Based out of California, Credit Karma has been featured in multiple news articles including MSNBC, SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and TechCrunch. Beginning with two credit reports and scores, the heart of personal finance, they bring more transparency and certainty to credit and finance with free monitoring, data-driven resources and personalized recommendations. This review explores Credit Karma's free credit monitoring service in greater detail.
credit-karma-featuresCredit Karma Credit FactorsCredit Karma Mobile App

 

Rank Chart
Price
Reports Available
Our Score
#1
$19.95 - 29.95
3/3
8.3
#2
Free
2/3
7.4
#3
$19.95
Up to 3/3
7.2

The Good

Credit Karma’s biggest selling point is that it is free. At absolutely no cost, they’ll provide members with unlimited free access to their credit reports from both TransUnion and Equifax, and even more impressively, they refresh these reports on a weekly basis.

By coupling these free reports with credit scores, account alerts, outstanding educational resources, easy-to-use interface, relevant offers, and a credit score simulator, it’s hard to find fault with Credit Karma’s product.

Price 

Credit Karma is free. They don’t even ask for a credit card as part of the signup process. They make their money by including non-intrusive ads with their product. For instance, while viewing their credit report, a user might see a small ad for a credit card that Credit Karma thinks they’ll qualify for, based on credit history. If the user signs up for the card, Credit Karma makes money.

Two Official Credit Reports

Straight from Equifax and TransUnion, these fully-functional reports are updated every week. Credit Karma provides users with an easy-to-use interface for navigating and understanding their credit report, including suggestions for improving their credit.

Credit Scores

Although CreditKarma, unfortunately, does not provide official FICO scores (more on that in a minute), they do provide a VantageScore 3.0 for each credit report. VantageScore is a newer scoring model that has gained traction but is still not necessarily either the most popular or accurate measure of one’s creditworthiness.

Either way, you can see your VantageScore go up and down over time on well-presented graphs and reports, which can give you an indication as to whether you’re on the right track. One cool feature is that you can actually compare your credit scores to others in your area, age group, and so forth.

Alerts

Credit Karma provides fully-configurable alerts panel to notify you by email of anything from a change to one of your credit reports to large purchases, withdrawals, change of interest rate, and so forth. Every time you log into your account, you can check for changes on your credit report since the last refresh.

Sleek Mobile App

Credit Karma has a well-designed mobile app for both Android and Apple devices which allows you to access all information on your credit reports, scores, and alerts while on the go. The app currently has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars in both the Google Play and App Store.

Excellent Credit Education

Credit Karma maintains an up-to-date library of credit-specific educational resources that are well-written, informative, and accurate. Additionally, they have an active community where you can get advice on all aspects of your credit and scores.

Outstanding Tools

Credit Karma provides everything from debt repayment and loan calculators to fully-featured credit score simulators powered by TransUnion. The Credit Score Simulator allows you to see how different decisions, like paying off part of your credit card debt, or getting a home loan, might affect your credit score in the future.

The Bad

Although there is a lot to love about Credit Karma’s free service, it isn’t perfect.

Only Two out of Three Credit Reports

The service has absolutely no way of pulling your credit report from Experian, which is a significant blind spot in any comprehensive credit monitoring strategy.

No FICO Scores

The credit scores provided by Credit Karma aren’t true FICO scores, so they aren’t the same credit scores most lenders will see when they pull your credit. There have been reports of Credit Karma’s VantageScore being off by as much as 100 points from what a lender saw when they pulled that customer’s FICO score from the same bureau.

Privacy & Security

There have been a significant privacy questions raised by the FTC in regards to Credit Karma’s mobile app not being as secure as the company claimed, resulting in a settlement in 2014, wherein the company agreed to submit to annual independent tests to verify their apps are secure for the next 20 years.

The Bottom Line

Between the frequent refreshes, lack of membership fees, and outstanding educational resources, Credit Karma’s approach is unique in the industry and popular amongst its users. They provide enough information to gauge where you’re at and what direction you’re going, giving full access to your credit reports at absolutely no cost.

For these reasons, we recommend Credit Karma for those who are tight on cash or are just getting started in learning about credit, as one can save hundreds of dollars on credit monitoring services and learn a substantial amount by using their platform.

Price Range

Credit Karma is free for all members and never requires a credit card.

Trial Details

Credit Karma does not offer trials.  The service is free to all customers.

