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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. Bea says:

    I love Credit Karma! I have been monitoring my credit score for FREE for the past 9 months and because of credit karma I was able to improve my score very quickly! I am now looking forward to purchasing my first home! Thank you Credit Karma!

    • Chyna says:

      Got news for you…and before you fall in love…
      You may find out ( as I did today) that your score isn’t as high as Credit Karma told you it was…..

  2. laney b says:

    add says “no credit card required” BUT to get anything you must enter a credit card number. sounds like a good way to skim credit card info. feels like a scam to me.

    • fred w says:

      I never gave a card number and got all the information they promiced.Have been with them over a year now and have never been charged for anything.I think you may of been replying to one of their offers by mistake,if they asked for credit card number.I have improved my score by over 70 points since I have been with them.I think they are great.

    • BarryB says:

      I was never asked for a credit card number by Credit Karma! It’s a great site and totall FREE.

  3. Bill says:

    Same business model as Mint. They push products at you in exchange for periodically paying for credit reports. It is probably highly profitable advertising since the offers are tailored to your financials.

  4. Darlene Danbar says:

    Credit Karma is a joke. My bills are paid in full early some a year ahead and some are paid off 1-2 years early. My rating never goes up and I HAVE A D RATING. It is a scam and a load of baloney!!!

    • AXN says:

      So you have a short history of full payments. While its OK in most eyes, the credit scoring has to see a history of payments over a period of time to positively impact your score.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are not telling the truth about your bills
      This site is great it helped me get my credit score up

  5. BarryB says:

    I’m with Fred! I just joined Credit Karma and LOVE the FREE service. They gave out everthing advertised and I am now monitoring my credit as I pay off/down credit cards.

  6. Ric says:

    I am on this site along with Quizzle, Both use a different credit rating service, Credit Karma always showed a lower score than Quizzle, But it does pretty much reflect the trend of your score, wether it is going up or down. It may not be perfect but gives you an idea of what your score is doing. In my opinon

  7. sham says:

    Credit Karma is scam they said it would be no credit card needed. When I tried to get my score they asked me for my credit card number for a fee of 1 dollar. How do I know if they weren’t going to take more than a dollar off I don’t. It’s suppose to be free why do they need my credit card number.

    • Stephanie says:

      I don’t think you are right. I have never been asked for anything other than identifying info to sign up. Be sure that you are on the right site.

      • AXN says:

        Agree with Steph. Most people see the word free and they light up and click the links. Hey check the fine print its most likely free for 7,14 or 30 days. It’s not Credit Karma. CK does not charge. FREE is FREE with them.

      • Pat G says:

        They do ask for a card if you want your credit score. Not just for they sign up.

        • matt says:

          You have to be on the wrong site. I got all my info without a card or any other charge.

          • Dawn S says:

            I too received my credit score for FREE w/o providing a cc#. I definitely wouldn’t have provided my cc# if the site is promoting and advertising free credit scores.

        • Bill says:

          Why would you insist they ask for a credit card to get your score when that is false. They have never asked me for a credit card.

    • buddy wood says:

      i have always found them to be an excellent operation until the last two weeks. i can not get a real telephone # for them, and do not reply to the emails from my wife and i. we paid them every month via automic credit card. unless we hear from them with our 2nd email to hem in one week, we are going to cancel them out via our credit card company. 704-544-1966

      charlotte, north carolina

      • Alicia says:

        Hello, The number you have posted is for Credit Karma? I have been searching also for a number to no avail. I have filed bankruptcy and my case has close and the same stuff is still on my credit report with them.

        Clearwater,Florida

        • Akasha says:

          Alicia ~ That is a standard problem with not just credit managing agencies, but with the Big 3. C7 was discharged at the beginning of 2013 and Experian is saying ‘it is open and unpaid’. I have sent the records, my ID and letter and still have not had it corrected. I was denied an account with a major bank until I took the paperwork to them. They apologized and I said thank you and I took my business elsewhere. I still get emails to ‘make an appointment to come on back in’.

          I have just posted a different ‘venting’ as to what took place with CK. Placing a freeze on people being able to access my info, without my authorization, request or knowledge until after I got the email advising of what they did. It can’t be changed or undone for 90 days, at my last point of research.

          I digress – this is a murky pond to paddle through.

