Is Credit Karma a scam?

Concerned-looking man wondering if Credit Karma is a scam. He's about to find out the answer is no.Image: Concerned-looking man wondering if Credit Karma is a scam. He's about to find out the answer is no.

In a Nutshell

With Credit Karma, you can check your credit reports and credit scores from two of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion® and Equifax®, for free. No strings attached.
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Checking your credit on Credit Karma really is free, but we’re glad you’re doing your homework.

We get it. The phrase “free credit score” might set off red flags. You might be wondering, “What’s the catch? Is Credit Karma a scam?”

The answer is, “No.” There’s no catch. No strings attached. We’re not a scam. You can rest assured Credit Karma has your back. We’re a personal finance company that wants to help you better understand your financial situation and help you learn ways you can save money. We offer free credit reports, free credit scores, free credit monitoring and identity monitoring.

The best part? We don’t ask for your credit card number, so you don’t have to worry about receiving a bill from us.

How can I get a copy of my credit report?

You can get free access to your credit scores, reports and monitoring within minutes at Credit Karma.

Credit Karma features VantageScore 3.0 credit scores provided independently by TransUnion and Equifax.

Many factors could be taken into account when calculating a score, and each model may weigh credit factors differently. Though your scores may vary, they’re all based on information in your credit reports. So focusing on what’s in your reports could help you build your credit overall. Once you know where you stand, we’ll help you figure out where to go from there.

So, how does Credit Karma make money?

When we say “free credit score,” we mean it. Credit Karma will never ask you to pay to see your credit scores and reports.

So, how does Credit Karma make money? Here’s how it works.

When you join Credit Karma, we take a look at your financial picture by analyzing your credit reports. If we find a credit card or loan that could save you money, we may recommend it. Then, if you sign up for the products we recommend, we typically receive compensation from the lender or bank.

We want our offers to provide value to you — whether it’s savings, rewards or debt relief — and we choose financial partners that share our mission. If we do our job well, you save some money, we make some money and banks turn away fewer customers. Everyone wins.

You can receive a free copy of your credit reports once a year from the three major credit bureaus — Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion® — by visiting

This government-approved website provides your credit reports, but not your credit scores. Credit Karma offers both these features — your credit report and VantageScore 3.0 scores from TransUnion® and Equifax® — for free. And they are updated more frequently.

Is Credit Karma safe?

 In order to pull your credit reports, we need some personal information such as your full name, address, date of birth, Social Security number or phone number. We recognize this is a sensitive matter. That’s why we take security seriously, and we don’t sell your information to unaffiliated third parties for their advertising or marketing lists.

Does Credit Karma show my real credit score?

Did you know you have dozens of credit scores?

It’s true. And for most people, that’s too many credit scores to keep track of. So, Credit Karma makes it easy for you. We sift through the paperwork and provide you with your real TransUnion® and Equifax® credit reports, as well as their corresponding VantageScore 3.0 scores.

It can be difficult to keep track of all your credit scores and reports. But Credit Karma is here to help. And if you ever have questions about the scores or reports you see on Credit Karma, you can always reach out to our support team.

How do credit reports and credit scores work, and what’s the difference?

The three major credit bureaus — Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion® — build your credit reports with information about your credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, student loans and any other money you borrow.

You can think of these credit reports as a diary of your financial history.

FICO® and VantageScore® — the two scoring models most commonly used by lenders — then dig through your credit reports. They look at your payment history, utilization ratio, the age of your credit, your types of credit and any new credit inquiries. (VantageScore® also considers your total available credit limit.) They use that information to assign you a credit score.

Here’s where it gets a little confusing. FICO® tracks up to 28 unique credit scores for each person. There’s the standard FICO® score, as well as dozens of other scores that are optimized for companies in different financial sectors, such as credit card issuers, mortgage providers and auto lenders.

VantageScore®, meanwhile, offers unique credit scores for each of the three major credit bureaus. That’s one reason you might see slightly different scores from TransUnion® and Equifax® when you log onto your Credit Karma account. For the more information, read: Why credit scores differ between credit reporting agencies.

There are also other, lesser-known companies that issue credit scores.

Next steps

Credit Karma will never charge you to see your free credit reports and scores. We don’t sell your personal information to unaffiliated third parties for their marketing or advertising lists, either. We’ll recommend the credit cards or loans so you can choose the right fit for you. And, of course, there isn’t any pressure to apply for the cards or loans we recommend.

But don’t take our word for it.

We invite you to do your homework on Credit Karma to make sure you feel comfortable with our company before you sign up.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help. Visit our Help Center to get in touch with our support team.

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.