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Credit Karma Review
23 Mar 2019

Bonsai Finance’s In-Depth Credit Karma Review

Now that there are so many credit products involved in all of our lives, knowing your credit score is more important than ever. Credit Karma might be the company to help you do that. This Credit Karma review will go into their operations in greater depth and can help you to determine if this website’s services are right for you.

What Does Credit Karma Do?

The first thing that needs to be covered in a Credit Karma review is what this company actually does. Like many other companies now, they provide Canadians with an easy way to access their credit score online and different tools to help them manage their credit going forward.

Once you’ve signed up for your free account, there are a number of things you can do. The number one service that this company provides is their free credit report for all users. This is why most users come to the site in the first place, and it’s everything that Credit Karma advertises it to be. A good credit score can help you to get a better rate on a car loan, qualify for a mortgage to buy a home, or even get offered certain jobs, so all Canadians should at least know what their credit score is and ideally be checking it regularly. The exact credit score you will be shown here is determined by TransUnion using the CreditVision Risk model, a fairly new way of calculating a credit score that gives a more complete picture of your credit activity over the past 24 months. Not all lenders to whom you apply will go by this score, but it will be an important factor for many.

Once you know your score, you can also monitor it over time with updates that you can get as frequently as every week (although most will only need monthly updates or perhaps even less). This allows you to keep on top of any changes that might occur and to see what impact the financial moves you make are having on your score. For better or for worse, everything you do with regards to credit gets factored in somehow, so there will be many changes for you to observe over time if you look. Using this service will not affect your credit score directly in any way, but it will give you the chance to observe any problems with it and make the appropriate adjustments in your financial behaviours to fix those problems.

If you have encountered such a problem, you may not be sure what steps you need to take now. Credit Karma can help with this too. They have a large repertoire of useful articles concerning what may have damaged your credit score as well as ways to rebuild your credit. They can also provide you with reminders to pay any ongoing debts you might have through their app, making it more likely that you will successfully pay on time and improve your credit as a result. Another thing that deserves mentioning in a Credit Karma review is that you can use this service on the go if you like. They have just recently launched a mobile app to make it even easier for you to monitor your credit while you’re away from home. This is great because it allows you to do your periodic check-in whenever you remember to do it, so there’s no excuse to ever lose track of your credit again. This makes it much more likely that you will be able to stick to any credit improvement plans that you make and make a positive difference in your own life.

Before you do anything, though, make sure you are on the Canadian website! Credit Karma also operates in the US, and their American customers have a few more options available to them that may make their way over to the Canadian side of the business as some point. The first and most important exclusive option is their free tax filing service. This service allows users to quickly and easily file for their federal and state taxes without having to pay a thing for the privilege. This is an excellent offer, but it is unfortunately unavailable to Canadians for the time being. Keep an eye on them, though, as this may change at any time.

Is It Safe?

We want all our readers to stay financially safe, so of course we want to talk about safety in this Credit Karma review. Because this company operates entirely online and deals with sensitive information, it is fair to wonder about whether or not they will be able to keep it out the hands of hackers and criminals. Thankfully, the answer to that question is a definitive yes. The site uses 128-bit encryption to ensure that any information that anyone attempts to steal will be all but impossible to decipher on the other side. They also use an extensive complement of firewalls and other modern security measures, as well as routine inspections from third-party professionals who ensure that any vulnerabilities that exist are identified and resolved. If any of their users reports a problem they have found while interacting with the site, they will also investigate that. Lastly, they run their service using as little of your personal information as possible, including no identifiable credit card information whatsoever. This ensures that even if there is a breach, you should not experience any lasting financial harm as a result of it; you might still worry, but with that assurance you should be able to minimize your concerns.

