Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma – The Ultimate Free Credit Trackers


Free Online Credit Monitoring Services

Making the decision to stay on top of your credit can be one of the most financial decisions a person can make.  There are many companies that offer “credit reports” and credit monitoring services.  Having used many of these services the choice comes down to two big contenders – Credit Sesame and Credit Karma.  Quizzle receives an honorable mention but unfortunately your report is only updated every three months so it did not make the cut.  Many other services have monthly fees and are not worth the cost for most consumers.

These are services to view your personal credit score.  Read more about checking your business credit score.

Credit Sesame Review Credit Karma Review

Are Credit Sesame and Credit Karma Really “Free”?

The short answer is absolutely, yes.  Both services can be signed up for without the need of a providing a credit card.  There is no cost to get your report and you will receive updates to your report without additional costs.  Credit alerts are provided by both services without a fee.  The first response many people have after hearing this is “how can this be?”.  Credit Sesame offers paid services (Premium ID Theft Protection, for instance).  Credit Karma will be providing you will many tailored offers for credit products.  Even though these services are absolutely free, you do not have to worry about them going hungry – there are many ways these companies earn money!

Credit Sesame – What Services Are Provided

  • Free access to your Vantage Credit Score
  • Your report is updated at no cost each month
  • Info about your existing credit accounts (loans, credit cards, etc)
  • Google and Apple Apps are available for mobile service
  • Free credit monitoring and credit alerts
  • $50,000 ID theft insurance coverage for all users (free service)
  • Credit monitoring is updated daily to ensure protection

It is important to point out that all of the above services are available with the free version of Credit Sesame.  Needless to say, if you have not chosen a free monitoring tool, it is past time to start looking.  One of the big advantages of Credit Sesame is that they provide $50,000 in ID Theft Insurance for all users.  This comes at no cost and there are not other comparable services available with free credit services.  The Credit Sesame dashboard is extremely easy to follow and provides an intuitive layout.

Credit Karma – What Services Are Provided

  • Provides both a TransUnion and Equifax credit score
  • Free access to your credit report from TransUnion and Equifax
  • Credit Score simulator to predict possible changes based on activity
  • Google and Apple Apps are available for mobile service
  • Free credit monitoring and credit alerts
  • Weekly updates provide to your credit report

Like Credit Sesame, all of the above services come at absolutely no cost to users.  No credit card is required to complete your sign up with both services.  You will see that the services provided are quite similar.  Two services Credit Karma provides that Credit Sesame does not offer is access to your credit report and their credit simulator.  The Credit Karma Credit Simulator is a very popular tool.  It allows you to predict how specific credit related activities will impact your score.  For instance, you can see what impact opening a new credit card or getting a mortgage may impact your credit score.

Which Service Comes Out On Top – Credit Sesame or Credit Karma

As mentioned above, both services provide exceptional credit tools at absolutely no cost.  There are a couple big differences between the two services.  Credit Sesame gets a major boost by offering $50,000 of free ID Theft Insurance to all members.  Credit Karma gets a boost by offering credit report access.  Because it is federally required that the major credit bureaus provide consumer credit reports at no cost each year, Credit Sesame gets a slight edge.  While personal preference, the Credit Sesame Interface does seem slightly more straightforward and your credit alerts are somewhat easier to view.  Be sure to let us know in the comments below which credit monitoring service your prefer!

Understanding Your Credit Reports with Credit Sesame and Credit Karma

While both of these services provide amazing benefits for their users it is important to point out some limitations.  The biggest thing to point out is that the credit scores you receive with these services are not necessarily the same scores a bank may access.  The FICO credit score is the most commonly used score financial institutions use for approving and denying credit decisions.  Neither of these services provide you with a FICO score.  With this said, the scores provided very closely reflect what you can expect with your FICO score.  This makes the scores very useful for predicting your overall creditworthiness.

Another key aspect of the services provided is that you will have information about your credit accounts.  Both services will show your existing debts and this is one of the most important features the services provided.  Specifically, you will be able to determine your credit card utilization.  This is the total debt relative to the total limit of your credit card accounts.  The lower this number is, the better.  Users of these services should regularly check their utilization as reducing this can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase your credit score.

Finally, both services provide credit alerts.  These will be issued anytime there is an change to your credit report.  This would include things like opening a new line of credit, getting a credit check for a loan, as well as notification for unusual activity.  Being aware of your credit activity is one of the most important things a person can do to avoid ID Theft.

Signing Up For Credit Sesame and Credit Karma Will NOT Impact Your Score

Another very common concern is whether signing up for a credit monitoring service may negatively impact your credit score.  With both of these services there will be no impact to your credit report.  Both companies will do a “soft credit inquiry” to access your credit information.  Unlike a hard inquiry, this will not reflect on your credit report so neither service will cause any change to your score.  The biggest impact these services may have is through responsible use for the services.  Managing your credit with these services will likely result in an increase in your score if you follows basic credit advice and recommendations.

Final Thoughts – Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma

Whichever service you choose it is important to make sure you stay on top of your credit.  Regularly checking in to view your report is essential to keeping your credit in good shape.  Consumers should check their reports with these services at least monthly so that they can track their progress at paying down debt.  Notifications will be provided if credit alerts occur.  In these cases, you should immediately check to make sure this is an authorized change to your credit.

Taking advantage of free credit monitoring services is a great idea for nearly every consumer.  Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are two of the most popular services and are top choices.

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