          Be well and good luck!

          • Ann says:

            Akasha,
            The problem with trying to correct information on your credit monitoring sites is that the people you can actually deal with have no authority to do anything to correct your issues. You can’t reach anyone who supposedly CAN fix your issues. Give up trying to get them to do anything and just sue them ! That seems to be the only way to deal with the Big 3. You won’t get your information fixed, but you might get enough of a settlement to not care what your report says.

  8. Shari tarbet says:

    SO, with all due respect, what credentials do you have for me to consider you an expert on this topic? Just asking, not confronting. Second, since the information they access is available on all three of the credit report companies that charge for their service, it’s hardly a scam for accessing the information. I think these 3 companies share that info. with CK

  9. JOE PETERS SR says:

    CREDIT KARMA IS A BAD JOKE. I PAY ALL BILLS AT THE END ON EVERY MONTH. the score says 689 ??? I DON’T OWE ANYBODY A DIME AFTER EACH MONTH, SO WHY WOULDN’T THE SCORE BE AS HIGH AS IT GOES. FORGET ABOUT TRYING TO FIX IT ON THIS DUMB SITE

    • Anonymous says:

      Because that isn’t how a credit score works.

    • Craig says:

      Score is based on things like having credit card debt, having credit card debt for a short period of time actually shows that you can spend then pay, which in return raises your score based on the chance of “any bad thing” coming your way and how you can handle it. Paying all the time with cash and never having credit basically keeps your score maxed lower than highest rating. Also the length of your possible debt IE a long term credit card can raise your score significantly because its so long term with a good rating, the same reason why a mortgage is such a high scoring item.

  10. Teri says:

    I did not receive my score. It said I had a thin file and gave me a few options to sign up for a credit card. Marketing is NOT our friend.

  11. ConvenienceShouldbeLegislated says:

    They WASTE YOUR TIME! That’s what’s wrong with them. If it says free on the commercial that is what it should mean. Or they should be arrested and tried for false advertisement.

    DON’T WASTE MY TIME!

  12. Wanmag says:

    This site appear to be off with rating at least for me. Karma have my rating at 672, and my rating is 860. Don’t understand how they came up with that low score.

    • The Notorious H.A.M. says:

      They consistently tell you your score is much lower than it is. Then they bombard you with credit card offers for people with “credit like yours.” That is how they make their money.

    • Dagh says:

      Nice try. Max credit score is 850.

      • Anonymous says:

        no i have seen an 882 and several over 850..i owrk at a dealership maximum is 900 which i have never seen but

        • gottaraisescore says:

          900 is usually the highest score that is used. I was adding some jewelry once and the young man was printing out my credit record and he said did I know I have a score of 900? I just smiled and told him yea right, at this store maybe. That was because I had to keep the total down so my hubby didn’t chop my head off :)

    • UnoRissen says:

      Wanmag, I concur with Dagh, how do you have 860 out of a “maximum possible” of 850?

      • Frances says:

        I got a credit card from my bank and with it was my score and it said 870 so there is something wrong here.

        • Jess says:

          There are two different credit scores. FICO scores max at 850. Vantage scores, which is what CK uses, max at 990.

  13. andi says:

    the best of the best service , eventhough they want to charge $5-10 / month I dont mind at all compare to what i got , they deserve more than that but every good service i got from them are free

  14. Pat G says:

    They may not be a scam but they are totally inaccurate. For example they show my credit cards over limit and they are 40% under limit and have been for over one years. Use caution when dealing with anyone not any more accurate.

    • Jess says:

      Is that what CK says, or are they just reporting what the CRA is showing? You will often find outdated/incorrect information on your credit report, this is not the fault of CK. You should contact TransUnion/Experian/Equifax to dispute any inaccurate information on your CR.

  15. tanyaP says:

    I was not asked for a credit card to see my credit “SCORE”. I think a lot of the comments are referring to their credit “REPORT”, there is a difference! If you want to see your detailed report, then yes there is a request for a credit card. Some of you are misunderstanding how the credit report works….If you pay everything off it doesn’t automatically jump to an 850 score. The consider a lengthy history. If you don’t have a credit history, then establish one. It also takes into account the mix of types of accounts you have (Mortgage, auto, revolving credit, dept store credit, etc) If you don’t have a mortgage or auto loan, then your score won’t be as high.

