What to Know About Credit Karma
Are you wondering how Credit Karma works? Credit Karma is a financial monitoring service that is free to use. It lets users keep track of their credit score and help improve it. But can you trust Credit Karma accuracy when it is free to use?
They help consumers better understand how their credit score is affected by their choices in their financial life and how to make improvements. But how accurate is Credit Karma, and should you use it? Lots of folks wonder about the answer to this question, and with good reason.
Let’s take a deep dive into Credit Karma’s accuracy and whether it would be a worthwhile service for you to use.
Is Credit Karma Accurate?
If you are unsure about Credit Karma accuracy, you shouldn’t worry too much. They use information from the credit bureaus to assess your financial situation. The scores you are given within Credit Karma come from two of the three main credit bureaus.
While this might not be the same information that a lender has access to, it should be pretty close most of the time. If the lender uses data from the other major bureau, there could be a large discrepancy. You should use this information as a general guide but realize that credit scoring will vary from where the data is coming from.
Regardless of this potential problem, Credit Karma will allow you to track the changes you make to improve your credit score. It will help you see what you need to do to gain a higher credit score, which is all-important when applying for a mortgage.
They can also alert you to changes in your score that can prevent you from being the victim of identity theft. While the information provided isn’t perfect, customers seem very happy with the service and frequently return to it.
Your credit score found within Credit Karma’s system is from information provided by Equifax and TransUnion. They use the VantageScore system that is a collaboration between the three major credit bureaus. Consumers can better understand this as it is more transparent.
Despite this, you can still expect your credit score to be at least a little different from the score used when applying to a lender. Maintaining a great credit score is a goal worth having as it impacts us in so many ways.
Credit Karma Compared to Your FICO Score
Since they use the VantageScore system, your number on their site naturally isn’t going to be identical to your FICO score. Their score comes from two of the three major bureaus, so any inaccuracy will likely be because of information the other bureau – Experian – has about you.
Comparing where you get credit scoring information from would-be akin to comparing real estate appraisals. No two appraisers are going to assign your home the same value. If you are worried about how Experian will affect your score, you can go directly to their site to get a report from them if you want.
You can do this once per year for free, and you can check to see if this differs by much from the score provided by Credit Karma.
Is Using Credit Karma a Good Idea?
Some people are put off using this service because of the information you need to provide. They will need information, including your social security number so that they can pinpoint you and your credit history. Without these details, you can’t see your financial history.
While providing a social security number to a lender will mean a hard inquiry on your credit report, this isn’t the case here. Since the service only gathers information and you aren’t trying to get a loan, using the service doesn’t harm your score.
There is a small downside to using the service, however. Since the service is free, you can expect to see some adverts for financial products. This helps to pay for the service provided, though it can be targeted towards your financial situation since they know a lot about you.
How Up To Date is Credit Karma?
The TransUnion information is updated once per week, so you can log in every week to check your progress. You can also look back at how your score has moved over the months. If you do log in weekly, you will be able to see any problems before they affect you directly and better understand the reasons why this has happened.
Also, you can be notified of changes to your credit score. They will send you an alert when something is reported to the credit bureaus, so you can make sure it is correct. If you don’t recognize it, it could be an indication of a problem.
Is Your Credit Score Important When Buying a Home?
When you apply to a lender for a mortgage, your credit score has a lot of importance. The amount of interest you have to pay and the ease in which you will be approved for a mortgage are affected by your credit score. When getting preapproved for a mortgage, with a better score, you will normally pay less for the loan. Lenders reward those with the best credit score with better terms and conditions on their loan products.
The service offered by Credit Karma can help you understand how to improve your score. With a better score, you will pay less each month and over the lifetime of the loan. This could save you thousands of dollars on your mortgage. If anyone wants to buy a home but has a few credit blemishes that need to be addressed, I would certainly recommend Credit Karma as a financial tool to help them get on track!
Comparing Credit Karma to Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is another financial monitoring service. Though with Sesame, they only have data from one credit bureau, so they probably aren’t going to have Credit Karma’s accuracy.
There are other benefits to choosing Karma as well, with alerts to monitor your credit and protect your information. They can also help you prepare your taxes, as well as giving you information about the value of your vehicle.
Should You Sign Up?
The service is certainly worth the price of admission since you don’t have to pay anything and only need to see some ads. You will learn about the things you can do to improve your financial situation, particularly when you are looking to apply for a mortgage.
If you are asking the question, is Credit Karma accurate? The answer has to be that it is up to a point, and certainly more than Credit Sesame. However, it would be best to treat it as more of a guide and an indication of your financial health rather than an exact number.
If you aren’t sure of your credit score or want to learn how you can pay less interest on future loans, the choice seems obvious. Credit Karma’s service isn’t going to cost you anything, but it will educate you on your financial situation and help you improve things. Logging into Credit Karma to check on your financial status is super easy to do. After a while, and especially after seeing improvement, you’ll probably enjoy logging into the site to see where you stand.
Final Thoughts on Using Credit Karma
If you plan on making any significant purchases shortly and have a credit score that needs a bit of a boost, Credit Karma could be your answer. By getting timely, sound advice, you could put yourself in a much better position to save a significant amount of money.
Just keep in mind that Credit Karma’s score is not the same thing as a FICO score. That doesn’t mean that Credit Karma isn’t accurate for the information they’re providing. Hopefully, you can put these tips on using Credit Karma to good use.
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