Credit Karma Review – Complaints Accuracy Legit?

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Earlier we discussed how I first found out about Credit Karma and how, as a seasoned financial professional, I was inclined to think that Credit Karma is a scam offer for free credit scores. I decided to do a review after being asked about it repeatedly.

Update: Read here about an opt-in service Credit Karma review credit monitoring as a free additional service.

There are multiple reasons for thinking this service isn’t legitimate, but the main one is that credit scores are not free.

Credit scores are not free for you, they are not free for banks, they are not free for car dealers, they are not free for anyone. Credit scores are the “why didn’t I think of that” invention of the century where personal lending is concerned.

A company called Fair Isaacs takes information from the credit reports at any of the three major credit bureaus and then uses a proprietary algorithm to reduce dozens of pages or more into one single number called a credit score. It does not do this for free. Every time someone pulls your credit score, they pay. They may pay a lot or they may pay a little depending upon their agreement with Fair Issac, but they do pay. You can’t give something that costs you money for free unless you have another way to make more money than you are paying out.

Credit Karma Reviews of Free Credit Score

Since most free credit score scams are actually free trial offers that lead to an automatic recurring charge on your credit card, I figured that Credit Karma would want a credit card number before giving me my credit score. I know how to beat automatic charges on my credit cards, so I thought I would go through the process anyway and find out for sure whether or not Credit Karma was a scam.

The surprising thing was that they never asked me to enter a credit card number!

As you may recall, I had generated a limited use credit card number to enter, but I didn’t need it. Credit Karma asked for a lot of personal information, but never asked me to enter a credit card number nor any bank account information. In other words, they have no way to charge me for my credit score. It’s tough to scam someone when you don’t get any money from them.

That begs the question, is the credit score from Credit-Karma a real credit score?

Another credit score offering out there are calculators that “estimate” your credit score for you. The catch is that they estimate your credit score based upon the information that you provide. Chances are that there is no way you are going to enter all of the information that exists in your credit report, so it is not a very accurate estimate, no matter how good the credit score calculator program itself is.

That didn’t happen with CreditKarma.com either. Instead of asking me for my financial account information, they asked me for the same type of personal information anyone would need to pull a credit report and get a credit score on me. This does include your social security number and there is no way around that, so at a certain level, you have to trust that the Credit Karma website is legit. So far, I haven’t heard of any rumblings that this is all a very elaborate identity theft scam, although that is no guarantee of anything.

Credit Karma Complaints

The number one CreditKarma complaint is that the credit score is not a real FICO score. However, it is based upon your actual credit report data.

As it turns out, I was buying my car off of its expiring lease when I discovered Credit Karma, so I was able to compare the score CreditKarma.com said I had with the one my auto broker pulled in order to do my car loan paper work. The scores were close enough to be considered identical. (Scores actually very depending upon which credit bureau is used and even from day to day depending upon new information being reporting and aging of old information, but in this case they were within 4 points of each other.)

Now what would make Credit Karma the must have personal finance service for financially savvy people is that it does not just offer you your credit score for free once, but says that you can come back and update it as often as you like. I don’t know if there is a limit on how many times you can update, but I updated my free credit score from Credit Karma every month since May with no complaints.

In other words, I have gotten six free credit scores from CreditKarma.com without paying a cent, without buying anything, and without clicking on any advertisements. There are advertisements on the page, but unless they are the kind that pay just for showing up, they have earned nothing from me other than thanks and this review.

I recently setup an account for my wife (spouses can have very different credit scores even if “everything” is held jointly) and have started getting her free credit score as well.

I can’t say that I expect Credit Karma to be in business long. I doubt that it can earn enough money on what it is doing to make a profit. It might even get shut down by Fair Issac somehow since they don’t want people thinking of its flagship product as “free”.  If Credit Karma does succeed, then it won’t be long before copycats are all over the Internet. But, no matter how it turns out down the road, for now, Credit Karma is a great deal for people managing their money.

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199 Comments on Credit Karma Review – Complaints Accuracy Legit?

  1. Justine says:

    Hello!

    Just wanted to drop by and say thank you for spreading the good word about Credit Karma.

    I totally understand your skepticism about the possibility of a free credit score, but I’m glad that Credit Karma convinced you that it is possible to get your credit score for free anytime and as often as you like. In our office, we think that is a consumer right and a way to empower yourself to build healthier credit on your own!

    If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email me.

    We hope your readers will share your enthusiasm about our free credit scores.

    Also, just as a side note, you don’t have to worry about Credit Karma going out of business. We will be around for a long long time, and will ALWAYS provide free credit scores with no plans whatsoever to ever, ever charge you. =) Thanks again.

    Cheers,
    Justine
    Social Media Manager
    Credit Karma

    • Dan says:

      I must say that my expeience has been all positive. Very accurate to the two reporting services I have compared.”eqifax-transunion”. Take the time to make a profile, add a picture, tune up the the details they give the options to do so. Remember we are just trying to make ourselves credit worthy, it has its privledges.
      I hope someday creditors will use C/C’s service. They are the only Co. not wanting to start a revalving charge at my exspense.
      Thanks Credit Karma
      Dan
      indiana

      • david says:

        Credit Karma is just another internet parasite.

        • Stanluca says:

          Why would you say that. I’ve been using Credit Karma after using Credit Sesame with horrible results and I simply love it. Yea, monetization could be an issue in the long run but for online companies right now, that doesn’t seem to be an issue as VC’s are very willing to give them funding. Thank you Credit Karma!

    • Shannon says:

      I have been using C/K since February and have used it to bring my credit score up by over 80 pts! I do wish it would work with all 3 credit companies instead of just Transunion, but it’s a start for me. I absolutely love it! No issues whatsoever and you can actually update it once a week, which I do because I did eventually link it to my bank account and plan to use it for tax purposes with deductions. C/K actually categorizes all of my spending so I know what I am spending my money on most.

    • Lora says:

      I have a different story. In order to get my score I had to give a cc number and a $1.00 charge appeared on my statement.( thought this might be to verify my idenitity, soI went with it.) I was signed up for a $29.95 a month credit alert service, unless I called to cancel it within
      7 days. When I called I had to say NO 4 times for them to cancel the service.

      • Steve says:

        I’ve been using C/K for 7 months and it has been a great help me reduce my credit score. I also noted two months ago when I applied for a loan that the scores my bank pulled were very close to what C/K had. They do have a trial option to sign up for their alert service which would require a credit card number, but if you just want to just monitor how well or bad your credit standing is, there is no charge.
        If they refunded your money, it would be only fair to say so as not mislead others that they are a rip off.

    • Desiree says:

      I have been using C/K for about six months now; and my feelings are mixed. It doesn’t show all of my credit card accounts so the scoring in that area is flawed since my utilization is showing as being higher than it actually is. Also recently, I noticed that it is showing an open account in collections that has been paid off and closed for almost four years now. That same account shows paid and closed with the correct date on my actual reports that I pulled from each of the sites. In some ways, it is a good tool; but cannot be totally trusted as the information is not always correct.

      • Ron says:

        Agree with Desiree. Their score is average at best, mine was actually 20 points higher with TransUnion. Also, their reported info will drop off then reappear months later. Example; I sold a house in May, in June it had dropped off my report, in August it has since reappeared. I questioned them on it through an email form on their site and they had no response and tried to direct my question towards another category of loans (just dumb).
        Take their info with a grain of salt as it is not wholly accurate. I guess for free it’s kind of like you pay for what you get.

    • juanita stokes says:

      credit karma is a joke the did ask for my credit card so what they are telling you is a lie!

  2. [...] Is Credit Karma A Scam Free Credit Score Offer? Finance Gourmet answers a big resounding yes; Credit Karma is absolutely, 100% scam-free! [...]

    • Amy says:

      I just started CK with the suggestion of my friend, who has had NO problems whatsoever. I was never asked for a card number, which made me more confident. I think that the websites that some people are getting onto aren’t legitemate CK sites. Remember, before you click on the website, look at the tiny identification sites below the one you are going to click on. If it says anything other than creditkarma, then another domain/scammmer probably has the website set up different.

      • Ginger says:

        None of the above is true, as soon as I put in my personal information I was asked for my credit card #. A 1$ reimbursable charge has to go on a credit card before you get any scores. That means it is not free. So if that is a lie what else is?

        • June Wallace says:

          I think maybe it KreditKarma, I made the mistake of accessing that website instead of CreditKarma, the site looked different thatn my usual site, and when it asked me to set up an account and provide a credit card, I knew I was on the wrong site. make sure credit is spelled with a c and not a k and make sure the words are together no spaces-CreditKarma not Credit Karma. I have not had any problems, and my information is up to date.

