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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. John Jehosaphat says:

    Listen up Folks…..

    Annualcreditreport.com is free from all 3 reporting agencies….do it by mail only.

    You know if you have poor credit….

    7.99 for a credit score from any of the reporting agencies…..

    credit karma is trash….beware

    • Be $mart says:

      Credit Karma clearly states that they make money off of advertising and that is how they can offer you free credit report monitoring. The author of this article is not very familiar with the business model that is clearly outlined on the website. Also You do not pay $7.99 for your credit report with credit karma so Mr. Jehosaphat statement of credit karma being trash is dubious.

  2. Frank Hallman says:

    They are what they advertise. I am a member and get to see my credit score and monitor what goes on as far as open/new accounts in my name and have never paid the first cent for any service they claim is free.

  3. dawn says:

    I have been using a paid site to monitor my credit for 2 yrs now. I recently heard about credit karma and signed up to check it out. why does the score credit karma give me for transunion different from the one my paid site gives me? I would like to switch over to credit karma since it is a free service but afraid to cancel my other subscription because of the discrepancies. Can someone please explain this too me? I am still pretty new at all of this. thank you

    • Ann Vernon says:

      I would like to know the answer to Dawn’s question also. I’m tired of paying for credit reports but want to know that the Karma report is accurate and up dated regularly.

      • LaTonya says:

        Credit Karma is based on TRANSUNION SCORE alone. All three credit agencies have different scores and thats why banks and mortages always take the middle/median. Credit Karma is the best and its secure and FREE.

      • Ericka says:

        Every time you go on the site – it refreshes and automatically updates things- I was at one score and hadn’t been back for a bit, I logged on and after the screen refreshed- I was up on my score- it’s absolutely free – won’t hurt to try it

    • Patti says:

      I asked this question to a creditor. Because my scores are not what they show even on the Credit Companies like Transunions site. I was told the numbers you see will almost alwasy vary to a point. Depending on the day in the quarter. Some items are not updated daily.

  4. Larry says:

    Anyone have a phone number or email address for Credit Karma?

    Thanks much

    LM

    • JAN HAWKINS says:

      Larry, give them a try, they are GREAT!!! THEY are worth a FEE!

    • Ericka says:

      Just type in credit karma – there’s only one. It will take you where you need to be. You won’t be sorry. The site compared you with others and gives you a report card of sorts. You can see additions- removals etc .
      I recommended it to my whole family.

    • Anonymous says:

      Credit Karma.com….Larry

  5. JAN HAWKINS says:

    I have been with Credit Karma over 2 years, they are great!! they have helped me so much,you learn a lot! my score keeps improving, THANKS,CREDIT KARMA, AND THEY ARE REALLY FREE,NO NO TRICKS,I wish I had them when I was younger!

  6. David says:

    I’ve “used” Credit Karma for almost two years. During this time I’ve never once missed or been late on any payments what-so-ever (not bills, not hidden fees, nothing at all). I’ve opened a couple of accounts and use them responsibly, watching my utilization. I have not been declined for anything. According to CK, my score is now 15% lower than it was when I signed up. Straight trash. You get what you pay for.

  7. dane says:

    While credit karma was free and easy, it was incorrect. after using credit karma I applied for a mortgage and also had my lender do a credit check. found that my credit was actually 84 96 and 76 higher than what credit karma said with the three credit places. I would recommend using a different company.

  8. Ericka says:

    I have been using them for about three years-I am sent a short notice of any additions or changes, good or bad. It gives me the opportunity to look at it immediately. I also have compared my a credit scores with my annual reports and they are all congruent with in 5-10 points of each other. I have never paid a dime. I don’t believe they are a scam .

  9. Dave says:

    Credit Karma’s score is 80 points lower than any of my scores from the three credit bureaus. No benefit to me if it isn’t accurate.

  10. DonJuan says:

    I’ve tried to get on Credit Karma’s website and its not available…Hmmm!

  11. Anonymous says:

    it’s 60 points lower than my correct scores

  12. Ivan says:

    I did my annual credit report for free recently and singed up for a free trial to get my credit score and it said that it was 580. Two months later I heard of credit karma and signed up for it. It showed me my credit score at 637. I was not afraid of a scam or anything but I do question the accuracy that it offers. Could my credit have shot up almost 60 points in two months?

