Get your free credit score from Credit Karma
Credit Karma offers free credit scores to consumers with no strings attached. It is a truly free service: There's nothing to cancel and they don't ask for your credit card number.
The sign up process is painless. I was able to receive my free score in less than two minutes:
As you can see from the screenshot above, the only "catch" is that under your free credit score report, Credit Karma will show you offers from various companies like Road Runner, Upromise, and Discover. You can organize the offers based on ratings from other Credit Karma users (think of it as a Digg for financial product offers). According to USA Today:
Credit Karma provides you with special offers based on your credit score. For example, you can get a lower interest rate on credit cards. You may also apply for offers from cable companies and other businesses.
There are no annoying pop-up ads and Credit Karma claims it will not sell your information to anyone. The ads are not a bad trade for a free credit score. In comparison, FICO's official credit score monitoring service costs $89.95.
If you're not familiar with how credit scores work, the raw numbers might not be very helpful. This is where Credit Karma's comparison charts come in handy:
You can check your credit score for free as many times as you want. Credit Karma will keep track of your scores over time, which can help you identify overall trends in your credit score:
What information do I have to provide?
You have to verify your identity by providing your address, phone number, and social security number.
"We understand that this may make some people uneasy, so we have taken steps to protect your identity by encrypting your SSN and never displaying that information on any part of our site." Credit Karma's FAQ
Is it safe?
"Credit Karma is committed to your safety. We follow the latest security precautions to protect your identity and your data. In fact we went a little bit over the top in an attempt to do everything possible to prevent unauthorized access to your information. Our site is registered with VeriSign and Hackersafe. Our office is protected by a 30lb beagle." Credit Karma's FAQ
Does checking my score negatively affect my credit?
"No. Credit Karma is making the credit score request on your behalf. Inquires made on your behalf will not be shown to creditors and will not affect your credit score." Credit Karma's FAQ
How can this be free? Are they going to sell you anything?
Credit Karma is ad-supported:
"Our business model relies on giving consumers good offers through our advertisers. We need to provide them with relevant, real and compelling pricing offers. There is no tension in this model because we take our pro-consumer bent seriously. We do not accept advertising or work with companies that take advantage of consumers. You will never see ads from payday lending companies or others who perpetuate debt and poor credit." Intuitive interview with Credit Karma's CEO.
Is this my FICO score?
"This San Francisco-based startup, with backing from Prosper's Chris Larsen, is delivering an actual credit score computed by TransUnion, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus." Net Banker
Can I trust the people behind Credit Karma?
Kenneth Lin, the CEO and founder of Credit Karma, has worked for credit card companies and led marketing teams at Upromise and E-Loan. We interviewed Kenneth earlier this year about his vision for Credit Karma:
Are there other ways to get free credit scores?
- E-Loan: Experian score. Scroll down to "One-Time Credit Snapshots" and "Free Credit Score (Credit Score Only)"
- Prosper: Experian score. Information on how to do it here.
- LendingClub: Gives you a letter grade score, which you can use this chart to translate to a numerical score.
Of course, you can always get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com.
More information about Credit Karma and credit scores: