunion, Experian, Equifax, etc. will have different scores base on only the info that is reported to them. One of my banks only reported to TransUnion, meaning that if the report was either positive or negative, the other credit reporting agencies would not have that info to calculate “their” score. All are close enough. Now days there are a dozen different types of scores available. For example, one score is specifically a “bankruptcy” predictor. When I left banking, when our bank “pulled” a credit report we asked for three different scores that were used to determine approval, denial or interest rate.

  15. Ditto says:

    I have been thinking of trying CK. I read in one of the comments that you have to give your SS# and address. I’m not sure that I like giving my SS#. Is that really safe? =/

    • JAN H. says:

      if you don’t give the proper info. HOW CAN THEY FIND YOU OR HELP YOU???I TRULY DO TRUST THE SITE, ALL MY PERSONAL ID, WAS LOST AND BADLY ABUSED, THANKS TO THIS SITE, I NOW HAVE EXCELLENT CREDIT, IT DIDNT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT, TOOK TIME AND LOTS OF PATIENCE, COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT BY MY SELF !

  16. WANDA MILLER says:

    Credit Karma is a scam !!! they took 29.95 plus 1.00 out of our checking account for a free credit score !!!! I will never use them again !!! FREE REALLY IS’NT FREE !!

    • KGB says:

      Just signed up never ask for credit card number and only asked last 4 digits of ss#. we’ll see I don’t know how they can charge ya.

  17. Tee says:

    I love credit Karma, and yes it is absolutely free. Make sure you are signing up properly and on the official site. I have significantly raised my score by watching my score with them. Though my info might not be correct, here is what I believe I’ve learned this far. Credit Karma uses the Transunion score which I believe updates approximately every 7-9 days. Fico uses Equifax which I became a member of to monitor my score. And I am able to update my score with Equifax daily as a member which is also my Fico score. Vantage appears to be used by no one. So I ignore it.

  18. David Kopac says:

    I seen the TV advertisement to get my credit score for FREE but at the end of filling out thfe questions it asks for a crexit card, whi h will be billed $29.95, the is truly a SCAM!!!!!

  19. John Dodson says:

    My wife and I have separate accounts with Credit Karma for over a year. CK has never asked for a credit card or charged us anything at all for information. It gives the member an immense amount of information. We have gone through a refinance of our home and found CK very helpful. It is definitely not a scam, it is helpful from my point of view.

  20. JaY says:

    CreditKarma has NEVER asked for any payment or credit card information. It has ALWAYS been FREE and i’ve been signed up with them for a year now.

  21. Lorraine says:

    Though everyone is right about Credit Karma never asking for a credit card, my personal preference is to not sign up with a company that offers credit for free and then tries to get me more credit card offers. Credit is important and most important things don’t come for free. Also I need a credible source, not a 3rd party provider. And it shows me 2 different score models provided by TransUnion. I’d rather spend money to get something that can be trusted. You wouldn’t hire on a “free” contractor and pay him/her for the recommendations he makes.

  22. KGB says:

    what I don’t get is that public records is supposed to be free to the public but you have to go into public records fill out a crap load of paperwork get shuffled from one window to another providing you have the proper identification then y it will cost you 25 cents a page. but you can get on the internet and pay a company the yearly amount depending on the amount you pay for a years sevice you can do just about anything. Ie…. you get what you pay for

  23. LM says:

    I’ve used CK for at least 2 years now. Have NEVER been charged any fees, nor have I given them card info for a purchase. The credit score on CK, I notice, tend to be 10-20 points higher than what a lender gets on my history, when I’ve applied for mortgages and refis. While it’s a little off, I think it’s a good measure of if I’m trending up or down. It also helps me keep track of when ‘hard’ credit inquiries are aging off my history. A couple of times, I’ve held off applying for credit because I knew from CK than an inquiry would no longer be in my history in a few weeks. My take is: it’s a legitimate free service that makes money from advertising and referral fees from the offers posted on their site.

  24. Paul says:

    Been using CK for a while now..no charges have been sent to me in anyway..i also got the app for free on google play store..those are being charged ARE NOT using CK..period end of story..last 4 of scoial and an old address..thats it..if you are being charged, you should call your bank and have them give the money back to you, claim it was a fradulent charge..but if it has been to long then sucks for you..but yes this app is free 100% no scam what so ever..i have used freecreditreport.con before as well and my two transunion scores were about the same +\- maybe 5 points or so..but i canceled my thing with them that same day..so even then i was not charged anything..

  25. JC says:

    I have used Credit Karma for a couple years now. Recently, I’ve noticed some changes in how the site has worked. Before, everything seemed fairly legit. Now, suddenly, my score has plummeted without any cause. All of my bills have been paid on time, no hard inquiries made, etc, there is no reason for this. Other people who use the site have said the same thing. I’m beginning to question if it isn’t some ploy to get users to sign up with Lexington Law (who they promote heavily on their site) to investigate why the scores have dropped so much. Instead of doing this, I called the credit bureaus (Equifax, etc), and confirmed with them that there is no drop, there is no negative reporting. BE CAREFUL.


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