However, that’s not all you might be concerned about in terms of your safety and the privacy of your personal information. It’s great that Credit Karma provides a useful service for Canadians and doesn’t charge a penny for it. However, like all businesses, they have to make their money somehow. In this case, they have chosen to do that by taking advantage of affiliate opportunities with lenders with whom they think their clients will enjoy doing business. Every time you retrieve your credit score through Credit Karma, you will be shown a number of products from various financial institutions that your credit profile suggests you could easily qualify for if you were to apply. You’re under no obligation to actually submit those applications if you don’t want to, and none of the providers who appear in your recommendations are ever actually contacted with any of your information – the whole thing is entirely optional and run wholly by algorithms that have no capacity to judge or store your credit information. No human person is ever privy to your financial information and none of that information is sold to anyone at any time. Because of this, it is completely safe and can not justifiably be called a scam. If you really are uncomfortable with any part of this monetization scheme, though, you can opt out of getting these targeted ads on your user profile page. All of these points mean that we have to state as part of this Credit Karma review that there is no reason for you to be worried about using this company’s services if you feel that you would benefit from doing so.

What You Can Learn From Credit Karma Canada Reviews Collections

You can’t do a thorough Credit Karma Canada reviews without talking a bit about how real users see the company, so let’s do that now. For the most part, people speak very highly of them online, praising their cost, utility and accuracy as well as the fact that they occupy a relatively unsaturated niche in the financial products market. It’s hard to beat a service that is free, easy to use, and can make such a big difference in your financial life if used correctly. There’s no doubt that the credit monitoring part of their operations is useful and worth your time.

However, their ad program is not nearly so universally popular. Remember that this program is entirely automated and based solely on the information that Credit Karma has access to when you use it. This means that while it can pick out products that it suspects that you will have an easy time qualify for, it is not a guarantee that you will be able to actually get approved for any of these things. If you do apply and are rejected, not only will you lose out on getting the credit product you probably had specific intentions for, but you will also suffer a slight drop in your credit score. A number of complaints through Consumer Affairs indicate that many people have had exactly this problem happen to them; once they applied for the recommended products and were rejected, they took a hit to their credit score that is presumably exactly what they were trying to avoid. Things won’t work out that way for everyone, and indeed, it’s likely that this scenario is fairly rare. However, there is always a chance that it could happen to you, and that’s something that most people would rather not have to deal with.

Things to Watch Out For

Credit Karma is a great credit score monitoring service, but using it to help select your financial products may not be your best bet. Your credit score is not the only important factor in determining whether or not you can qualify for a particular loan or financial product, but it’s the main one that Credit Karma uses to screen you during this process. All of the products that they show you will be a good fit for you in that way, but not necessarily in any others. For instance, you may not have the income needed to qualify for some of the products they show you, even though your credit would suffice. This means that you may get your hopes up unnecessarily when you see a tempting product in your ad selection, only to realize that you won’t actually be able to get it.

Since this is also just a peripheral feature of their service and not the main event, their recommendation selection is rather limited – it’s just a few buttons on the side of whatever credit reporting you’re doing, not enough to cover more than a handful of financial products. The reality is that most people could potentially choose from a dozen or more products to find the best fit for them, and the one that they would choose if they had an accurate idea of the selection they could get may not be one of the options that Credit Karma provides. There are also options out there that depend on you having certain attributes as a borrower that Credit Karma does not measure – for example, many loans and even credit cards are available only to homeowners at fairly favourable terms, but you wouldn’t see those products in your Credit Karma ads. All of this means that if what you’re really looking for is not your credit score, but the product recommendations that come with it, you may be better off looking elsewhere for that. None of the information Credit Karma will give you is ever technically wrong or untrustworthy, but you could get a more complete picture of what you can get on the Canadian credit market by using a different service, and that’s something you should be aware of after reading this Credit Karma review.

The Bottom Line

Our final note in this Credit Karma review is that this company offers a really great service and should not be feared, with one fundamental caveat. There is no reason for you to be hesitant to use this website for any purpose you see fit. We would, however, suggest that you avoid using it for product recommendation services lest you encounter some of the same problems that previous customers have run into. If you have needs in that department, we would be happy to help you out with those instead.