Credit monitoring is a new and trendy thing to take part in, and you’ve got plenty of choices for companies to help you with it. Which one should you choose? We’ve put together this Credit Karma review to show you some of the finer points of what sets this company apart from the rest and give you some reasons why you might consider using them over some of their competitors.
Why You Want Credit Monitoring Services
In order to fully understand this Credit Karma review, it’s important that you have a grasp of what a credit monitoring company is and why you would want to use one yourself. Even if you don’t know it yet, you’re almost certainly in the market for credit monitoring services (figuratively speaking, as most of these companies offer their help for free). Knowing your credit score (a small, unassuming number that can affect your ability to access loans, hold certain jobs, or even maintain healthy relationships) is a big enough boost that that alone would be worth your while; that’s not all you can get from Credit Karma, though. They can also show you copies of your full credit report, updated periodically to keep you posted on any recent changes. These documents show you what goes into your credit score so you can better understand how to raise it if you want to, and they also display any credit activity that is happening under your name.
Assuming you have the fundamentals like budgeting and saving down pat, keeping a close eye on your credit is one of the best things you can do to take control of your larger financial life. Even if you’re diligent about paying your bills and know your credit score is generally good, you’ll be thanking yourself for your foresight when you catch a hint of fraud on one of the reports as you check them. The sooner you know about these things, the sooner you can intervene and cut off the problem at the root, minimizing the losses they might have caused you. If you can catch a fraud case in action before the perpetrator ever actually gets their hands on money in your name (i.e. when they’re just applying for cards and things under your identity, but have not yet received them), the easier a time you will have clearing up this whole issue and getting it resolved.
Many people worry about the potential security risk of giving their credit information over to a service like this, no matter how much they stand to gain from doing so. After all, it only takes one breach for a hacker to be able to max out all your credit cards and apply for loans in your name, so the caution it warranted. That said, there is no real reason to be concerned here. These services are all heavily regulated and carry extensive security obligations that are meant to help keep your data safe. Beyond that level of duty, however, most of these companies also take the safety of your sensitive personal financial information extremely seriously and take extra precautions over and above that level to ensure that nothing goes awry. Credit Karma, for example, uses a combination of heavy encryption, firewalls, password protection and regular outside inspections and testing to make sure that there is as little of a chance as possible that you will suffer any financial harm as a result of having trusted them with your credit case. These kinds of precautions are standard in the industry and should hopefully be enough to convince you that you can take advantage of the many benefits of credit monitoring without having to worry about where your information will ultimately end up.
What Makes Credit Karma Different?
Now that we’ve gone over just what credit monitoring can do for you, you probably understand why you want to have that advantage in your financial life. Using Credit Karma for this purpose has several advantages that its competitors do not.
First of all, your credit score isn’t just one single, unchanging number. Rather, you actually have many different credit scores that all pertain to you and that can vary surprisingly drastically between themselves. Each of the major credit bureaus in Canada has their own ways of reporting a credit score, and beyond that there are still even more variations in the numbers due to differences in how the calculations are done. Credit Karma specifically uses the score from TransUnion, one of the two major credit bureaus established in Canada. On top of that, they also use the CreditVision risk model, a relatively new invention that was intended to provide lenders with a better, more well-rounded understanding of the credit behaviour of any particular client. It takes into account all of the credit-related moves you have made in the past 24 months, including but not limited to things like what debts you’ve had, what you’ve paid down, and what you’ve applied for in that time frame. Because of its comprehensiveness, this type of score is increasingly the one being referred to by lenders and other decision-makers, and that makes it one of the more useful types to be able to access.
Credit Karma also has less of an obvious personal financial stake in the operations of the monetized side of their business. It’s very common for these kinds of credit tool sites to be free at the point of service, which Credit Karma is. However, since they obviously need to turn a profit at some point to stay in business, these companies operate a sort of sideline business that they use to generate the income they grow on. Usually, this takes the form of a list of financial product recommendations that gets pulled for each user every time they access their credit information and that is displayed next to it for them like an advertisement. These products are chosen specifically for each person by an algorithm that takes into account what kinds of products the person could likely qualify for with their credit score, making them a safe bet for anyone who ever wants to apply for them.
If someone does do that by clicking on the ad they are shown on Credit Karma, the company gets a small percentage of the profits. That’s just payment for referrals, a standard practice which is completely legal and safe. However, not only does the display of these products potentially pose a problem for people who are easily led and may make sub-optimal decisions about applying for more credit they don’t need when faced with the chance to do so – it also gives some credit monitoring companies the chance to promote their own products to their users and encourage them to sign up for those instead, securing a larger portion of the profits. Unlike Borrowell, the most noteworthy Canadian rival we can name in this Credit Karma review, this company does not engage in lending directly as a part of their business model, so you needn’t have any concerns about their ethics in that regard.
The Value of a Good Credit Karma Review: Learn From the Experiences of Others
The esteem of others is something that always speaks well of a company, and reading just about any Credit Karma review online will tell you that they have it. Credit Karma is spoken of quite fondly all over the Internet and is one of the better-known credit monitoring companies around. It helps that it dates back to 2007 in its original American incarnation and was one of the first companies to ever offer this type of service to people on such a convenient and consistent basis. Because of this early entry into the market, the company was able to build up a foundation of trust over time and even managed to enter the Canadian market with some established name recognition on their side. They’ve never asked for money outright for their services and claim that they never will, and many people even find their product recommendations to be helpful if they were already looking for prospects in that regard. All in all, there is every indication that you won’t regret choosing them for your credit monitoring needs if you do make that decision.
Is Credit Karma the Credit Monitoring Company For You?
There may not be any cause to say that Credit Karma is the absolute best at what it does and you should never consider using any other company for the type of services they provide, but that would be an unrealistic thing to expect. As you must have gleaned from this Credit Karma review by now, just because they are not perfect does not mean they are not excellent at what they do. This company is as good as any other in this space and worth some consideration on your part for that. Their security is tight, their reputation is good, and the value that they provide to you is incredible considering that it is all completely free. They can be a helpful partner to you in your journey toward a stronger financial future; just keep in mind that you should also never pay any attention to their product recommendations and you’ll be all set to start working on your credit score with their help.
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