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Credit Karma Review

Saturday, March 2nd

2024 Credit Monitoring Company Reviews

Credit Karma Review 1 Star Rating

Credit Karma

1 Star Rating
  • Free to use: no-cost access to credit scores, credit reports, ID monitoring
  • Monitors two credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax)
  • Can help with disputing credit report errors
  • Can be used on desktop or via app

Are you among those who find the intricate details shaping your credit score a bit bewildering? Fear not, because as soon as you land on Credit Karma's homepage, you're greeted with a step-by-step article explaining what credit monitoring is and why you'll benefit from it.

Packed with resources

As a partner of well-known financial company Intuit, Credit Karma positions itself as your advocate, focused on helping you achieve a healthier credit profile. The platform is packed with an array of resources to empower you in this endeavor, including tools like a credit score simulator, debt repayment calculator, loan calculator, insightful articles, community forums, and more.

All features here are free

Every service offered by Credit Karma comes at no charge, including credit monitoring. Setting up an account and inputting your personal details, including your social security number, is the initial step. Subsequently, they conduct a "soft pull" or inquiry that doesn't impact your overall credit score. Beyond just viewing your score, the platform keeps you in the loop with alerts and updates if any anomalies arise. This proves invaluable in detecting potential identity theft. Through Credit Karma's user-friendly interface, you can visualize your credit history's trajectory via graphs and benchmark your score against age, state, and income groups.

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Get recommendations for financial products

When it's time to make substantial financial decisions like purchasing a house, a car, or selecting a credit card, Credit Karma steps in to guide you. The platform offers tailored matches for products and services you might require. As you explore, you'll find candid reviews from fellow customers about the recommended companies and products. It's noteworthy that these reviews run the gamut from blistering critiques of a specific credit card, insurance provider, or loan company, to glowing endorsements. These firsthand experiences offer unfiltered insights that empower you to make well-informed choices that suit your needs.

You're the product here

How is Credit Karma able to give you all of this for free? It's the right question to ask, because it leads into why this credit monitoring service has taken a nosedive in our rankings since our last review. The answer is that Credit Karma will give you access to your credit scores, sourced from Equifax and TransUnion (but not Experian, by the way), and in return, offer recommendations that can save you money by analyzing your financial data. Should you choose to act on these suggestions and opt for a product, the lender compensates Credit Karma. Essentially, they leverage your personal information to tailor advertisements to your needs.

Reputation has tanked with the BBB

And that's where the problem comes in. We were almost horrified to see that Credit Karma's rating from the Better Business Bureau had dropped from a perfectly-respectable "A" all the way down to a "D+" , with over 2,200 complaints filed in the last three years (and nearly 900 in the most recent 12 months alone). An alert on the BBB listing details how Credit Karma settled in a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, accusing the company of sending pre-approval notices for third-party financial products (like credit cards) to customers that Credit Karma already knew wouldn't qualify. That resulted in "hard pull" inquiries being made, which damaged the consumers' credit reports. It's not a good look when the service you're entrusting with monitoring your credit is the one bringing it down.

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Customers are very unhappy

Even without the misleading offers (which you can always ignore and avoid the problem entirely), users of Credit Karma are not happy these days. Looking at extremely recent feedback on Trustpilot (left within a few days of our evaluation), people say that their CK scores are much lower than what's reported through other channels (like bank accounts or from the credit bureaus themselves), it's hard to get help from the company's support reps, and that the system as a whole uses outdated information to provide "insights" on users' credit profiles. Two-thirds of the people who left a rating for Credit Karma on Trustpilot gave it a sad 1- or 2-star score, averaging a disappointing 1.5 stars overall.

Choose a different credit monitoring service

First to worst? That's about the only "honor" we can give Credit Karma now. Getting credit monitoring at no cost sounds amazing, until you realize that there are plenty of rival services that can do that for you too - and without trying to trick you into applying for a credit card or other financial product that will only wind up benefiting Credit Karma. You'll get much more for your time with one of the higher-ranking credit monitoring options on our list.

Who Offers the Best Credit Monitoring Service?

In today's interconnected digital world, maintaining a strong credit profile is essential. That's where credit monitoring services come into play - valuable tools to safeguard your financial well-being and keep you informed about your credit health. These services provide continuous oversight of your credit report and alert you to any significant changes.

Credit monitoring lets you to detect and respond swiftly to potential threats like identity theft, fraud, or errors on your credit reports. They do this by sending you alerts via email or text whenever there are significant changes in your credit report. They offer ongoing monitoring of your credit reports from major credit bureaus, allowing you to stay vigilant without manual effort. Moreover, many credit monitoring services provide educational resources and tips for improving your credit scores and managing debt.

