CreditKarma.com Offers Free Credit Scores and Monitoring

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You might see "free credit score offers" around the internet, but most of them require you to enter your credit card number for a trial subscription to a credit monitoring service. Forget to cancel your free trial and your credit card will get charged.

Kenneth Lin, founder and CEO of Credit Karma, believed you should have access to your credit score absolutely free, without a credit card or tricky subscription cancellations.

In March 2008, he made it happen.

CreditKarma.com's Free Credit Score and Credit Report

CreditKarma.com allows you to get a free credit score and credit report with absolutely no obligation. You don’t have to enter a credit card number or subscribe to a credit monitoring service. The credit score and credit report are absolutely free (the site makes money through advertisements). I've used it for several years and have never paid anything to view my credit.

If you’re new to Credit Karma, you can sign up to receive a free credit score in less than two minutes. After you’ve signed up, you can continue to view your credit report and credit score for free every day. Your credit score is refreshed daily and your credit report is refreshed weekly.

The one drawback to Credit Karma's free score is that it's not a FICO score, the one most widely used by lenders. Even though it’s not your FICO score, it gives you a picture of your credit standing based on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports.

The only thing that's missing is your Experian credit report (you view your Experian credit report and score for free through CreditSesame.com).

Since 2008, Credit Karma has expanded their services to include free daily credit monitoring, a VantageScore, and an Auto Insurance Score. All those services are free.

Credit Karma's Credit Score Simulator

A personalized simulator that tells you how certain actions will affect your credit score. Thinking about applying for a new credit card? Credit Karma will tell you how an additional inquiry will affect your credit score. Paying off a credit card balance? See how much your credit score ​will increase. The simulator will let you choose among the most popular actions with credit limits, payments, and public records to see if your credit score will go up or down.

A credit score comparison that lets you compare your credit score to other consumers in a similar demographic.

Credit Report Card

The Credit Report Card gives you a letter grade A-F in the following areas: Overall, Utilization, On-Time Payments, Average Age of Open Accounts, Total Accounts, Hard Inquiries, and Derogatory Marks. These grades can help you evaluate the areas, if any, that are hurting your credit score. If you're working to improve your credit score, you know exactly which area to focus on.

Other Credit Information

In addition to credit score information, you can also find details about your debt accounts, including the amount your balances increased or decreased since your last update. Credit Karma can also recommend the credit cards you're most likely to be approved for based on your credit standing. Other Credit Karma users who've applied for those credit cards list their credit scores and whether they were approved. That information gives you

Bottom Line

Since I started using Credit Karma in 2008, it has evolved from a website to check your credit score to a tool to help you improve your credit and assess your debt. It's free and the information is invaluable. There's no reason not to use Credit Karma. When you visit the site, make sure you've typed the URL correctly. Look for a lock next to the URL at the top of your browser and check to see that URL begins with "https://". The "s" is your sign that you're visiting a secure website.

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