  13. Rick McChesney says:

    I have noticed that this website wants you to feel like your credit is “not okay” so that you will take advantage of the lawyers and sub-standard credit card offers displayed on the site. Has anyone observed how long it takes this site to update “Positive” information but yet negative info happens instantly, it seems. I have credit cards that have been paid off for months and thy are still showing a balance.

  14. Nancy says:

    Yeah, my experience is the same… They under report your score significantly and then try to sell you credit counseling.

  15. Matthew says:

    That true Matthew they should not do that.It just not fair at all.they should be shut down for that.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Iit is definitely a scam. They advertise it is free then after you submit you personal social security number as required you are asked to provide the type and number of a credit card before they give you a credit rating. This approach is illegal as it is moots certainly false advertising on TV. they should be prosecuted for committing this felony.

    • erica says:

      I use creditkarma.com, and have for over a year and have NEVER had to put my credit card information in. My score is accurate. I have used it to my advantage many times.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I tried accessing my score and they said my login was wrong. I tried contacting them for it and never heard back.Whether they are a scam or not, I can’t tell but their customer service sucks

  18. Kay says:

    Their report is so far from my real credit score that it’s a joke. They do not maintain up to date info and my credit score is 100 points better than their report. For those who say it’s because it is from a different reporting service, that is not true. Kreditkarma.com says they use Transunion. I pay Transunion 16.95 every month for their report and it is 100 points higher than Kreditkarma who purports to be giving me the Transunion credit score.

  19. Leslie Burks says:

    On Dec. 9 I completed a 7 day free credit report through CreditKarma. I cancelled the service within minutes. On Dec. 10, Transunion charged me $29.95! I called the phone number given on the website and it was for Transunion. I explained the 7-day free trial, that I canclled it immediately, and the Transunion rep refused to reimburse me. We ended up in a shouting match, this woman told me that I may have filled out a 7-day free trial, but it did not apply to Transunion. I am going to every website I know of to complain, including BBB and the District Attorney, to file false representation.

    IT IS A SCAM!

    • Abdul aleem says:

      Credit karma is freeeeeeeeee for you checking your credit if you were asked to provide a credit card then you were on the wrong site. The site is called credit karma. I know they always say nothing is free so how do does credit karma make $$$$$$$ to keep there website up simply by promotion. If you are on credit karma there is credit card offers amd car loan links to click on to so you can build your credit and they advise you what credit cards would be good for you now this is promotional tactic. Credit karma is paid by the company’s that are on the website that pop up. All the loans and credit card companies that pop up on the site are paying credit karma to advertise there company brilliant idea

  20. Kris says:

    I had been with credit karma for 4 years now. I had a very low credit but when I joined them it actually give me the encouragement to get my score . I’ve was from grade f an now I’m proud to say I’m grade c an I’m still trying to get to B or even A!!! Thanks credit karma!! You’re the best!

  21. erica says:

    Credit karma DOES NOT charge a fee! You DO NOT have to enter credit card information in when you sign up. I have had it for over a year, and work in the financial business. I have all my clients use it, and even help them sign up and I have never had to enter any information for payment.

  22. Dona says:

    The commercials advertise that you are not asked for a credit card. So why is it that I HAVE TO GIVE MY CREDIT CARD in order to get my scores. I know it says that it is a $1 REFUNDABLE FEE but that is only if I call the number within 1 week. Otherwise I am charged a fee for joining the service. Seems to me this is false advertising!!

  23. rita uhal says:

    why do u need to have my card when it is to be free ?yes no charge and then in a month surprise 29.95 on my card .that is not fair .

  24. Cheryl says:

    It’s free no scam the only is the credit score which is wayyy lower than what is reported with credit bureaus. I’ve never been asked to pay for the report or score. They alert me when there is a change and have found no accuracies when it comes to that. I think that they advertise the law firms and report a lower score just to get you to call the firm, use them and make money. They have to make money some how providing everything is free. All said i’ll continue to use them.

  25. Mike McCoy says:

    Deception remains an integral part of business — relying on the belief/trust or outright ignorance of the consumer.
    Most companies make money by staying just within the law, but morality concerns are much more blurry.
    What isn’t discussed is much more important than what is.
    Used car dealerships and their financing departments: Those people will stick it to you in any way they can — believe me, I know.
    Funeral homes: Amid the family’s grief and time of vulnerability, they’ll milk you for as much as they can.
    Reverse mortgage companies: Read the fine print very, very closely. Talk to some victims … er, customers first.
    Insurance companies: Now there’s a racket if there ever was one.
    Cable TV companies: Need I say more?


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