        • Donna Dodolewa says:

          I use creditkarma, and have never been asked for money, the others do.

          • Lynn Verburg says:

            I just found this out about creditkarma. My daughter and I both check it. We recently went to buy a house and one of the things mentioned on loans and mortgage ins. was too many inquiries for the credit score. While it is free this should be considered.

      • jason dettore says:

        Why is this company still on tv promoting free service?

  3. Bob Davis says:

    This website creditsuit.org/credit.php/blog/creditkarma_another_scam_stay_away_from_lying_thugs/
    has the truth about CK:

    Not until you sign up, do you get the term where they hide in many pages of legalese:

    At the time that you submit your registration form to us for a free credit score, you will automatically be enrolled to receive periodic valuable offers for products and services from our Partners.

    And:

    Our Partners

    Credit Karma shows personalized offers based on consumer credit profiles. These offers are from partners and advertisers who share our vision of consumer empowerment. The premise of our service is to provide value to both consumers and advertisers equally by using advertising revenue to subsidize the cost of credit scores, and then matching offers to users appropriately based on their credit profile.

    “These offers are from partners and advertisers who share our vision of consumer empowerment. “

    • Bob,
      Thank your for your comment.

      First, the Terms of Use are available at the bottom of the home page just like they are on most websites. There is no requirement for you to sign up before you can see them. You can view them at any time without logging in or creating an account. Or, you can use this link.

      Second, it is pretty clear that Credit Karma is advertising supported and I made note of that fact in my review. I see plenty of ads on the site. Whether or not they will ever send some sort of email offer, I can’t say, but I haven’t gotten anything from them or their partners other than an approximately monthly email that says “my credit score may have changed”. I also have not gotten anything in the mail that is different than the standard stuff I get.

      The text you quoted could use some context. The very next sentence after the first quote you cite is, “As set forth in more detail in our privacy policy, we will not share your credit report and score with our Partners.” I think that is a pretty important piece of information to get left out. In fact, the Terms of Use go hand in hand with most website’s privacy policy so that would be worth reading as well. (Again, there is no need to sign up before viewing.)

      More importantly is the fact that while that author has chosen to play up these “privacy issues” these terms are virtually identical to many commonly used online services including Mint.com and even Google and their advertising programs.

      In other words, yes, you will see ads on Credit Karma but you will get free access to your real credit score on an ongoing basis. I am willing to let them throw some ads up on my computer screen in exchange.

  4. jerry says:

    signed up but cant verify the link in my email to log on thanks jerry

  5. [...] is no one “real” credit score.How Do I Get My Real Credit Score For Free?In a recent review of CreditKarma.com we showed you how to get your credit score for free. As far as I know, Credit Karma is the only way [...]

  6. C.W. says:

    I say SCAM!!! I entered all my pertinent information (Name, Address, SS#, Phone #) which hasn’t changed in the last (30)
    THIRTY years, have only had ONE SS# and am 74 years of age.
    By their standards “UNABLE TO VERIFY INFORMATION” after they have ALL my information.
    Now I have to call all three Credit B’s and put a FRAUD warning on.

    • Carol Sanchez says:

      As you, I had a VERY negative experience with Credit Karma. I’d gone to the website to nose around. I put in my Personal Information and scrolled down to the Accept Box. Before I did anything, my screen flashed, I was welcomed as a Member. I immediately emailed them to Unsubscribe me. (This took two days). The next morning I received a note from Google Chrome telling me that someone had gone into my email and changed settings with my knowledge. I continually emailed Credit Karma until they emailed me back saying I was “unsubscribed”. I will never trust them now.

  7. Don says:

    You gave them your name address, birthdate, phone number and SSN?nTo someone you don’t know? Now you act like a spokesman for them. The truth is that you have no idea how they may eventually use that very private information. Just because they haven’t used it yet for identity theft or anothermscam is no guarantee they won’t in the future. No one should EVER give out that kind of information to any person or site you don’t know well.

    And as an aside, the response from “Justine” the “social media manager” disturbs me as much. No professional company would ever allow an executive to send out a picture like that. I realize its “social media” but its still a business!

    • I used something and it worked out, so I told people about it. I would prefer people do something like this instead of signing up for a “free” credit score only to end up on the hook for a $10+ per month credit monitoring service that they don’t want or need. I’m not sure how that is acting like a spokesman.

      I’m not sure what your criteria for giving out your information is, but my name, address, and phone number go out to anyone who ships something to my house. My birthday isn’t much of a secret, either. I am very careful about who I give my SSN out to, but the fact is that it is impossible for anyone to get a credit report (and thus a credit score) without a social security number. There is no way around it.

    • Megan says:

      Don I am perplexed at your naiveté frankly. How exactly do you think one obtains a credit score if you don’t give them this information? It’s obvious you have never pulled your credit score…

  8. paul says:

    I think they share your credit score with companys that solicit you about financial offers. A company called my cell phone the day after I tried the service. It realy dosent bother me because I did read all of the disclosures and in them it said they would share my info with theyre “Partners”.

    • The day after signing up is probably too fast to attribute it to signing up. It takes a bit longer to package a phone list and sell it and then for those who use the lists to call the numbers on it. I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m just saying that would be VERY fast for something like that to happen.

  9. Mitch says:

    I read your article carefully before signing up for Credit Karma. But, I also checked them out with the BBB (they are a member). Their BBB score is A-. If people feel they are being “scammed” by this web site then I suggest a complaint to the BBB.

    Mitch

  10. Steve says:

    I have been using Credit Karma for over two years and have had no problems. The information they provide is legitimate and the tools they have to help you improve your credit score are invaluable. Yes they are ad supported and make money by offering you ways to improve your scores through signing up for additional credit cards, insurance carriers and even banks. It works more like affiliate marketing. But the basic service is FREE and available without the use of any credit card you may have now.

  11. Seneca says:

    I have used credit karma for over a year now, and I never have had any problems with them. I found out about them through a company called TransCard, which I got my bosses to use them for petty cash instead of Wester Union. Credit Karma has never sent me any spam emails and I have never received any phone calls on any phone in the house or cell phone from them, though the funny thing is that I get phone calls of people trying to sell me credit monitoring services for Discover Card and Citi bank.

    Overall, I use Credit Karma and it has helped me to build my credit. I got it after I got my first card and following its tips I have increased by score alot.

  12. RJ Tholl says:

    ok. The paranoia level seems a bit out of control here. I have been using CreditKarma.com for years now with no perceptible spike in credit offers or financial spam. Just great free B.S. free credit reports. I am glad to see some other people digging into the legalese as yes I was wary at first only because of all of the predatory companies out there that have offered me free credit reports before. The big companies Equifax/Experian etc are the worst! Talk about a scam? Free credit report.com SCAMMMM. Between amazing services like Mint.com and creditkarma.com and having an amazing bank like INGdirect.com Things are going pretty well. I LOVE ING!!! One thing the obama administration hit out of the park were these credit card reforms. I noticed (evil)bankofamerica has a class action lawsuit on their hands right now for ripping people off to the tune of several billion dollars by luring people in with a 0% rate and then at the first late payment jacking them up to 36% interest rate like they did to me. That is my last credit card mar on my credit score and I cant wait to start paying it own over the next year. BOA you bunch of THUGS. Im paying 16.8% on 5000 and probably have paid 5000 to get a 5000 loan from you turkeys. God I hope you guys in the credit division crash and burn. I hope the building you are sitting at there in Charlotte NC has faulty plumbing and the sewage backs up so high you are all up to your noses! ok ok rant over.

    creditkarma.com seems ok to me.

    and p.s.

    social media managers are typically young internet savvy people who work on a contract basis for different companies. They usually aren’t corporate robots like you DON. chill out. Her picture is fine… is she supposed to be wearing a Hillary Clinton style pantsuit to make you happy? Go get a massage and loosen up a little.

  13. Buchua13 says:

    I checked my credit score in creditkarma.com it gave me a hight credit score than, myfico.com.
    I want to know why,or which one is true?

    • First, the credit score from creditkarma.com is computed by Credit Karma using data from your credit report. It is modeled on the FICO score, but is not a FICO score. The score from myfico.com is theoretically the more “real” score, however, scores are snapshots of a single point in time. It will be higher or lower tomorrow depending on if anything new gets reported to the credit bureaus. Second, even the score from MyFico may not be the “real” score depending upon which one of the several types of FICO scores a lender chooses to use.

      There is a lawsuit brewing around just this issue. So many people are paying to see “their credit score” and actually have no idea what they are being shown, nor are those who sell the access making it clear what they are showing.

