Is Credit Karma a Safe Way to Get Your Credit Report?

FT Contributor  | 

As a responsible consumer, you may already be skeptical when a company offers a service or product for free. Every business must make money to survive, so there’s usually a catch when it comes to a free product offer.

That is not the case with Credit Karma.

Is Credit Karma Free?

When you sign up through Credit Karma, you can receive your credit score and credit report for free. The company provides you with your credit report information from TransUnion and Equifax and you can request updated information a maximum of once per week for free. When you request your credit report directly through the three credit reporting companies, you can only access them for free once per year.

While Credit Karma does offer free credit reports, there are a few parameters related to this offer. There are other products and guidelines associated with the company that consumers should know about when signing up to check their score and report.

How Does Credit Karma Work?

When you Credit Karma, you can request your credit report and score after you verify your identity. You can see what information the credit reporting companies use in your credit report to calculate your score. Request an updated score or report once per week for free through Credit Karma.

The company won’t charge you to request these reports and you’ll also receive Credit Karma. Credit Karma takes your information and analyzes what’s affecting your credit score to make recommendations for products, such as a good credit repair company or a lender that would offer good terms with your score.

The company also offers tax filing assistance and other financial products. When you purchase an affiliate product, Credit Karma earns a percentage of the sale from the lender or financial institution.

How to Get Your Credit Karma Free Credit Report

When you request your free credit report from Credit Karma, you can review the information on your report and understand the credit score range you fall into according to the credit reporting companies. To request your free report through the company, follow these steps:

  1. Credit Karma and create an account using your email address and a password.
  2. Provide your contact information, Social Security number, and date of birth.
  3. Answer the questions to verify your identity when prompted.
  4. Request your free credit report and score.
  5. Receive your information and browse additional product recommendations.

Once you’ve completed your request, you’ll receive information on your credit report and the credit score currently recorded through TransUnion. You can sign back into your Credit Karma account and request an updated score once per week. Since this is a soft credit inquiry, re-checking your credit score and credit history doesn’t negatively affect your score.

What to Do with Your Free Credit Report From Credit Karma

Once you’ve received your free credit report and score, first review it for errors. If there are any mistakes on your report, contact the credit bureau or creditor to have these errors corrected.

Review the negative items that may be lowering your credit score, such as maxed out credit cards, a previous bankruptcy, or late payments you made on a debt. Consider the financial behaviors that contributed to these negative items and how you can change your habits to begin increasing your score.

By committing to making improvements to your financial actions in the future, such as making your loan payments on time and not applying for additional debt, you can begin to improve your score.

Through Credit Karma, you can keep a close watch on your credit score and credit report information for free. This allows you to identify errors quickly, figure out what’s affecting your score, and create a plan of action to improve it.


Image Source: Credit Karma