Is Credit Sesame a Scam?

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Credit SesameIs there such thing as a free lunch?

I think part of our brains is conditioned to be on edge whenever we can get something we normally expect to pay money for. Most of the free credit score offers require you to sign up for some trial program that will charge you $19.95 a month unless you cancel. Canceling is usually a pain in the butt, so we’re used to associated a free credit score with either getting ripped off or paying for a service we don’t want.

That’s why one of the most popular posts on the site is one that discusses whether Credit Karma is a scam? (it’s not)

Credit Sesame is just like Credit Karma except instead of a credit score from TransUnion, you get a credit score from Experian.

Much like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame relies on a mixture of advertising and lead generation to pay for the services it offers for free. It analyzes your credit report for areas in which you could optimize your financial situation. For example, if you click on the current debt tab, you may get offers to refinance your mortgage loan, if you have one. You may get credit card offers that would lower your monthly payment, if you carried a balance. All of these offers generate revenue for the service. So the lunch isn’t free, someone else, someone taking advantage of the offers, is paying for it. In the end, everyone (except the more expensive mortgage lender or the more expensive credit card company) wins.

There are three significant differences, that I can see, between Credit Sesame and Credit Karma. First, Credit Sesame is powered by Experian data and Credit Karma is powered by TransUnion data. Second, Credit Sesame includes your home details if they apply. It’ll calculate how much equity you have, local sales, and other pertinent home related information. All that information comes from a service called DataQuick.

Finally, Credit Karma has been around longer and so their features have been built out more. For example, you can get alerts whenever something changes on your TransUnion account. With Credit Sesame, you can have the system alert you when your score changes (which is close enough), but it won’t be able to tell you why (at least based on what I can tell).

In the end, I think Credit Sesame has a good service going and it’s a great way to add another step to the DIY identity theft monitoring process to keep tabs on my Experian credit report.

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Is Credit Sesame a Scam?”

  1. Matt K says:

    another difference:
    Karma: you click a button to request them to update your score.
    Sesame: they automatically update the score for you once a month and alert you when they update it.

  2. cvargo says:

    Now all I need is one for equifax. My wife and I are in the process of buying a house and this site has been so helpful…. credit karma also helped us alot! especially the feature that helps you see what will happen to your credit score if you do certain things. It helped us realize that closing a credit card we haven’t used in 5 years would actually lower our credit score.

  3. cvargo says:

    When i say this site I am referring to bargaineering. 🙂

  4. Matthew Coan says:

    Both of these sites are great. I think that the majority of people don’t have a clue what their credit score is. And if you tell them that they will have to pay a fee to obtain it, then they wont even bother finding out what it is. But if you offer a free credit check that goes along with a little education on what credit scores are and the effect they have, then everyone will be better off.

  5. govenar says:

    Quizzle is another site that gives a free credit score based on Experian data. I haven’t used it myself. Their FAQ seems to say they only give you an updated score once every 6 months. A minor benefit is that they also give you a free credit report every 6 months.

  6. Chucky says:

    Credit Sesame is nowhere near my real credit scores. Over 30 points below what is reported with the Big 3. They should stop trying to pimp loans and credit cards and do a better job. Pathetic!

  7. Sara says:

    Thought this article from the New York Times might be of interest:

    Why You Have 49 Different FICO Scores
    A new infographic lays all of the different credit scores out and helps explain why you have so many – and why the one you just bought probably isn’t the one your lender is using.

    • Shirley says:

      Thanks for that link. The article was quite interesting and somewhat mind-boggling. I always knew that many factors made up your credit score, but not that many!

  8. Richard A says:

    My concern is that you are giving out so much personal information, essentially everything needed for someone to steal your identity.

    Can someone tell me if I am correct?


  9. Shaun says:

    I could not even get Sesame to work. Kept asking me to log in. Seriously screwed up website.

  10. John Calhoun says:

    I can’t understand why they need your
    credit card number so the can bill you a dollar and return it latter.
    John Calhoun

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