      For now, don’t focus on what the score is, focus on whether it is going up or down. Whether you have a 720 or a 730 is only important when you actually apply for credit. However, if your credit score (whichever one you are looking at) goes from 730 to 710, you need to find out why and, if possible, undo it.

  14. Martin says:

    I signed up for Credit Karma in Dec last year, since then I’ve paid off over half my credit card debt but Credit Karma is still showing the old debt level with no change in my score since I first signed up, so my question is do they really update your score frequently or is more like once every six months or some other long time period?

    • Martin says:

      I found the problem: you have to actually click on the Update button to get a new reading on your score and data.

    • Pat G says:

      They do’t update every time you click update. Transunion is the worst of the bureaus and you have to keep contacting them to accurately remove improper or false files. It usually take them several months to catch up with the quality bureaus.

  15. B. P. Barnes says:

    It all looks good and well, and everybody knows that there is a “BUT coming here.
    They do not want your credit card info. But they do have all of the other pertinent information needed to steal your Identity. Not saying that is what is up.
    But now they have your SS#, address, phone numbers, Spouses name and chances are some next of kin names and numbers. Everything needed to apply for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. What is to say this is not the grand scheme of things. Just asking? I do hope this all legit. I sure could use a way to monitor my credit score.

  16. Scott Bailey says:

    I think they make their money on referral fees from the credit cards they recommend for you…just like airlines do. It’s lucrative, and it works, but it’s a good deal for the consumer too, since you have no obligations.

  17. Moto says:

    I’ve been using credit karma since Jun 2009 without a problem. I think they make a significant amount of money by advertising for credit card and loan companies. It is a win/win for you and the banks. The banks are always going to make money off of you, but credit karma does help you wade through large amounts of financial data. I could figure out what credit card would give me the best rewards based on the type of spending I do.

  18. I was going to try it but after looking around im thinking no. if creditkarma.com is owned by transunion like the author claims i find it odd the registrar is Go Daddy.com and not CSC CORPORATE DOMAINS, INC. like it is for for transunion..maybe nothing to it but it bothers me.

    • I think you might not understand what a registrar is. GoDaddy.com is a domain name registrar. You buy domain names through them. Everyone has to buy a domain name from a registrar, even big companies. I think I got FinanceGourmet.com from 1and1.com but they don’t have anything to do with the site other than hosting the name. Likewise, CSC Corporate Domains has nothing to do with TransUnion other than being who they bought the domain name from.

      You’ll find lots of domains with a GoDaddy registrar. They are one of the biggest and the cheapest, although I wouldn’t recommend them.

      • John O'Connell says:

        CSC is Computer Sciences Corporation. They are an outsourcer. They must be hosting the TransUnion computers in their data center.

  19. Donna Oblinger says:

    I am very pleased with Credit Karma. I first heard about it last year from one of the financial websites I am subscribed to. If not for that endorsement, I would have been leary of trying it. They actually remind you to update your credit score if you have not for a while. I just updated mine today. I totally trust them.

  20. Arthur says:

    The Government, Federal Trade Commission (FTC),requires each of the three credit agencies; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to provide one free credit report annually. The FTC site is;
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pub.....cre34.shtm
    They send you to this site;
    https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
    So, you don’t need to go through these other agencies, you can get three reports legally free. And I think if you request one from each one separately, you can check out your credit 3 times a year.

    • You are correct. You can get your credit REPORT for free once per year from each of the three agencies. There is no requirement to offer a free credit SCORE, and none of the three credit bureaus do. In fact, they’ll try and sell you a “free credit score” that is actually an auto-renewing trial membership in their overpriced credit monitoring service.

  21. [...] about this CreditKarma.com free credit monitoring review along with your free credit score. See my CreditKarma.com review for a complete look of Credit Karma. Also check this if you are worried about the whole thing being [...]

  22. Mooba says:

    Even though I am 46 but have never used a credit card, never borrowed money, never owned a home or a new car, never went to college and have never taken out loans etc., I signed up with credit karma just to see if it gave me a credit score at all. After I filled out everything I had a credit score of 745 or something like that. I think they came up with that score by using the home address where I am currently renting a bedroom, and they also used the cars associated with the home owner, not me. So this was not a accurate score in my case since I am not the home owner.

    • The scores are computed from your own credit report which is tied to your Social Security number, so someone else’s cars and the like won’t help / hurt. Don’t forget, bank accounts (even check and savings accounts) and your rental history can end up on your credit report, as can on-time payments of utility bills, cell phone bills, medical bills and others. Even in the unlikely case that you have never done anything that was reported to your credit report, that still means you have no late payments, your debt to income ratio is very high, and so on, all of which would add up to a good score.

  23. [...] Is Credit Karma a scam for free credit scores? Let’s find out. *{margin:0; padding:0;} #socialbuttonnav li{background:none;overflow:hidden;width:65px; height:80px; line-height:30px; margin-right:2px; float:left; text-align:center;} #fb { text-align:center;border:none; } [...]

  24. [...] credit score reporting services like Credit Karma to monitor credit scores free. Check out the CreditKarma review here on Finance Gourmet for more [...]

  25. Boss says:

    Credit Karma only gives you your TransUnion Score????

  26. [...] a review of Credit Kama here on FinanceGourmet, a reader asked if I would look into another service he had found called [...]

  27. Chuck R says:

    I have been using creditkarma since 2010 and update every month and have never had a problem

  28. grand wazoo says:

    i signed up on credit Karma and they said my file was too thin
    27 days later i got a letter from a collection svc about a 19 yr credit card debt
    so they had to have sold my info

  29. Sandra Lewis says:

    i thought you did not need a credit card. They asked for one so this is a scam.

  30. jim dickman says:

    I just tried to sign up to Karma, they ask for a credit card and the fine print said i would be charged $1.00 REFUNDABLE but if I didn’t call a 800 number within 7 days I would be charged mothly until cancelled

    • Had a couple of reports about this. I’ll re-check and see if things have changed. However, I’ve also gotten reports of a Credit Karma scam where a website called KreditKarma.com has copied the real site and is scamming users out of money. Be sure you got the right one and be sure to dispute any charges that they make on your card.

  31. Jordan says:

    Thank you for the review! Amazing website. I was weary at first of using CreditKarma but it did NOT ask me for a credit card or anything. NOT A SCAM!

  32. Julie says:

    Credit Karma is awesome! I was never asked for a credit card number so it really is free! I’m trying to buy a house so monitoring my credit score is really important right now. I’m not much into remarking on or grading websites but I wanted other people to know that this site is not a scam but that it is authentic, free, and super informative!

  33. Katie says:

    I have been using Credit Karma since November of 2010 and have never been asked for a credit card number. When I went to go buy a Cadillac I updated my score on credit Karma before I went to the dealership so I could compare what they showed as my score and what Credit Karma said and it was 2 points different (dang close). They make their money from the credit card companies that advertise on their site I beleive.

  34. Pat G says:

    I am certainly glad they don’t charge for their poor service. I had a home modifacation removed from my credit on all three bureaus that showed 38 past due payments along with a bankruptcy. On Karma my score didn’t change for 4 months but had increased on all bureaus the first month of the four. My score for over 129 days was 150-176 points higher in the bureaus than on Karma. Poor unrelable service.

  35. Rongrant says:

    I decided to give ‘Credit Karma’ a whirl b4 I found this review. All you said in your review turned out to be 100% correct. As I’m retired and most of my friends are still working, I like to pass on ‘finds’ to them in order to hopefully save them some time/$$$/etc. Be4 I recommend ‘Credit Karms’ I decided to do more research…I found you and now I’m emailing this review along w/the ‘Credit Karma’ website to my friends. Many thanx – Rongrant

  36. JoeB says:

    I stopped logging on to Credit Karma! I do not have good credit (it was tanked in a divorce three years ago). I have been trying and trying to repair my credit. My bank pulled a number when I was denied financing and it was in the upper 600′s (yeah, bad). Credit Karma showed low 600′s. Every time I hit the refresh/update button over the course of three months, it ONLY went down, down, down… Yet, in those three months no debt, bad debt, loan applications, nothing occurred that was negative – nothing! If anything, it would have gotten better, not worse. My concern is this constant downgrade at each update is affecting my score.

    • The credit pulls from Credit Karma, if they are even reported, would be considered “soft pulls” and would not affect your credit. Your credit is calculated based both on negative things that hurt your score AND positive things that increase it. Your good credit accounts are aging away at the same rate as your bad credit.

      If your situation permits consider doing something with credit that is positive. A small credit card that you diligently pay on time every month, for example.

