My Personal Finance Journey

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Free Credit Score for Everyone

Contributed by mm | January 3, 2009 4:40 PM PST

Isn't it good that when you wake up from hibernation, everything in the world is better?

A good portion of personal finance planning is about credit management, and that usually involves you keep track of your credit report and credit score, so as to maintain a good credit record that might help you when you apply for the next mortgage, car loan or credit card.

Three years ago, the new FTC legislature requires each of the "big three" credit agencies to provide a free credit report to everyone once every year. If you haven't tried that yet, go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/ and order yours. If you space out your retrieval carefully, you can get one free report every four months.

But that will only give you the credit report for free. Credit score is still something you normally have to pay for. Now, it seems that the advertising-supported business model is hitting this corner of the world too ... introducing CreditKarma.com, where you can get unlimited flow of your latest credit score on demand for free.

To sign up at CreditKarma.com, you will have to provide some key information, then answer a few questions about yourself so you can identify yourself to the system. Within minutes, you can get your credit score, and you can refresh it every month. I have been using the service for four months now, and check out the trend of my credit score:

creditkarma1.jpg

And my credit score of 766 sits nicely in the top quintile:

creditkarma2.jpg

How does CreditKarma.com make money? Yes, it is an advertising supported model. CreditKarma matches your credit profile with a long list of financial services offers like mortgage, credit card and banking accounts. The last time I check, it even offers cable and mobile deals.

An incomplete snapshot of what's offered to me:

creditkarma3.jpg

Now I have respective CreditKarma accounts set up for my wife and myself. Isn't it good that we don't have to pay for credit score any more?

This Post Has Received 43 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


poor boomer Commented on January 3, 2009

Exactly what info do you have to give them?


John Commented on January 4, 2009

Very helpful information. Thanks for sharing!


Curtis Commented on January 4, 2009

Note that the "credit score" offered by Credit Karma is not a true FICO score, which is the score that most credit decisions are based on. Until recently, they didn't even use the same scoring range as FICO scores.

The only way to get an actual FICO score for free that I have found is the free monthly scores available with a WaMu credit card. Since Chase bought out WaMu, though, it remains to be seen if that option will continue to be available in the future.


fitwallet Commented on January 5, 2009

I think this is a wonderful tool to get a general idea of your credit score. As Curtis said, this does not appear to be a true FICO score (just as the scores from individual credit bureaus aren't, either). But that said, it's good to know how I'm doing and what I need to do to improve my score. Thanks for the link!


Rob - Credit Card Debt Law Commented on January 19, 2009

Has anyone attempted to study how close Credit Karma scores are to a person's true FICO score? I know that Zillow scores the accuracy of its estimates against real prices. This would be helpful information to know when evaluating whether Credit Karma's credit scores are worth the electronic ink they are printed with.


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