In the wake of data breaches that seem to be happening all the time, credit monitoring services have become extremely popular. Credit monitoring can also help you to keep track of your credit score to work towards pulling yourself out of debt or repairing damaged credit.
However, trying to decide what service fits your exact needs can be a challenge. So, here we’ll compare three of the most popular; Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and CreditWise.
Whether you just want to see your credit score quickly or whether you are looking for on-going credit monitoring for free, all three have something to offer.
Credit Karma Overview
Credit Karma is designed to offer credit scores and tools to help you better manage your money. It is an excellent tool to better understand your credit report and score. While the service is free, you will need to be prepared for ads, which is how Credit Karma makes its money.
Credit Karma can be used to track your credit score as it updates monthly, showing the factors that help or hurt your credit score. It provides you with detailed information on your credit report in one place. The website also allows you to benefit from credit card guidance, savings account advice, and other financial resources. However, unlike other credit report sites, there are two differences with Credit Karma; there is no monthly trial membership, it is totally free, and you are given a credit report card. This report outlines your credit report categories based on Equifax and TransUnion data.
Credit Karma offers far more than just a credit score. You will see your TransUnion credit score, your Equifax credit score, credit factors, and credit reports. Credit Karma also allows you to connect your credit cards and bank accounts to track your spending and plan your budget.
Credit Karma also features a credit score simulator tool that helps you to understand how events affect your credit score. For example, you can check how applying for a new credit card will impact your score. This can be handy if you have plans to refinance or apply for another type of loan. You can also search for unclaimed money that may belong to you. You can search by state to conduct your online search.
Using Credit Karma
After you log into your Credit Karma account, you will be directed to the personal dashboard that shows an immediate credit summary. This does not provide you with your official FICO score, but does provide scores from Equifax and TransUnion. This will provide you with a good idea of your true FICO score. You can also see differences between the data each bureau receives.
You will also see the factors that affect your credit score, including inquiries, credit use, reported delinquencies, and collections. This will allow you to check for any discrepancies and report them.
There are additional dashboard tabs; there are sections and features with lots of information on savings, loans, credit, and other financial topics.
Credit Karma Pros:
- Credit Karma is totally free
- Easy to use dashboard
Credit Karma Cons
- No FICO score
- Uses ads
Credit Sesame Overview
Credit Sesame focuses on consumer lending and credit, helping their customers to learn more about managing their own credit. When you sign up with Credit Sesame, you have access to a variety of services, including a monthly credit score. This provides you with an idea of your current credit score, and the factors that impact it, so you can check back to see how any changes you make impact your score. Credit Sesame also has an app that allows you to check your credit score on the go.
Credit Sesame will also provide recommendations for different credit-related products, such as credit cards. The system analyzes your financial habits to determine the products that will work well for you. Companies use Credit Sesame to showcase their services and products, and they can be targeted to customers who have the appropriate credit score and financial habits.
There is a recommendations page that breaks down credit cards into categories based on your perceived needs. This may include cashback credit cards or ones offering zero percent interest introductory periods.
The recommendations feature a quick breakdown of each card, explaining the interest rate, fees, and any promotions. Any cards that Credit Sesame thinks that you have a good chance for qualifying will be highlighted. This will help you to find new cards that fit with your habits. You can save time and potential credit score points by avoiding the cards that you won’t qualify for and concentrate on the cards that you have the best chance of getting.
Credit Sesame will also recommend other types of products to match you to lenders, including personal lenders, mortgage lenders, and auto lenders. You can even get guidance on the banks that offer the best interest rates, creating a one-stop shop for your credit-related questions.
You can also upgrade from the basic, free membership, to one of three levels of premium service. Advanced Credit allows daily credit monitoring, and you can check your credit report at all the credit bureaus. Pro Credit provides access to a live expert if you have any queries, while Platinum Protection provides Social Security number monitoring and other services to help identify theft, such as monitoring black market websites and public records.
Using Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is easy to use with a dashboard to help navigate your account, recommendations, and premium services. All you need to get started is an email address and to answer a short questionnaire. You’ll also be asked some multiple-choice questions to confirm your identity. This is to ensure that you’re not trying to get information on someone else’s credit report. Once you’ve confirmed everything, you will be prompted to create your password and directed to the account dashboard.
The dashboard is where you will see your credit score information. You will see a numerical score on the top of the screen, between 300 and 850. Your credit report will be broken down into your credit usage, payment history, account mix, credit age, and credit inquiries. You can click on each of these areas to check the factors that influence your rating. This can help you to check that all the details of your credit report are accurate. If an incorrect entry shows up or you see someone else’s account, you will know to contact the relevant company or credit bureau.
Credit Sesame Pros:
- One dashboard allow