Scores & Reports Provided

Credit Karma offers each member a copy of their Equifax and TransUnion credit reports and their accompanying VantageScore 3.0 credit scores for each report.

Error Dispute

Credit Karma offers integrated error disputing wherein they will contact the credit bureau on your behalf to dispute a particular item in your credit report.

Monitoring

Credit Karma sends members alerts when their credit score or reports change which can be seen in their member profile.

Credit Score and Report Refreshes

Credit Karma offers their members weekly updates to members’ Equifax and TransUnion credit reports and scores.

Data Security

Credit Karma uses 128-bit encryption for their website and protects the transmission of customer data to their site.  Their data center is staffed 24/7 with security personnel.

Important to note is that in March, 2014, Credit Karma entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to address the security of their mobile apps (Android and iOS).  The settlement included the company’s acknowledgement that they did not take proper and appropriate steps to ensure that their mobile apps were secure and could transmit sensitive consumer data over a non-secure channel.  Credit Karma made adjustments and their apps were certified to be secure.  The company must comply with annual security checks of their mobile apps for the next twenty years to verify that the apps remain secure.

Identity Theft Protection

Credit Karma does not provide identity protection beyond a customer being able to self-monitor their credit reports for changes which can signal that they may have been a victim of identity theft.  They do not offer identity protection insurance at this time.

Alert Options

Alerts for members of Credit Karma are sent to the member’s online profile or email.  These are not sent via SMS at this time.

Time in Business

Since March, 2007.

Contact Information

  • (415) 692-5722
  • [email protected]
  • PO Box 520, San Francisco, CA 94104-0520

Are there any inaccuracies in this review? We take our accuracy very seriously and would love your feedback. Give feedback here.

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19 Credit Karma Reviews

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  1. User Score

    10

    August 28th, 2015 Denver, CO

    It was awesome, easy to set up an account and a lot of cool features

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  2. User Score

    10

    June 29th, 2014 Southampton, PA

    Love this site used it to find my starting point and cleaned up my credit so I could buy my house.

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  3. User Score

    9

    June 25th, 2014 Riverside, CA

    The credit karma is the next best tool I have for changing my credit future and I am glad that it is around and I will continue to share and speed the word.

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  4. User Score

    9

    June 22nd, 2014 Las Vegas, NV

    Excellent credit tool !

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  5. User Score

    10

    June 21st, 2014 Memphis, TN

    This site has helped me so much. I’m so glad I decided to try it. Maybe soon I’ll be able to bring my score up thanks to you guys.

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  6. User Score

    8

    June 21st, 2014 Ripon, WI

    I like being able to see my score with out having to pay .I just wonder what you can buy with on the higher side of good credit.

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  7. User Score

    10

    June 20th, 2014 De Soto, KS

    Works great for me!

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  8. User Score

    10

    June 19th, 2014 Saint Charles, IL

    Credit score averages a little lower than the big 3 (which motivates me to improve it)and I have used a few of their offers and the credit building recommendations.

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  9. User Score

    0

    June 17th, 2014 OK

    Not accurate

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  10. User Score

    8

    June 15th, 2014 Fort Worth, TX

    Its a good guideline for your credit.

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  11. User Score

    9

    June 10th, 2014 Detroit, MI

    So far..pretty decent. Scores seem pretty close tp what I’ve obtained elsewhere.

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  12. User Score

    9

    June 8th, 2014 Ardsley, NY

    I absolutely love it! Bottom line it’s the best!

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  13. User Score

    9

    June 7th, 2014 Rancho Cordova, CA

    FREE,,,,,what’s not to like?

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  14. User Score

    10

    June 6th, 2014 Plymouth, MN

    Amazing! It has truly helped me raise my score 100 points! Showing me my score, report, and best areas to work on for maximum improvement!

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  15. User Score

    9

    June 5th, 2014 Baton Rouge, LA

    I love receiving alerts about new account activity.

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  16. User Score

    10

    June 5th, 2014 El Paso, TX

    Awesome site I have already got two credit offers highly recommend

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  17. User Score

    9

    June 1st, 2014 Dolton, IL

    I think its a good website thats free and beneficial

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  18. User Score

    0

    May 29th, 2014 Blue Ridge, GA

    Every credit report company seems to think they know your e-mail address and passwords better then you, No matter what I use, they do not like them. So keep your reports, I don’t really need the hassle in order to have a report.

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  19. User Score

    10

    August 22nd, 2013 VA

    Awesome

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