Credit Karma is a free credit score reporting company, it offers a free mobile app and a desktop version making it easier for you to check your credit score and reports.
But how does it compare to the likes of other free credit reporting companies such as Borrowell, Mogo and others? Let’s find that out in this article of my in-depth, complete and honest review of Credit Karma or creditkarma.ca.
Have you ever heard the saying that “you get what you paid for?” It is true for the most part. However, Credit Karma has been trying to buck the trend with their free credit score services that they have been offering since 2008.
Naturally, people are skeptical as to the authenticity and trustworthiness of the company, and rightly so.
How Do I Get My Free Credit Report From Credit Karma?
Credit Karma offers free credit score checks from 2 out of 3 of Canada’s biggest credit reporting bodies – TransUnion and Equifax and free credit reports as well.
While it has always been possible to request your credit reports for free with other services like Annual Credit Report, you can only get that report once a year, while Credit Karma can avail you of your credit reports from both credit bureaus as often as once a week.
That should be saying something for the legitimacy of their service. Still, there are features of Credit Karma that some people may find uncomfortable.
Like most financial solution services, Credit Karma continues to divide opinion. So before you decide for or against it, we’ve created a review of their services to help you make an informed decision.
What Is A Good Credit Score In Canada?
Credit Score is a numerical number starting at 300 all the way to 900.
A credit score of 900 is the max you can attain, but I don’t think anyone would want a score of 900.
Any score of above 750+, in general, is considered pretty good in the eyes of banks and lenders and you can get any type of loan or mortgage you may need to apply for.
Also keep in mind, knowing your credit score is not only to apply for new loans or financial products, its more to do with your overall financial situation and whether you pay your bills on time.
Say you want to rent a place, or rent a car, apply for a new credit card, worst still – apply for a credit card limit increase, apply for a basic internet or mobile connection – your credit score will be pulled online.
In a few seconds after applying, your application may be approved or denied because of the credit score. So, its always good to have a decent credit score In Canada.
Credit Score Range In Canada
Credit Scores in Canada are categorized into three major categories.
1. Poor – You are considered having a poor credit score if your credit score falls in-between 300 to low 600’s
2. Fair To Good – If your credit score falls in the range of low 600’s and all the way up to mid 700’s
3. Very Good To Excellent – Any credit score above 750+ is generally considered as an excellent credit score
Again, it all depends on the individual credit scoring models used. Each of the credit scoring models may have different ranges and scoring criteria. That means the same credit score will represent something different depending on which credit model a lender uses at that point in time.
Lenders can also set their own credit range in place and criteria for approving or denying an application. But its always good you should have an overall idea of where you stand on the credit score range. This helps you to make an educated guess about your financial profile and standing.
Credit Karma uses the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model and displays both the Equifax and TransUnion credit scores which are the two biggest credit bureaus in North America.
Is It Safe To Use Credit Karma?
100% Yes. It is very much safe to use Credit Karma. Here are a few reasons why –
1. Credit Karma will never sell your personal information to a third-party for any purpose. They have been around for more than a decade now and have no negative news or scandals to prove this.
2. They have firewalls and other security precautions to ensure your data browsing safety – If you notice, creditkarma.ca has a prefix “https” when you first access the site thus ensuring your login credentials and all the data that follows is pretty much safe (SSL). “s” stands for “secure.” They also use 128-bit encryption to protect and safeguard your personal data. Along with this, they also have rigid firewalls in place for data theft prevention.
3. I’ve been a credit karma user for over 3+ years now. Every time I leave my system on and idle for a couple of minutes, I get logged off the site due to inactivity.
Does Credit Karma App Hurt Your Credit?
The simple answer is “No”
Like I said before, Credit Karma has been around for more than a decade now, since 2008 and has a wide presence across the United States and Canada.
Also, another thing to mention here is – your credit score won’t be affected by frequently logging in to the app (if you want to even once a week) or the desktop version as it is considered a soft credit enquiry by creditors. It shouldn’t have any impact on the credit score whatsoever.
Is Credit Karma Legit?
As stated earlier, Credit Karma has been around for over a decade – since 2008 – and they have been providing credit checks, financial tools, and other financial advice to their users since then.
While most of the other credit report companies offer the same services like Credit Karma for less than $20 per month, Credit Karma is really absolutely free.
But the service is not a non-profit, which begs the question: how does Credit Karma bring in revenue?
It’s simple really – advertisements.
Users of Credit Karma are used to seeing adverts displaying strategically while they are logged into their accounts. These advertisers pay Credit Karma to advertise their various credit and loan products to their user base.
Credit Karma Monitoring
Basically, Credit Karma’s job is to always keep you abreast of your credit situation while giving you the advice to better your financial standing by boosting your creditworthiness. They do this by offering free, daily and weekly credit monitoring along with updating your credit scores.
So the better your credit score, the more appealing you are to the big banks and other loan facilities who will pay big money to have their ads shown to you. The advantage these institutions enjoy when advertising with Credit Karma is that they ultimately pay a much smaller fee than if they were running generic ads across the web.
This is because Credit Karma’s relationship with each of their users gives them a very personal insight into their financial habits – kind of how Facebook uses your social media behaviour to decide what ads to show you – which in turn helps them show the users very highly targeted ads that appeal to the very core of their financial situation.
Also, besides the advertising revenue, whenever any of their users opt into the offering of any ad, Credit Karma also receives a small commission for their efforts. These streams of revenue help them to continue to offer vital and free credit and financial services to their teeming user base.
What Do You Get On Signing Up With Credit Karma?
Credit Karma offers multiple solutions to their users. Everything from credit score checks and reports to guidance on credit card and savings account usage among other things.
As stated earlier, it is completely free to use this resource; no recurring monthly payments or hidden fees.
Additionally, unlike many other credit reporting sites, their credit report card gives you a robust detailing of the effects of your financial decisions on your credit.
Credit Karma Report outlines:
1. Credit score inquiries
2. Past due balances
And more, all based on the information they source from Equifax and TransUnion.
Credit Karma always strives to make its operations as swift and simple as possible. This is why, your updated credit summary is the first thing you see upon login, right there on your dashboard.
Is The Credit Score On Credit Karma Accurate?
1. Your credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax. Although these are not your FICO score, these scores help to paint a clearer picture of what your true FICO score would look like since your FICO score is determined from the data of these credit bureaus anyway.
2. Factors Affecting Your Credit Score. There are a number of factors that determine the score that is assigned to your credit. These include your inquiries, credit utilization (ratio of credit used to credit extended), collections, delinquencies reported, as well as your Average Age of Accounts (AAoA). These metrics will also help you to point out the differences between the data being reported to Equifax and TransUnion.
Top 6 Benefits and Features Of Credit Karma
Credit Karma is a bundle of features and resources to help boost your financial standing.
But there are a few features that most of their users agree are the main reason they use the service. We’ve mentioned a few of them before but they are worth repeating.
1. Credit Scores from TransUnion and Equifax
These two scores are rarely ever the same, which is expected because they come from different credit bureaus.
However, they are both calculated using the VantageScore 3.0. Both scores will be shown differently and also include a history of the change in your credit score over time. This gives you a general idea about whether you’re making the right financial decisions or not.
2. Factors affecting your credit score
Whether you check your score and it isn’t where you want it to be or it is better than you could have ever hoped, Credit Karma avails you insight into the factors determining your score.
These include the age of your credit history, your credit inquiries, total accounts, your credit file’s derogatory marks (if any), history of payments and credit utilization.
3. Credit Report
As stated earlier, you can check this as frequently as once a week. What’s even more pleasing is the fact that Credit Karma’s credit report is not as difficult to read like those from other sources. They present the credit reports from the credit bureaus in a simple and easy-to-read format.
4. Spend Tracker
It is really easy to go overboard on your spending plans for a myriad of reasons. Credit Karma offers its users a feature to track their spending.
You just have to log in to your Credit Karma account and connect it to your credit cards and bank accounts. You can track all your spending as one lump sum or categorize the spending. The latter helps in the case of budgeting.
5. Credit Score Simulator
A proactive feature from Credit Karma, this helps you to look ahead and see how the financial decisions you are yet to make will affect your credit score and creditworthiness.
With this feature, you can simulate a myriad of situations: applying for a new credit card or closing an old one; taking out an additional loan; increasing, decreasing, or paying off all your credit card balances; paying on time or allowing your payments to default; adding a public record to your account; increasing your card’s credit line; adding credit inquiries; letting an account go into collections, etc.
6. Unclaimed Money Search
This is one of their most recent features. Now users of Credit Karma can use the platform to search for any unclaimed money that may be theirs. The feature searches in a state-specific pattern and will lead you to a state-exclusive resource whenever you use it to search.
Credit Karma App
Credit Karma’s app is available on both iOS and Android.
The app is simple, intuitive and extremely easy to set up.
All you have to do is log in to the credit karma app using valid credentials and boom you can see your credit score and reports in a flash.
Also, the app keeps getting frequent updates on both the stores. It is both secure and robust in terms of functionality and usage.
Is The Credit Score On Credit Karma Accurate?
This answer can never be fully satisfactory to everybody because it is dependent on each person’s financial situation.
However, while Credit Karma does come as advertised, it is still wise to cover all your bases. This service offers you credit score checks and reports from TransUnion and Equifax, but not Experian. It makes sense to check your score and credit report from all three.
This is because, although relatively rare, credit reports can sometimes contain massive errors that can strangle your credit score. Whether these are due to identity theft or lousy clerical errors, it is unlikely that all three major credit bureaus will make massive errors at the same time.
So if the reports from one bureau are vastly different from the other two (which is rarely the case), chances are that there are errors in the one that stands alone. So basically, each credit report helps to keep the other two honest.
So while Credit Karma is a useful resource that is truly free and safe to use, combining it with results from other credit reporting services (especially for Experian’s credit report) is a financially savvy thing to do.
That was my honest review on credit karma. You can create your free account by visiting creditkarma.ca.
There’s absolutely no sign-up fee or any sort of charge to use their services whatsoever. I’ve personally been using credit karma to know my credit score and report for over 3+ years and to date haven’t had any bad experience with them.
Equifax and TransUnion both charge close to $20 Canadian for the same service that credit karma offers free.
Definitely give them a try, you have nothing to lose here.
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