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Credit Karma: The Best Way to Get a Truly Free Credit Score

Credit Karma is a truly free service that lets you find and track your credit score. You also get a credit report card that shows you how you stand compared to others your age.

Credit Karma is a totally free service that lets you see your credit score and compare it to others.For better or worse, your credit score plays a big role in your financial health.

So it’s important to know your credit score and keep an eye on how it’s changing over time.

While most services charge upwards of $15-20 to view your own credit score, Credit Karma is a truly free site that lets you check and track your score without the need for a credit card, free trial, or any catches (because it’s a product I use myself and believe in, Credit Karma is an affiliate – see footnote).

No, Credit Karma is not a scam.

You’ll have to create an account and provide your personal information… including our social to verify your identity and pull your credit, but unlike other so-called “free credit score” sites there’s NO CREDIT CARD or any purchase required. (Credit Karma makes money by recommending advertisers’ financial products to its members.)

Although it’s best to review your complete credit report at least twice a year to check for errors (which this site does not include), Credit Karma provides a cool new way to track your overall credit health without paying a fee. Just create a free Credit Karma account, answer a few questions to identify yourself, and you’ve got your score.

I was impressed with how easy—and fast—getting my credit score was with Credit Karma. They also provide:

  • A graph showing your credit score over time.
  • Grades that show how your credit score compares to others.
  • A simulator that shows you how certain actions will impact your credit score.

Update: I’ve now been using Credit Karma for four years. (Can’t believe it’s been that long!) It’s still my go-to source for how my credit score is doing, and I’ve found the comparison and simulation tools invaluable for seeing how certain decisions (like getting a new credit card or reducing my average credit card usage will influence my score.

Get your (really) FREE credit score with Credit Karma now

Disclosure: When I first tried Credit Karma I was so impressed that they offered as much info as they did for free when so many sites were charging $15 a month. Months later, Credit Karma asked to become an affiliate partner with this Website and I gladly agreed. This means that we get a couple bucks if you sign up for their site. If you do so, it’s a way to get a free credit score and support the free content on this site, so THANK YOU if you choose to support us in this way.

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Check your credit score for FREE (for real -- no CC required). Learn how here.

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. Wow! Thanks for the recommendation. I signed up and had my score within minutes, too. I’m really pleased with the service and the layout–I check my credit report regularly but had never paid to know my score. Now I do. Thanks!

  2. This is great, thanks!

  3. Thanks for the recommendation — I was just able to see a 40 point jump in my score as I start really paying down my high-interest credit card debt!

  4. I just found this last week and I love their service. I think the idea is genius, although I hope in the future they’ll be able to pull up reports as well.

  5. This kind of makes me wonder if you are getting paid by credit karma. I find the site to be a crock. It never once matched any where near my credit scores that I received through credit keeper or privacy guard. When I finally paid off all of my outstanding debt ($19,000 of write-offs and charge-offs) credit karma claimed that my credit score went down by almost 40 points. Although I may not know their exact methods, I can tell it is a complete FAKO score. All of my other scores increased from paying off my debt. The last time I checked, credit karma still has me at 538 when my lowest score through other companies is 568-639.
    This isn’t just a one-time thing or a stroke of bad luck, either. My friend and her husband have also compared their credit keeper and privacy guard scores to credit karma and found they they were consistently short-changed, as well.

    • David Weliver says:

      We have an affiliate relationship with Credit Karma, yes.

      Since writing about the site (over four years ago), I have heard similar criticism.

      What I know is this: Each credit bureau (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) has their own way of scoring, and they provide different credit scores (many on different scales) to different clients. For example, banks may get one version, car dealerships another, and insurers yet another. Secondly, there are third-party companies that create credit scores based upon credit bureau data. The biggest, of course, is Fair Isaac, creator of the FICO score. What this means is that any one of us could have at least dozens of different credit scores available at any one time.

      FICO is the largest and most well-known. The only way to check it yourself without applying for credit is at MyFICO.com, which costs money.

      CreditKarma, I believe, uses a score provided by TransUnion.

      Is it the exact same as FICO? No. But it provides a representative example of where your credit falls in the spectrum. After all, any credit score is about comparing your creditworthiness to the next guy. It’s relative. It’s a bell curve. So the value in Credit Karma is a) knowing where you stand and b) tracking your progress over time. I’ve been checking Credit Karma for over four years and, no, my score there hasn’t always lined up with other sources, but it’s gone up when it should have and down when it should have. Plus, it’s free. I’m still a fan.

  6. Anisa Ghadrshenas says:

    I tried using this and it was mostly helpful – but not all of my credit cards showed up.
    Do you know why/how to make sure it’s taking into account all of my credit?

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