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

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.

We generally make money when you get a product (like a credit card or loan) through our platform, but we don’t let that cloud our editorial opinions. Learn more about how we keep this compensation from affecting our editorial views.
Advertiser Disclosure

We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

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 San Francisco-based 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, and we can help you file your taxes for free, too.

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.

FAST FACTS

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. But the credit card company will likely use a different scoring model altogether.

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 annualcreditreport.com.

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.

Read more about our security practices here

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.

FAST FACTS

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 full list of reasons, visit: Why credit scores differ between credit reporting agencies.

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


Bottom line

Credit Karma will never charge you a penny 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.


Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.