      • JoeB says:

        Thank you! I had opened a small credit card, six months ago, and have paid it on time without issues, which is why I was not understanding how every-time I hit refresh on Credit Karma, my rate always drops… I stopped going on their site for this very reason.

  37. kim says:

    I just found out credit Karma does not show your correct score. Try creditsesame.com My score for credit Karma says 620 and on credit sesame its 700. I have worked very hard to pay my bills on time, just payed off my chapter 13 and relied on CK to be accurate and its not. I think they suck!

    • Comparing two free sites and deciding which one you like better doesn’t really seem like a very solid way to determine which one is more accurate.

      You’ll want to compare to a real credit score you get when applying for credit. Check with your bank, sometimes they have a relatively recent credit score on file for you. They pull them every so often to see what services to market.

      Also, check out my write up on Credit Sesame here.

    • Trey says:

      Being a financial expert and pulling multiple credit reports daily – - I would say the lower score is more indicative of a recently paid off bankrupcy in the past few years. I would throw the higher one in the trash.

    • Curt says:

      You’re right. they are trying to tell me my score is nearly 80 points higher than it actually is… I’ve been using CK for over a year now and they have always been off by 50+ points or more. I’ve heard some say over a 100pts.. The biggest problem is its still not your real score. I signed up with Equifax and their numbers are bogus too.. (Found out buying my last 2 cars, that they were high also).. As far as I can tell there is no way to get your real score as the scoring is always different depending on the type of loan…

  38. Eric says:

    Thank you for the good words! As a long-time employee here, just want to definitively clear up a few misconceptions:

    1. Yes, it’s completely free. No paid subscription. You can pull your score an unlimited amount of times. Free.

    2. They are indeed “soft” pulls, so there is no impact on your score.

    3. Your score will vary using different credit sites because they come from different bureaus. We provide the TransRisk score from TransUnion. As a member myself (even before employment here), this score is accurate in terms of gauging loan/credit worthiness. I used Credit Karma to apply for a mortgage before coming here, and the score was only a few points off from the eventual middle score my lender used.

    Once again, thank you for the good press and I’d encourage anybody with questions to contact us.

  39. [...] service on the surface, but let’s dive in an look deeper.Just like we noted when doing our Credit Karma review, the credit score you get from Credit Sesame is not a free FICO score. While the Credit Karma score [...]

  40. Patrick says:

    I have been using credit karma for months with not a single problem. I have become much more aware of my credit habits thanks to credit karma.

    • Bud!! says:

      I agree Creditkarma is a scam. I went for my crdit score and it asked for a credit card. And something about if not canceled in 7 days you would be charged 12.99 per month untill canceled. so i did not go ant futher its not free!!!!

  41. Kevin C says:

    I find it very interesting that after using Credit Karma, I had people trying to open credit card accounts using my name and SS#. These people knew the answers to the security questions that are asked. I have NO credit cards and am very careful with my information.

    I vote: SCAM

  42. allen says:

    My credit score is 619. Not great, I know. Credit Karma keeps bouncing my score like a ping ping ball. 566 as of today, down from 595 yesterday. Gotta love how that happens. All credit cards are paid off. No loan apps. No credit apps. something at CC just isn’t right. and since I signed up I have received phone calls for bills from 8 years ago. Only way to get my number is through here. Didn’t have this number 8 years ago. CC is fishy at best.

    • Chevy says:

      Allen,

      You are mad at CK because you have a poor score and probably because you haven’t always paid your bills on time. I have used it for 2 years and I find it quite accurate. Take a deep breath my friend…

  43. allen says:

    Btw, credit scores are the biggest scam of all. We get judged daily on credit worthiness not knowing why things happened the way they did to effect scores. we have a government so far in debt that they will never get out yet credit is extended at every turn. The whole system is a scam.

  44. allen says:

    There seems to be an awful lot of defense for Credit Karma on here while putting down another site. Makes you wonder who is actually on here. CK isn’t any help other then to get you to sign up for credit repair loans/cards/etc. The score rating is bogus. It shows a 566 right now and I know that my score is a 619. Still bad but not as bad as CK wants me to believe. I know what my score is because I pulled my report from all 3 agencies.

    • allen,
      There is no one “on here” other than me. I’m a freelance writer who used to be a financial advisor. I am most certainly not “connected” to anyone. I’m not sure what “defense” you see, other than me (and others) pointing out what we know.

      Remember, the Credit Karma score is not a FICO score. Second, your score will sometimes vary depending upon which credit report was used to generate it. Not all financial companies report the same to all the bureaus. Finally, pulling your score from the agencies won’t necessarily get you a FICO score either. You can get a FICO score from myFICO but even that is only one of several score that exist. The score is different if it is for a mortgage than if it is for a car, for example.

      I recommend people use Credit Karma and other similar services to make sure their score is moving in the right direction. If it goes down, then your FICO score might be going down too.

  45. Carlos says:

    Credit Karma is a waste, I ran the credit simulation they offer and tacked on a extra inquiree, and tacked on a new account and new balance, pretty much I tacked on every way I could think to see if my credit score would drop.
    The dial did not move when I ran the simulation but when I opened a new account bam my credit score dropped 6 points.
    Yes I also simulated age of accounts..

  46. Clinton says:

    Thank you, Noble Finance Gourmet, for your review on CreditKarma.

    I read about it earlier this morning from a comment thread on a site I frequent, and thought I’d do my research to see exactly how they were going to scam me (Years of the internet has taught me that anything involving credit, with the notable exception of annualcreditreport.com was likely to shaft me) After an hour or so of casting a jaundiced eye around the far-flung reaches of cyberspace, I have to say that I’m surprised! There is very little negative publicity for CreditKarma, and what negatives there are are often either for the bogus “kreditkarma” or from people I could charitably refer to as “alarmist.”

    I went and reviewed the T&C before I took the plunge and gave them my information. From what I could understand in the T&C (Full disclosure: I am not an attorney, and only speak “pidgin legalese”) it looks like the worst they’ll do is sell your non-personally-identifying information to their “partners” in order to provide targeted advertising at you.

    There’s a certain website type, and design out there that utterly screams “I’M TRYING TO DECEIVE YOU” — Look at the websites of online gambling sites, a lot of file hosting sites, sites that try to sell you freely available information, and other credit monitoring sites, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. CreditKarma’s site is not at all like these. They’re very upfront about what they are, what they do. I can best describe the experience as the difference between a personal banker and a used car salesman.

    Aesthetics and overall feel aside (that’s all subjective), There was no deception or railroading (frequently dishonest sites will, in the sign-up process, throw up a page for a partner offer with form elements to fill in, without clearly indicating that it is a partner offer) and everything was very straightforward and frank. Kudos go for keeping it simple and transparent.

    It seems the most vocal crowd, both on this blog, and elsewhere on the internet, are folks who report that their scores differ on CreditKarma, from elsewhere. From what i’ve found it seems CreditKarma reports lower than other score pulls that they’ve had recently. Even if we ignore the differences between the bureaus, and daily fluctuations of the score, I’d rather have a conservative estimate than an optimistic one.

    Overall, from this review and others, CreditKarma seems quite legitimate, and I have been pleased with the service since I signed up this morning.

    Cheers!

  47. Richard says:

    I signed up for CreditKarma and everything worked fine. I got an accurate credit readout. But, my email account has been absolutely bombed with payday/cash-advance loan offers ever since. They’re obviously sharing my info.

  48. Betty Farnsworth says:

    I have had Credit Karma for almost 2 years. I love it. I think it follows my credit very well. I had co-signed on a loan with my son. When doing a monthly check I saw my score had gone down. I saw it was because my son missed a payment. I got after him, it was paid and in a matter of 2 weeks my credit went back up. I highly recommend it and advise people to check monthly. I haven’t had an increase of junk mail or anything else since signing up.

  49. paul says:

    I have been on credit karma for just over a year now. i check my score every couple of days, to see if anything funny pops up on it. For the last 2 months almost 3 months now my score has not moved, up or down. I am looking to get an auto loan, so I checked the site and my score was the same, when into the dealership and they pulled my credit and the score was almost 100 points lower then what as being show on the site to me. And that was the determinate for the loan, if it had been where I had seen it I would of been approved. I will never log on to that site again.

  50. Dennis says:

    Ive used CK for over 2 years and also CS neither one is a 100% accurate but they do put you in the ball park. I noticed a lot of complaints on here are your score going down even though you didn’t make any bills or you paid bills off. Well that is why your score is low in order to have a high score you must be in debt but in debt reasonably credit cards need to be less than 2/3rds of the maximum balance, other bills must be paid on time that will keep your score up once you close an acct it drops so trying to stay debt free will not give you a high score just the opposite.