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Credit Monitoring Company FAQ

Credit monitoring keeps an eye on financial transactions associated with your credit use: your buying behavior, changes in your credit score, and so on. When potential fraud is detected, a credit monitoring service notifies you quickly so that you can put a stop to any unauthorized use of your information or money.
Unless you have the time and energy to keep an eagle-eye watch over all of your accounts, credit monitoring is a must in this age of phishing scams, spam phone calls, and data breaches. Having a credit monitoring service in place can shut down fraudsters early on, before any serious damage is done to your credit history (or your bank balance!).
It's important to point out that credit monitoring doesn't prevent fraud. It can only give you tools to try and protect yourself, while letting you know right away if anything suspicious is detected. Credit monitoring won't stop your credit card from being skimmed, keep your data protected if there's a breach somewhere, or prevent an identity theft from applying for credit in your name.
Both types of score represent different models used to predict how likely it is that any given consumer will be at least 90 days behind on a bill sometime in the next two years. Because they give different weights to the various components in their calculations, the scores they return can be different for the same individual. For example, to get a FICO score, you need to have at least one credit account that's six months "old" or more, but a VantageScore only requires you to have one active account (even if it's not six months "old" ).
Many services are offered at no charge. Yes, you read that correctly: you can get a certain level of credit monitoring for absolutely no fees. However, if you're looking for the most comprehensive services, you can expect monthly fees ranging from $12 to $35.
It's definitely worth considering. Because most minors don't have extremely active credit accounts (car loans, credit cards, and so on), fraud can go undetected for a very long time. Without credit monitoring, your child could go to apply for a college loan or their first credit card and find out that someone has been using their name to open accounts for years!
Be sure to check out what other customers have said about the service. Also, look for a listing with the Better Business Bureau, to give yourself that added assurance that the credit monitoring service you're considering is reputable.
While your credit card company probably does alert you if fraud is detected, it's not designed to be comprehensive: they don't keep an eye on your bank account or any use of your Social Security number to open accounts. Your bank may provide your credit score when you sign into your account, but they don't flag most transactions. Unless you're going to play an active role in monitoring your credit, it's worth it to pay for a service to track it all for you. Plus, many credit monitoring services will help you restore your identity if it's compromised while you're a subscriber.
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Continued from above...

In the unfortunate event of identity theft, reputable credit monitoring services often offer assistance in resolving issues and restoring your credit, providing you with valuable support and guidance during a challenging time. It's important to note that credit monitoring primarily focuses on credit-related activities and may not detect all forms of identity theft or fraud, such as medical or criminal identity theft.

Additionally, you may receive alerts for legitimate actions, which could lead to unnecessary concern or alert fatigue. And, it's crucial to understand that credit monitoring services can't prevent or stop fraudulent activities; they can only provide information and alerts, underscoring the importance of your own proactive vigilance in protecting your financial well-being.

Now that you understand what credit monitoring can (and can't) do for you, how do you choose which option is right for you? There are a lot of similarities among providers of this service, and it can get frustrating trying to sort out the minute differences that could impact your decision.

Consider these factors that might illuminate those differences and make it clearer which one you should choose:

  • Cost. Evaluate the pricing structure, including monthly or annual fees, to determine if it offers a good value for what you'll be paying. Don't shy away from free credit monitoring options, either.
  • Features. Consider the range of features offered, such as credit report monitoring, credit score tracking, identity theft protection, and fraud resolution support. Check which credit bureaus' reports are monitored, as coverage can vary among different services (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or even FICO).
  • Reputation. Research the service provider's reputation, read user reviews, and assess their track record in delivering reliable alerts and assistance.
  • Alert system. Assess the speed and effectiveness of the alert system in notifying you about changes in your credit reports.
  • Customer support. Look for responsive customer support options, especially for resolving issues related to false alarms or identity theft incidents.
  • Educational resources. Some of the best credit monitoring services go the extra mile to help you understand credit reports, scores, and financial management.
  • Mobile app. If applicable, evaluate the user-friendliness and functionality of the mobile app for convenient access to credit information.

Credit monitoring services offer you valuable tools to protect your financial well-being and maintain a healthy credit profile, and Top Consumer Reviews has done the legwork to make it easy to compare today's most popular providers. We're confident that this information will empower you to take control of your financial life and stay on top of your credit profile.

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