More than 100 million people rely on Credit Karma to check their credit scores, and why not, it's free?
The free credit scoring service is in it's 14th year. The website makes its revenue from advertisers and by sharing your information with potential lenders. When you sign up, you are required to provide you personal information including your social security number. Once your identity is verified you are provided two scores, one from Equifax and another from Experian.
But the scores Credit Karma provides may not be the score your lender pulls when you apply for a loan. In its terms of service Credit Karma says it determines your score using Advantage Score 3.0. Most lenders rely on the more commonly used scoring service called FICO. Depending on the type of loan, FICO provides a score. Your home loan score, for example may be different than the score pulled for an auto loan or a credit card.
Although Advantage Score and FICO may be similar, they may not be the same. And consumer Advocacy groups like Georgia Watch say there's an accurate alternative.
When the pandemic started, the three credit bureaus, Equifax.com, Experian.com and Transunion.com began allowing consumers frequent access to their credit reports. Georgia requires that the bureaus to provide two free credit reports a year, but with so many people financially impacted, it's changed.
"Right now you can get your free credit report from all three reporting credit bureaus weekly," says Liz Coyle, Georgia Watch's executive director, "and if you want you could stagger it and get your report 3 times in one week."
You can access your reports by going directly to the credit bureau's websites or by going to annualcreditreport.com.