  51. Mike W says:

    One way CK make money – they sell your e-mail address. Shortly after I signed up for CK, I started getting spam, lots of spam. I get 400 or 500 spam e-mails weekly and they started coming right after I signed up for CK. If you sign up for CK, establish a separate e-mail account just for CK.

  52. Nicole says:

    Have been using creditkarma.com for awhile now. Never was asked for a dime let alone a credit card number. Even got my mom using it. It is the best website to check your credit score. Very accurate and up to date. One of the few sites that says it’s free and means it.

    Nicole
    PA

  53. Rick says:

    Although I follow my credit score on CK, I have to scratch my head at what they show my credit score. It’s at least 50 points less than all three of the credit bureaus AND my score on FICO, with the same information. Huh?

    • Remember that there is more than one credit score, even from the same credit report. It depends on if it is for a mortgage or car loan or something else. These services are not useful as a way of knowing exactly what your score is, after all, it changes day to day. What they are useful for is tracking the overall trend. Whether you really have a score of 722 or 698 isn’t as important as if it is going up or down.

    • Roscoe says:

      The NEW Credit Karma “service” that REQUIRES one to share ID and password to “link” each account is questionable at best. It even wants the password to your bank account? I will never use the site again. Check out credit.com. It is still legitimate it seems.

      • You don’t have to use the new service. In fact, I think it is still only available to some. The new service, which monitors your accounts (instead of your credit) is very similar to the kinds of things offered by mint.com among others. You have to give them you account names and passwords as well, in order to see “inside” your accounts. You can still just stick with the credit monitoring piece of Credit Karma.com if you prefer. I think this new offering probably deserves its own article.

  54. Godzilla says:

    I notice Credit Karma has 29 BBB complaints recorded over the past 18 months or so. Billing issues comes up often… Looks to me like there might be a snake in the grass after all. I don’t believe in anything being free and when it is free, it’s either a poisoned chalice or not worth having.

    • Credit Karma does offer some pay-for services and some free services. I don’t see any complaints about people being charged for the free services. Nothing is completely free. Google shows you ads in your free Gmail accounts, as does Facebook, and Twitter. Credit Karma does to. As far as the complaints go, billing issues pertain to the for-fee services. This post isn’t about the extra add-ons you pay for, which I can’t review because I’ve never tried them.

    • Alana says:

      I have been using creditkarma for a long time. It is absolutely legitimate. I would advise anyone with credit to have an account. I have a walmart credit card that gives me a fico score every month and creditkarma is close enough to be a excellent financial tool in managing your credit.

  55. Patricia says:

    My profile data wasn’t sufficient or didn’t match theirs so they were unable to provide a credit score. To my knowledge all the information asked for was provided completely and accurately, so I don’t know what the problem is. PL

  56. Rukiara says:

    I use Credit Karma, I have for a long time, I set my bf up on it and just yesterday I set my sister in law on the site and she signed up herself and her husband, no fees and no problems. I haven’t been able to compare it to anything but it seems fairly accurate enough that I can tell.

    I also had a years of identity theft protection company that was given after the playstation fiasco, and they never once found anything suspicious, and I had Credit Karma during the whole thing. I’m a very skeptical and worried person, and I trust the site very much. I looked for reviews recently to kind of find out how the scores compare, but knowing its not FICO and is FAKO or whatever..not sure what that means, but I get the idea that it just means that it may vary slightly. A ball park is still good enough for me to have a good guess, better than not knowing anything.

    Thank you for the review.

    • Anthony P says:

      If you have nothing to compare it to, how can you say it’s “accurate”? CreditKarma is full of problems:

      You can’t update your credit card info,
      Their system can’t connect to credit card companies correctly,
      Their “customer service” dept, never replies to your email or for help,

      It’s a mess. I’ve sent them 4 emails to delete me account – I’ve not gotten any replies from yet, and it’s still active.

      Plus as mentioned before their “fako” number is way lower than your actual. CK told me it was 690, when it was actually 749.

      • Nevets says:

        @ Anthony P. You start out saying you have nothing to compare it to so how can you say that it’s accurate. You end your comment saying what Credit Karma said your score was and then you said what your real score was. Is that not a comparison?
        You say that you can’t update your credit card info. You would have to go through your credit card company to do that. The big 3 reporting agencies only report what info. your credit card company gives them and Credit Karma gets their info. from Transunion.
        You say that their system can’t connect to credit card companies correctly. That’s rather vague as to what exactly you mean by that. Your whole comment seems to be rather confusing and contradictive, perhaps that’s why your not receiving any replies to your emails, they are somewhat of a mess.
        I’ve emailed Credit Karma before and not only were they prompt at replying to my email, but they also explained to me how to resolve a problem on my credit report and gave me the email address and 800 number for the company that I needed to contact. I followed their suggestion and the problem has since been resolved.
        I’m very happy with Credit Karma. By the way, if you compare the big 3′s credit scores, odds are none of those will match either, and if your referring to the score that is what the big 3 come up with after putting all 3 of their scoring models together, that’s a different scoring chart all together and a 749 would be in the same grade range as your Credit Karma score of 690. Go back to the Credit Karma website and look at those comparison tables a little closer. Be sure to read what each one means and not just the number value.

  57. William Scott says:

    To all the people saying that their score from a loan app. was different from credit karma there is a good reason for that. Credit Karma is free because it gives what those in the know call a “fako” score. Not a true FICO score. In fact, real, legit FICO scores for personal use can only be obtained from the equifax and transunion sites. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get your real experian FICO without applying for a loan and getting denied, at which point whoever denied you credit is legally obligated to send you your scores. Fako scores are useful tools to ballpark your scores, but they are not 100% accurate. I currently get a fako experian from 3 different sites each month and they vary by 60 points. As such, I don’t know what my experian is, but I know around where it is. Point being, don’t mistake your fako for your FICO.
    -William

    • sybil says:

      I agree with you. Free credit .Karma s “score” varied by 60 points as well and I dont think this site is legit. How can this site s score vary that much and be ” real”? It was different then my experian

  58. mary fish says:

    I am really confused. I opted for the free credit scores because it said “always free” I was, however, asked to put a refundable $1.00 deposit on a credit card. When I got a “welcome to creditkarma email” I just happened to notice that if I didn’t cancel within one week I would automatically be billed??? So I am confused as to how other people are getting the credit scores free month after month!!

    • Mary, I noticed that Credit Karma has done a significant update to their site to focus on account monitoring rather than credit score monitoring. You may have accidentally signed up for an optional service. I’ll do an update / rewrite in the near future once I have a chance to check everything out fully. Until then, I do believe you can still get the free score updates, however, from the comments and emails I’m getting, it may be trickier to sign up for ONLY the free parts.

  59. Joan says:

    In order to access that info, don’t you give the site your SSN?
    I’m don’t think I’d want to give that info over to another internet site.

    • You do have to give them your SSN. It’s the only way to get a credit report or the information in it. I don’t like it either, but until Congress does something, that’s the way the world works. Incidentally, you also have to give your SSN to get your official one-a-year free credit report as mandated by law.

    • Tacia says:

      It does ask for credit card number. It is not free.

      • Sean says:

        I just created an account and was never asked for a credit card number. Are you going to the right site?

  60. Dave says:

    I have used Credit Karma for years now. My one and only complaint is they dont seem to respond to Emails sent to their support in a timely manner. I have been trying to get a new password (for my girlfriend) to get into the system for a few days now. Their system says it will email it to her but we havent received it. Yes we have looked in her Spam Directory. This same thing happened to me a few months ago. Has anyone else had this issue??

  61. I’ve used Credit Karma for about a year now and recommend it to friends and family to get access to their credit scores. Yes, you can’t get your actually FICO scores that lenders see but even the score you do pay for at the credit bureaus may be slightly different from what the lenders see. These are all ballpark numbers and gives the person an idea.

    There is no fee to sign up for CreditKarma so I don’t know why people are stating they are putting up credit cards or anything of that sort on the site.

    The one thing I have noticed recently is that they started showing credit card offers in between the pages of information about your report.

    I’ve worked in banking and I know my score the lenders see, the score I pulled from the credit bureau and the score I see on credit karma they are all within a few points of each other.

    Just make sure you are actually on the right site and not similar site.

  62. Robert Platt Bell says:

    “As it turns out, I was buying my car off of its expiring lease..”

    Ouch. And you are giving people financial advice? Shame on you.

    Leasing a car is getting bent-over by the dealer. Buying it at the end of the lease is just getting bent-over twice.

    Just buy a late model secondhand car and drive it carefully. You will pay about half as much.

    As for Credit Karma, when I tried to use it, it gave me a message saying “We have too many users right now and have suspended service.”

