Get Your Free Credit Score from Credit Karma

By Will Chen. Last updated 9 July 2014. 19 comments
Photo: 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.

credit karma score example

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 $14.95 a month.

credit rating

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.

cash flow

money spending

What information do I have to provide?

You have to verify your identity by providing your address, phone number, and social security number.

In order to verify your identity with TransUnion, Credit Karma requires standard personal information that anyone would need to access your credit report, including your address, date of birth, and social security number. Since they realize that providing such confidential information may make some people uneasy, they’ve put many security measures in place to ensure your safety.

Is it safe?

Yes. Credit Karma is committed to protecting your information. They have a variety of security precautions in place, including encryption, monitored servers, firewalls, read-only access, and more. More importantly, they won’t share your information without your explicit permission. You can learn more about their TRUSTe-certified privacy policy here.

Does checking my score negatively affect my credit?

Checking your score with Credit Karma won’t lower your score. Since they’re making the credit score request on your behalf, these inquiries aren’t shown to creditors and don’t affect your credit at all.

How can this be free? Are they going to sell you anything?

Credit Karma is ad-supported. However, they’re not the pop-up ads that you might be picturing. Instead, Credit Karma provides targeted offers they think might be helpful to you based on your current financial situation. You’re not obligated to take advantage of these offers to continue using Credit Karma, and can even opt-out of receiving email offers.

Is this my FICO score?

The scores Credit Karma provide are real scores straight from TransUnion. However, they are not FICO scores. Because you have so many different scores (there dozens of FICO scores alone!), the type of score, or even the number you get isn’t that important—what matters is the changes that you observe over time in a single score, and where that number puts you in relation to other consumers. You can learn more about the scores Credit Karma provides here.

Can I trust the people behind Credit Karma?

Yes. Credit Karma is an honest company whose mission is simply to provide financial information and tools to everyone free of charge. They’ve provided scores to millions of members and are continually growing and improving its service. They have an A rating from the BBB, are certified by TRUSTe, and have been featured on The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, and a multitude of other sites.

Are there other ways to get free credit scores?

Yes, here are some options:

More information about Credit Karma and credit scores:

Click here to sign up at Credit Karma now

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Linsey Knerl's picture

I'm game.  I just signed up for the 30-day free trial of the FICO credit monitoring so that I could see my score for free.  (But I'm secretly shaking that I may forget to cancel before the hefty $89 fee is imposed.)  This sounds like a much better deal.

BTW - are those your REAL scores in the screen shots?  You don't have to answer, I was just thinking that they were pretty nifty...   :)

Linsey

Guest's picture
Jen

I tried signing up for this morning and the process was simple and painless enough. Much better than giving more money to FICo, etc. I have a fraud alert placed on my account from an earlier incident so it wouldn't get my score for me. I plan on trying it out in a few months when I get the fraud alert removed.

Guest's picture
Guest

So far they have no way of reinstating access for those who previously had fraud alerts. Their FAQs seem to indicate otherwise but I was told that removal from their system was "permanent" once you placed a fraud alert (they claim to be coming up with a workaround but who knows when or if it will happen).

Guest's picture
Juggler314

So I've been using creditkarma for about 5 months now and while it's nice that it's free, it doesn't really seem to track either my FICO or regularly generated FAKO scores...

I check my actual fico's ever 3 months and it's never been that close to them (via myfico.com), I check fake fico scores every month with credit keeper, that also doesn't bear much of a resemblence to the credit karma score.

While the CK score does seem to move up and down along with my fico/fako it also seems to change way less often, I know for a fact my scores changed upwards at a certain point in time and the CK score did not change...weird...

Linsey Knerl's picture

I signed up from the FICO website and checked it against my Karma score.  The same.  Maybe Karma doesn't show "real time" but it has to be pretty close.

Guest's picture
brittster

Does anyone know of any sites that allow Canadians to similarly check their credit scores for free? I've had my eye out for quite some time, but to no avail unfortunately. :(

Guest's picture
Song

Thanks for the tip! My credit score is a lot better than I thought it would be considering I haven't had a credit card yet.

Guest's picture
sanshil

Under federal law you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You can visit http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com to order your free credit report.
There are other websites also, but most of the providers require sign up for the services like Identity theft protection, Credit monitor etc. Users must remember to cancel these services before the trial period ends.
You can also visit http://www.GetUrScore.com, this website provides the links to different providers of Free Credit Reports and Credit Scores and also gives the comparisons on offers from different providers.

Guest's picture
Guest

The free scores on the Washington Mutual credit card website are being discontinued. Effective March 2009, they will no longer be available.

Guest's picture
jonh

Thanks for the tip *^_^*

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Alexor_CA

Thank you for your sharing, This information is very helpful.

Guest's picture
wamucards

Wamucards has been discontinued and becoming CHASE. All customer have to moved to login on Chase website. My website will review this situation.

Guest's picture
Manderson

Thanks for sharing. It is useful for everybody.

Guest's picture
Janin

This content help me buy creditcard

Guest's picture
Jenny

My favorites are:
CreditKarma.com - free credit score based on TransUnion data
Quizzle.com - free credit score based on Experian data
MyFICO.com - free (if you cancel) FICO credit score

Using these three you can get a very good idea about your current credit standing.

Guest's picture
Donald

I just pulled the score from My Fico and got a 793. (I'm shopping for a loan) Credit Karma list my score as 791 wow impressive. Only two points off.

Guest's picture
BreAnn

I have been using Credit Karma for 2 years or so now. I live in Canada but like to be able to monitor my American accounts and debt for free. It has been nice to see my score go up to 788. The graphs are nice and the info it gives you on what open credit you have and how much debt you on each card is very good. It's a nice and easy to read credit report for those other 11 months between free credit reports.

Guest's picture
Deborah Murphy

I followed the link onto your site because I live in Ontario and was trying to sign up for Credit Karma for free. When I tried to sign up, I noticed there was not a Canadian option.

For many years I have been a member of Credit Alert, which charges $20/month. But $$ are a struggle for me and I was hoping to find an alternative...???

Guest's picture
Renzo

If you want access to your FICO score, you can get a Discover IT card or a walmart card. They both allow you to access your real FICO score, although they only update it once a month. It's totally free though!