  16. maryann green says:

    I have tried several times and they can’tlocate my file. Then I’m referred to free credit report and it still can’tbe located. All information is correct and has been used with other companies. Very disappointed and will spread the word.

  17. ricky says:

    i can not log in to my account at credit karma. is something wrong with my account or the website.

  18. susie H. says:

    aol will not allow me to log on to credit karma. is this a scam?

    • gottaraisescore says:

      No, check your security settings on your PC. it takes me a long time to get through but I do several times a week. Plus there are a LOT of sites AOL won’t let you into.

  19. Deb says:

    If they know your credit already and with whom then why are they asking for
    personal info about your finances when signing up? That sounds fishy to me.
    Anyone think the same way? Really need to read between the lines. May not ask for a credit card but if they have your banking info etc. they may be able to access your accounts.

  20. Akasha says:

    I question how CK does business. I have been with them 60 days; as I am recovering from financial hardship and rebuilding. I thought be proactive, be wise, be SAFE. I watch, I read, I open every email, I read to my partner, if I do this I can increase this number.

    BUT last week I get a notice that CK has placed an Alert to all 3 agencies of possible credit fraud on my profile. Why???? Because TRW told them I had an unfounded charge of $7.50 to my charge card Woman Within without a purchase. I was well aware a return shipping charge was being added; in which Woman Within Co recredit my account.

    I have called Woman Within; they have posted notice to my account of what CK did and why. They and I and all of my credit cards are in good relationships.

    NOW there is an alert on my credit for 90 days not allowing anyone to pull or access info – during the holiday season, when we were positioning to purchase a new car.

    Their response: info came from TRW, one of the big 3. File a formal complaint with all of them – sorry to see you go. Sent me a link (I did request) to deactivate the account – you cannot reactive for two years – if you eve thought about it. I’d rather have my teeth drilled!

    Conclusion: In other words, don’t call us, we will just take an unauthorized action on your credit life and you pick up the pieces.

    Angry? You bet!

    Thank you for offering a place for me to not only vent, but advise – if it’s wrapped up in a red ribbon, but the box is light, it’s probably full of hot air.

  21. Christine says:

    I have been trying to get on the website for a week now and I get the message “this page can not be displayed”. Has anyone else had this problem and if so how did you get it fixed?

    • Alice says:

      I too am not able to get into CreditKarma. Not sure how to go about getting this problem to CreditKarma.

    • gottaraisescore says:

      The site is very busy just like the Affordable Health Care site. I wait a long time for CK to com up, I even refresh now and then. If it is in your History (which a lot of people don’t like to do) it is easier to load because a lot of the site is already loaded on your page.

      A lot of places won’t take credit cards this time of year because the Internet is very full and busy because of “Phishing” filling up servers from email, regular advertising jumps up because of the Holidays and people like me shopping online ;)

      Don’t be offended if this happens, it has happened to me a few times so I never get angry I just say like I did at work, we need more servers!

  22. Anonymous says:

    “Credit Karma says (and it worked for me)
    …we’ve recently changed our website’s security standards. In order to continue accessing Credit Karma, please upgrade your Internet browser to its latest version or follow the steps below:

    1. Navigate to https://www.creditkarma.com.
    2. Click on the Tools dropdown menu in the upper righthand corner of your browser.
    3. Select “Internet Options”. A window will pop up.
    4. Click on the “Advanced” tab.
    5. Scroll down to the “Security” section.
    6. Check the box next to “Use TLS 1.0″.
    7. Click the “OK button to save your new security settings.

    If the issue persists, please email support@creditkarma.com

  23. Anita says:

    I have been trying to get on the Creit Karma website for the past 2 weeks and the site will not let me on. It keeps saying cannot access the site please try again.

  24. thomas jollon says:

    for the few that have been asked for a credit card check the spelling of credit karma [kredit karma[also if you are on the rite site they do not ask for a credit card.they are a great org.

  25. F. Gump says:

    Refinanced my house December 2012 with all three credit bureaus reporting 800 plus scores. Just used Credit Karma’s free service and was shocked to see a low 700 score. I don’t need to investigate to know that CK is inaccurate at best. Like a box of chocolates…


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