    How do they make money at this? I suspect they are harvesting e-mails and selling the data. When I unchecked the box to receive “exciting new offers!” it declined to give me the credit score.

    And as you note, it is not the real credit score, but rather a made-up score created by Credit Karma.

    And it begs the question – does Credit Karma pulling your report actually lower your score?

    For me, it was an academic exercise, as I have no debts – paid off my mortgage, and have paid-for cars and no credit card debt.

    The freeannualcreditreport is the best way to go. It might not give you the “score” but chances are, you can read the report and figure out what is what. If you have a lot of negative information, you are going to have a low score.

    And if you have a lot of negative information, it is time to stop borrowing money, learn to live on less and save more.

    Being perpetually in debt is not “normal” – but many Americans think it is.

    Not being in debt is like being on acid 24/7. It is an electric feeling.

    And anyone can do it. Just walk away from all these crummy deals like leases and credit card rewards. Learn to live within your means and stop borrowing more.

    If you can spend $1 less than you make, you will accumulate wealth.

    When you borrow $1 more than you make, not only are you going into debt, you end up with less to spend, as you have to pay interest.

    Sadly, few people ever figure this out. They want THINGS, so they can impress people they don’t even know.

    Sad, ain’t it?

    • Wow. This is a wide ranging comment. First, the lease was for business purposes and the car had very low miles on it (still does). Buying the end of the lease means paying the lender the remaining residual value, which was far less than the car was worth thanks to the low mileage and good condition. This post isn’t about the economics of leasing, but if done properly and for the right reasons (not just getting a lower payment so you can buy a more expensive car) leasing can be a good option. I also buy my cars via an auto-broker and did not use any dealer financing, which CAN sometimes be a poor option for some buyers.

      Your comment is the first one I’ve heard about having any sort of service issues with the website not responding.

      I use one email address for everything I sign up for online and other than getting the confirmation email out of there, never read what comes in. I would suspect many people do the same. You can pretty much guarantee anyone who asks for your email address means to use it to send you emails.

      I too encourage people to get their free credit reports, but you only get one once per year for each bureau, and as you point out, that does not include a score. That makes is unusable for monitoring how your actions, or creditor’s actions, are affecting your credit score during the year. This is a different service, to do a different thing.

      I find it hard to believe that not being in debt feels like being on acid at all, let alone 24/7 but I’m glad it is proving so enjoyable for you.

  63. nonot thisinfo says:

    “Credit scores are not free for you, they are not free for banks, they are not free for car dealers, they are not free for anyone”

    So not True!!! You are entitled to a free credit report at least annually from each of the credit bureaus. This comment leans mean toward my belief that you are just a hype to the creditkarma site

    • You are entitled to a free credit REPORT, you are not entitled to a free credit SCORE.

      You can also only get one report per year. By the way, I talk about your free annual credit report here.

      Folks, look around this website. There are 500 or more pages, and something like four of them are about Credit Karma. That’s either the most inefficient hype job ever, or maybe I’m just a guy with a personal finance advice blog trying to help.

      • C Rodriguez says:

        I have been using Credit Karma for a couple of years now with NO issues. The site probably stays in business because advertisers buy space on certain sites like Credit Karma that get frequent visits. Credit Karma receives enormous amount of traffic. There are many credit card advertisements as you can see. Also, auto loan lenders, banks, etc.. on Credit Karma. They pay for space, the makers of Credit Karma turn a profit, it stays on. Very simple really. Its an advertising site that keeps people coming back to check scores and update their information. Brilliant really, the way this was done. They picked the perfect genre to facilitate traffic on for advertising purposes. It is a legit advertising site that happens to operate a legit credit score site. They make far more money from these big companies to advertise than they ever would by charging customers to view credit scores. Think about it!

  64. [...] a reader left a comment on my review of Credit Karma basically calling me a fool for leasing a car. This seemed odd. Leasing does have a lot of moving [...]

  65. agenor says:

    I have had CK for over 2 years now and my experience with them have been very positive.they track all my new loans,credit cards and credit inquiries and notify about them asap thru email..don’t know about the fako score thing but I’m just happy bcuz somebody is keeping an eye on my accounts for free.

  66. pam Larson says:

    They wanted my credit card number and I gave it and now I am scared they will bill me. this is really scaring me.

    • Pam,
      If you gave your card number to creditkarma.com (and you got the spelling right) then you either, signed up for a free trial offer, or you signed up for the account management service. If you signed up for a free trial, my advice is to cancel it right away. Free trial offers bank on you forgetting or being late to cancel. If you signed up for the management/monitoring service, then you just linked your account. You could unlink it if you chose.

      If you gave your number to another website, including creditcarma.com or kreditkarma.com (notices the mispellings) then you need to watch your card carefully for charges because these are not legit websites and likely will charge you. Try and cancel if you can and dispute any charges immediately with your credit card company.

  67. Max Wells says:

    Never give your SSN out over the internet period! Is your computer protected with a firewall? Anti Virus? Using a router? Is it secure and safe?

    I read that cyber thieves actually drive up many street may even yours looking for unsecured routers then trying to steal your credit card numbers if you use them online.

  68. [...] Also, check out this review of Credit Karma [...]

  69. [...] links counted, so I can link here to this freelance writing blog,  as well as to something like my Credit Karma review on my personal finance website. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t like these are high value [...]

  70. Jose says:

    I’ve used CK for 2 years now and have seen the effects of getting new credit and paying off credit has changed my credit score.i have experienced no issues with it. All sites have ads. At least the ads are relevant. CL is a great way to get a feel of the status of your current credit monthly. Anything suspicious showing up would alert you sooner than waiting annually for your full free credit reports.

  71. D.Davenport says:

    All the advertisements states nocredit card needed but you still need one just to see the report that is false advertising to me.

  72. […] out my review of Credit Karma […]

  73. […] RT @arcticllama There is a great new post at FinanceGourmet about free online credit scores. […]

  74. Paul says:

    Don’t believe the Credit Karma scores. The above comments say it is based on Trans Union, but that isn’t even true. Credit Karma says my score is 771. I just refinanced my house and my actual scores were 813, 819 & 820. Credit Karma is a joke and should not be relied upon.

  75. shirley says:

    i tried to get free credit score like advertized on tv no credit card no charge i found it impossible for one or the other it was a waste of time i knew it couldnt be real

  76. […] out my review of Credit Karma […]

  77. […] out my review of Credit Karma […]

  78. Sam says:

    I’ve been a user of Credit Karma since 2007 and have never had any problems with them whatsoever as far as accuracy or anything. In 2010, my husband and I bought our first home and I was thankful that Credit Karma was there for me to help monitor our credit during the process. Fortunately our middle score happened to be the Transunion score which was (within a few points) extremely close to what our lender was going by. I’ve always stayed on top of my credit on a regular basis and Credit Karma has been and will continue to be a key player right along side of me.

  79. Nevets says:

    Sears MasterCard through Citibank used to offer a free monthly credit score as a service to their cardholder’s. When they discontinued that service they made arrangements with Credit Karma so any of their cardholders who wanted to continue receiving a free monthly credit score could simply transfer over to Credit Karma.
    Neither Sears nor Citibank are run of the mill, fly by night outfits. I think they would have done a great deal of research into Credit Karma before offering this as an option to their customers.
    Can you imagine the backlash if Sears and Citibank customers who opted to continue with Credit Karma were all of a sudden being ripped off? Good Lord! your talking about a MAJOR class action lawsuit for millions against both Sears and Citibank not to mention the loss in their customer base.
    I’m one of those with a Sears MasterCard that opted to continue receiving a free monthly credit score through Credit Karma. I’ve had no problems nor do I expect too.
    If you’ve never been to their website, it’s a lot more than just a credit score. You can sign up for alerts so you know when somebody requests a hardcopy of your credit report and who it is, what areas of your report are your weakest and which ones are your strongest. I like their credit report card that gives you a grade (A,B,C,D,F) in each of these areas and lets you know why so you can work on improving or maintaining that grade. There’s a lot more too.
    They make their money from all of the advertising and if you’ve been with them for any lengthy period of time you can see how they’ve grown and the influx of mainly financial related services and advertisement’s on their website. That’s how they can offer it as a free service to people such as you or I.

  80. Deb says:

    I have used creditkarma for about 2 years with no problems. I used to get email alerts to check my score. The alerts stoped this year, however, I was still able to access my account.
    For some reason, this week I have not be able to access the site at all. The error message is “Internet Explore cannot display the webpage.” I am concerned since there is some personal information in their database.

  81. marvin baumhor says:

    I signed up for karma.my score came up fine. big surprise that itdid work.now the problem I have is thati can not get karma on my site any more.i think they have closed down.does any one been having this problem. please email me I see the reply from deb is having the same problem.have been trying for 2 weeks.

  82. JD_in_FL says:

    I’ve been using Credit Karma since 2008, and they update my score every week. It gives me a good snapshot of my use and helps me try to improve my score. It does not replace a credit report that I have to pay for and still get my reports once a year for free from the annual site. I don’t think Credit Karma will be eliminated because it doesn’t give you the entire picture. For example, they will tell you how many enquiries you have, but not who. You still have to obtain a credit report to get the full details. Also, I have obtained two credit cards from their recommendations, one of which is a Barclays rewards card with no annual fees. I’m sure that in addition to their advertizing, they make something off of recommending credit cards and enough to pay the overhead, or they wouldn’t still be in business after all of these years.

  83. hugh moring says:

    I am very angry because I can’t find a toll free number to call so I can talk to a live person to discuss issues I’ve been having regarding an account I have with credit karma.It has been nothing but headaches since I signed up!! tex

  84. mike says:

    about 2 weeks ago i tried creditkarma because they are on tv a lot. i checked a box for 1.00 as a donation or something. i did not see the small print-when i saw the fee would be 29.95 i stopped filling it out. today i found out why my account was charged 1.00 and 29.95—the small print said if i do not cancel the form (i thought i had) in 7 days you will automatically be charged 29.95 and this will occur every month. i will call the number on the screen that i saw (in texas i believe) to cancel this scam. i doubt if i will get the monthly fee back but i won’t get charged next month. the real bad part of this is that i didn’t even get my ‘scores’. i guess it was because i never finished the form. if any thing above is rescinded or taken care of (i doubt it) i will gladly come back with an explanation.

  85. Confused80 says:

    I’m so very confused. Credit karma shows my score going up, my credit card shows my score going down, pulled all three scores from the agencies, and applied for a store card just to see…….the agencies, ck, and my cc are all within a 10 point difference, however the card I applied for states my score is over 200 points less than all of the others! How is this possible? I did this all on the same day. I am so very confused. I made bad choices when I was younger and all I want to do is clean up my past mess and but a house and it seems like that’ll never happen! I would just like to understand what I have to do to get an accurate score so I can build mineback up. Any suggestions out there?

  86. […] report once per year for free, consider using the free credit monitoring offered by companies like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. They send you an email if anything negative appears on your credit report, […]

  87. I would like to know why they asked for my social security # and my credit card to charge for a $1.00

    • Finance Gourmet says:

      They need your SSN to pull your credit report. You may have signed up for additional services if you entered a credit card number. The $1 charge verifies your account is active. If you don’t want to be paying monthly, I’d cancel immediately.

      • lori says:

        This site is a bunch of bull…they wont give u the report unless you pay and after they have your information you cant erase it which sucks…I feel there a scam and there commercial is a lie…they say FREEE IT SHOULD BE FREE……………..how can I go about reporting them ? I would like my fico score but cant find out how to get from the real credit reports without having to pay…is there a way to get without paying?

        • Finance Gourmet says:

          Lori,
          Yes there is a way to get a free credit report without paying, just not through Credit Karma. Get your free credit report via the legally mandated website where you can get a free report once per year from each of the three credit bureaus. Credit Karma offers you a free credit SCORE not report.

          • Pat G says:

            Lori, they asked for my credit card also. But the $1 was never taken out of my account. It is for legitamacy of information. But no quality lender uses these bozos that Credit Karma represents. They are very inaccurate with their scores and in my case were off by over 150 points low in comparison to all the others.

  88. Theodore Hoffman says:

    I’m (not!) really looking forward to getting my free credit score. Thanks anyway, though.

  89. nikki says:

    I wanted to sign up for creditkarma about a year ago but this was before I had enough credit history for them to apparently “verify” my identity. So they want me to mail them two forms of i.d. to their p.o. box….. This is the only means of contacting them besides email and its not even a real address of a business, how can that make me feel secure or safe to send my personal information to them? I really think they need to work on their business in that sense, maybe a call center so we can feel like we’re dealing with real people with a real business. When I emailed them asking if they could maybe reset my information so that I could re-register or something, they said that if they cancelled my account, re-registering is not an option, you get one try. I am very familiar with how easy it is and how common identity theft is and feel like creditkarma doesn’t cater to that, I’m hoping they stumble upon this at some point and maybe make it so that I can eventually use their service.

  90. Jannie Bronson says:

    After filling in the required information, I WAS asked for a credit card and could not go past that without one. They said it was a refundable $1.00 fee, but that’s still asking for a credit card. Don’t know why everyone else states they didn’t need a credit card and I did.

  91. J. Whte says:

    How can you say free when your company ask for a dollar to get your score. Now in my days free meant that free. No hidden cost until you get to the end of filling out your form. I am sorry for you the joke is on you. Most people will say no way, that is how i feel no way

  92. Chicken Farmer says:

    Wow. Lots of haters on here. I signed up with Credit Karma last summer and was never asked for a credit card #. I kinda figured it was bs since it was free but have since found out it’s the real deal. In October I decided to start repairing and rebuilding my credit and got a membership to the Transunion credit monitoring site. Then in January I went back to Credit Karma and the score matches my Transunion score. And of course it does because Transunion owns Credit Karma. Anyway, there is less info on Credit Karma than on my actual report but there is enough for me to get started and to at least monitor what is going on with my Transunion report. I meant to cancel my Transunion membership a few days ago so I didn’t get charged again and just use ck, but it slipped my mind and I was charged. One thing I like about ck is it shows your vantage score and insurance scores.

  93. William Hammons says:

    My experience with creditkarma was NOT a positive one.I filled out the online forms,and gave up my personal information,all the while feeling nervous;wondering if it was a scam.I found out rather quickly.I was told I had a “thin profile” (WTF?)and would not receive a report.To add to the fun,On the same webpage as the refusal,There were several “offers” ,some for credit cards,and the suggestion that if I were to apply for them,creditkarma would then be able to provide a credit report.I have attempted to unsubscribe,and asked to be removed from creditkarma’s mailing lists,AND those of their “partners”.I have also demanded that creditkarma delete ALL of my personal information.Complaints have been filed with the FTC,and FWIW the BBB.WE’LL SEE.

  94. Pat G says:

    No wonder no major companies use Trans Union. They are far from any quality company. I decreased my credit card usage on 2 cards with a limit on $2500 to under $800. My score increased by 22 points. I purchased $30 in gas on one of them and two days later my score dropped 30 points. No lender in our area uses them and this is exactly why. They show my score at 605 and Experian at 710 and Equifax at 740. Bought a new car a 0 interest yesterday but they used Equifax. The purchase of the car hasn’t hit Transunion/Credit Karma yet but it will put the score under 500 with poor dynamics.

    • Finance Gourmet says:

      I’d be interested to know where you got the information that no major companies use TransUnion. My understanding is that all three major credit bureaus do plenty of business, so it would be interesting if one were truly considered the “side player.”

  95. don says:

    My experience with Credit Karma has been positive for the most part. I have never been asked for money, and no charges have been made to any of my credit cards. I have been using CK for more than a year, and I check fairly regularly to see what they have for my credit score. They did not include one of my credit cards since it was not in the same name as the rest.

    The main reason I have anything negative to say is that the score does not reflect my actual credit history ON TIME. It may take a month or two before payments on a bank loan are reflected. A couple of months ago my total credit card debt decreased while my credit score dropped 4 points. It should have increased.

    Buying a car through a ‘major’ dealer a year ago dropped my score 4 points, but that is to be expected with a ‘hard’ inquiry. I have never had anything negative on any of my credit reports, so I would expect a higher score – above 800.

  96. Wes Kelley says:

    Regarding Credit Karma/FICO scores vs auto dealer credit scores, dealerships obtain a modified credit score by taking the basic FICO score and then “overlaying” the applicant’s payment history on auto loans, which makes sense. Why should a car dealer care if you make your mortgage payments on time if you are continuously delinquent on your car payments? My wife learned this lesson when she went to lease a car, having only paid cash for her cars in the past. Her generic FICO score dropped 20 points, although she still ended up with top tier credit

  97. Thomas says:

    It has occurred to me (probably others) that the details of HOW and WHY the credit reporting agencies ARRIVE at their numbers would be a great subject to enlighten all of us about. It would clear up a LoT of misconceptions about how our financial system works, and how to navigate our way through it. It also would make clear WHO’s interests the credit reporting agencies represent…the SUBJECTS of the information reported not being, I’m sure, at the top of the list. Again, some of the cooler heads online with lots of practical (inside) experience could shed some light on this scene to the benefit of at least 80% of us who intend to IMPROVE the circumstances of others, as well as ourselves. The other 20%..well….they are interested in themselves mostly. Thanks.

