By Kevin Mercadante
CreditKarma.com has been around since 2007 and is already building one of the most respected names for themselves in the entire industry. The entire service is actually 100 percent free, so they are aptly named. What you do today will, of course, have an effect on your tomorrow. This company is advertiser supported, so you will have access to your credit reports, scores, and a number of excellent and helpful tools for free...forever (or at least as long as the advertisers stay put). Everything is here in one place from interactive tracking tools to credit simulators and optimizers.
The main feature offered through CreditKarma is the fact that you will receive free access to your credit reports and scores. Unlike those other companies that calculate a score ‘based’ on your info, this is the real deal. No credit card is required and you have complete access, so return as often as you like. There is also 24/7 monitoring with daily alerts. Of course, since the program is advertising supported, they will show you targeted ads for additional products and services that are in line with your specific credit situation. This way you can find the best saving options for services ranging from credit cards to loans and more. The credit report card feature analyzes a number of factors that affect your score including card utilization, percent of on-time payments, average of open lines, total accounts, total debt, debt to income ratio, and more.
Additional features include the credit simulator and a unique credit score comparison. The simulator features 14 different attributes that can be simulated to see how changes will affect your scores and ratings. The credit score comparison ranks your situation against all other CreditKarma users. This can even be broken down by state, age group, etc
Despite this being a free service, there is still a comprehensive sign up process. Nevertheless, the three steps are very quick and easy to complete. The entire process should not take more than 1 minute. You will first need to complete some basic contact information which includes your email address, physical address, phone number, etc
Additionally, you will be required to provide your social security number since this is used to pull your information from the various credit bureaus. All of your personally identifiable information is hidden behind secure firewalls and is encrypted using 128-bit SSL encryption. Be sure to answer the confirmation questions.
Normally when buying a service the price is a big consideration. However, in this situation, the service is indeed truly free. You do not even need to supply a credit card. Due to this, the services offered by Credit Karma are incredibly price effective and should be used by everyone who is concerned about managing their credit. You should be aware, of course, that this service is supported by advertisers. Therefore, you will receive emails and possibly direct mail solicitations for products and services. They should be pretty targeted, however, so you may even find some things that will help to improve your overall credit situation.
From inside your CreditKarma account interface click on the help link for detailed customer service information. This includes a helpful frequently asked question section and a number of advice articles and pieces of information. If you need further help, feel free to send an email, which should be answered by a professional staff member in short order. There is no toll-free or live help available, but it is a free service after all.
This is one of the most effective and educational online credit monitoring and reporting systems available. You can instantly see your overall credit score along with many of the component factors such as card utilization percentage, on-time payments, age of history, total accounts, inquiries, and derogatory marks. Drill deeper into any of these categories for detailed explanations and education on how they affect your score and rating. Click on the tools section above to access even more of the features.
As free services go, CreditKarma is the best around. The ability to see scores and reports, combined with online monitoring and tons of helpful resources makes this not only useful but a great option for everyone.
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About Kevin Mercadante
Kevin Mercadante is a freelance professional personal finance blogger,