  98. Amy Porath says:

    Thanks for all the comments. We are going to check it out!

  99. Danys187 says:

    Credit Karma is a scam just like the rest. THEY advertise as a FREE service & NO credit card needed. THAT’s a LIE from the start. IF it wasn’t them why is it people can’t just send in a money order for a dollar? Oh ya that’s right, they need your Credit Card #, the one THEY said they don’t ask you for. EXACTLY. So Mr. Finance Gourmet, stop lying to people bc YOU DO WORK FOR THEM. Thus you respond to everyone’s post. Otherwise, you would allow people to have their own opinion on them. BOOM! That just happened!!

    • Finance Gourmet says:

      I could just hit delete on your comment, then nothing would have happened, but I’m willing to have a civil discourse with readers.

      Once again for the cheap seats, I make some money from Google Ads on all my websites (not just this one). That’s it. Nobody else pays me anything to do any work for anyone. Also, if you look around, you’ll see that this website has hundreds of articles and only a handful are about Credit Karma. If it was some scam, it wouldn’t be a very efficient one.

      If you get asked for a credit card number, I suggest you close that tab in your browser immediately and do not enter it because you might be on the wrong website.

  100. torivia ryan says:

    I’ve paid a lot of dept off & stilling paying on dept I show proof of information & still does not change credit score.& company’s say they can’t change anything . Until they hear from companies them self. No use try too send copies of money orders , checks with letters from company saying I paid..they still don’t change anything very discurging not happy with outcome..can’t get this cleared no matter what I do ? So I just give up..

    • Finance Gourmet says:

      Financial institutions and other creditors update credit bureaus on a regular basis, but typically not more than once per month. I’m not sure how long it has been since you paid some of your debts, but that could be part of it. If not, be sure to file disputes about inaccurate information in your credit reports.

  101. linda says:

    I just tried printing what I thought was ONE page and ended up with 30+ pages.Not too happy about that since most of the info was useless to me!No warning about how many pages to print either or I would have left the site. It did give me a decenct page but almost all the rest were not!

  102. weebree says:

    Credit karma is a scam! They looked up my credit score, but I had to pay a dollar to see it. You Don’t have to give them your credit card #, but you do have to give them your social security # and email daddy. They turn the info over to another company who will use it, and you get charged $35 a month,unless you cancel in two weeks. The problem is that you don’t know about this untill you find a month later that $35 has been taken out of your checking account. Don’t make the same mistake I did, don’t go to credit karma.

  103. phillip says:

    there are no scams on credit karma
    because when I singed up I did not have to enter a credit card
    you are all fill of it

  104. jesse says:

    this thing about it being free!!! No its a joke and a waste of time.I didn’t get my score cause one thing didn’t match.It has my ss#.that’s right aint nothing free in this world.

  105. Joseph says:

    Funny how you signed up with a “Fake” email but never did so mention how they sell your info to marketing companies to send you junk mail physically and electronically. They make a profit selling your personal info.

  106. Cheryl Beac says:

    I tried credit karma the morning believing it to be free. They wanted my credit card and it was only “free”for 7 days. A bunch of crock as my dad would have said.

  107. Jim says:

    I have excellent credit, so why I signed up for Credit Karma I have NO IDEA! I was just curious……

    Any way, I went back to credit karma to cancel my account and I had forgotten to write down the pw I made, and of course, I couldn’t remember it. I filled out the form to send me an e-mail to reset my pw, but DID NOT get a reply e-mail! I have tried NUMEROUS times, but they WILL NOT SEND AN E-MAIL! They ask me to create a new account, sure…. then they want all my info, name, FULL SS# and the like…… I am holding my breath to see if they charge me, even tho I gave no CC # I did give them the last 4 #’s of my Social the first time I signed up…..

    Can You Spell M O R O N ?

  108. Nan says:

    According to the BBB there is a goverment action against credit karma for security reasons. This I saw as of 6-7-2014. In the BBB website it explains the law suit.

  109. Kim says:

    My ex-husband’s wife used my social security number to gain access to my life. The questions are too easy for someone to get in. Credit Karma has been kicking me to the curb for trying to access someone else’s account even though I gave them all the information they need including the name of the person who stole it!!! She actually used her last name as the email address to get in. CK still won’t listen. Forget trying to call them. You have no chance of speaking to anyone. It’s a pre-recorded message telling you to email them.

  110. Ernest Ferrara says:

    I have tried several times to sign up with your company and was not able to complete the sign up. After giving you my information which you will use to your benefit. You people are just another SCAM.

  111. John says:

    “I can’t say that I expect Credit Karma to be in business long. I doubt that it can earn enough money on what it is doing to make a profit. It might even get shut down by Fair Issac somehow since they don’t want people thinking of its flagship product as “free”.”

    hahaha…WELL… CREDITKARMA USES TU’S VANTAGE SCORE. SO, FICO DOESN’T HAVE ANY RIGHT TO SHUT THEM DOWN. ALSO, CK IS A LEAD GEN COMPANY. THEY MAKE MONEY FROM USERS APPLYING FOR CREDIT CARDS, AUTO LOANS, ETC WITHIN THEIR WEBSITE.

    YOU GIVE THEM INFORMATION, THEY OFFER YOU, IE, CREDIT CARDS, YOU GET APPROVED AND CK GETS A COMMISSION OF 60 TO 100 DOLLARS FROM CREDIT CARD COMPANIES; IMAGINE THAT TIMES MILLIONS OF PEOPLE APPLYING. (I haven’t read all of the comments, so I apologize if this is a repeat)

    • Not sure what the all caps is about, but, you are correct. They show ads, and get commissions and payouts for things you click on. I think I made that relatively clear in my original post. My thought was that they wouldn’t earn enough money doing that to make this effort worthwhile. Clearly Fair Issac can’t shut them down directly, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing they can try. It’s been almost two years since I first wrote this article, so I’ve been wrong about their longevity so far.

  112. Mary says:

    I had started through the process of signing up with Credit Karma, but got nervous about giving them permission to pull and “monitor” my credit account (2nd page). I was willing to give permission for 1 soft inquiry, but didn’t want to give KarmaCredit ‘long-term’ permission to monitor my account.

    After pulling up the BBB report and reading some of those complaints — 190 complaints and a pending government action against Karma, I canceled my account with them.

  113. kenny says:

    they are a scam they scam you to buy from their affiliates

  114. Eva says:

    My daughter and I have the same name and birthdate, just the year is different and she is having a hard time checking her credit. Is there a way she can start all over, new email and password??

    • I don’t have any affiliation with Credit Karma, but I’m betting that’s a tricky issue for you a lot when it comes to credit. However, that’s kind of the point of using the Social Security number which should be different. You might just want to verify her information. If, the issue is that some of your information seems to mix with her report, that is actually a problem with the credit reporting system, and not Credit Karma specifically. For example, my sister, whose name and birthday are different, has an old address listed as one of my old addresses on one of my reports. In that case, you’ll need to call the credit bureaus to have the info removed.

  115. Sandy says:

    Well, I don’t know what to do now. I got my score from CK, no credit card or charge yet? They offered me deals on paying off my cards after consolidating them. It sounds wonderful because I am killing myself trying top pay these off. I really want to try their cards but now I am leary. The last thing I need is a scam.
    I thought it all sounded legit and looked proper and now reading this it is yes and no. I have good credit and fight to keep it so I sure don’t want problems thinking they CK will be good for me. Can you help Finance Gourmet?

    • Sandy, it’s hard to know without getting all the specifics, but a lot of credit consolidation ends up really hurting your credit. To understand why, you have to realize that your credit depends upon you paying your account as agreed. With consolidation you do not do that. Instead the company handling your consolidation negotiates NEW TERMS with your lenders. While this keeps them from hassling you, or charging you late fees, or sending you to collections, it does not keep them from reporting your account as delinquent. If you consolidate eight accounts, then it’s very likely that 8 lenders will be reporting you as late. You can see that this destroys your credit score. It’s better than defaulting, but if you CAN make it work, without them, then do so. If it’s consolidation or bankruptcy, then that’s another story.

      • Sandy says:

        Thank you so much. I thought that might be the case when a person does that with their cards. I have no late payments so I think I will ask at my CU bank. Thank you so much for your help.

  116. Tony from Baltimore says:

    I use to like Credit Karma but for the last 3 months two of my credit cards balance have not been updated. Not sure if it’s Credit Karma or TransUnion. Thus I know my Credit Rating can not be correct.

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