Did you know that almost a third of Americans have a poor credit score?
The bad news is that poor credit can impact your ability to open a credit card, rent an apartment, or even secure a job. But the good news is that, if you do have poor credit, there are steps you can take to repair it.
Of course, the first step to repairing your credit is learning what your credit score is. It’s important to use a secure, reliable service to make sure your information stays private and your credit is not impacted.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the more popular credit-checking sites, Credit Sesame. This Credit Sesame review will cover the good, the bad, and will help you decide whether it is the best option for you.
Before we get into the pros and cons of using Credit Sesame, let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it works.
Credit Sesame is both a website and mobile app that offers free credit scores, monitoring, and alerts. The service does not require a credit card to sign up.
While the basic tools are free, Credit Sesame also offers premium features that help customers fix inaccuracies on their credit reports or monitor their identity.
What Does Credit Sesame Offer?
Like any free credit checker, Credit Sesame offers users a free credit report. This report is considered a “soft inquiry,” meaning that it does not hurt the user’s credit score. It also will not appear on your credit report as an inquiry, the way a check from a loan provider would.
Credit Sesame automatically updates your credit score monthly, which allows you to track your progress if you’re trying to improve your credit. Users have the option to set up credit alerts for certain events, such as a change in their score.
Credit Sesame also offers credit monitoring. This means that it will identify items on your credit report that are affecting your score either positively or negatively. The service also generates a credit report card, which can help you identify how factors like credit utilization, payment history, and account age are impacting your score.
Based on your credit score, Credit Sesame will also offer personal loan recommendations. This tool allows users to compare loans at different terms and interest rates.
Users with a free account will get access to $50,000 in identity theft coverage. This way, if you recognize fraud on your credit report, you will be protected.
Who Does Credit Sesame Use?
Whenever you’re considering a credit checking or monitoring service, it’s important to know where they get their data from.
The main reporting tool that lenders use to check your credit when you apply for a loan is the FICO credit score. This score is based on reports from three major reporting firms: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
Your free Credit Sesame score is based on Transunion. While it is a real credit score, it is only based on one reporting bureau, so it may differ slightly from your FICO score. With a premium membership, you can get access to a credit score based on all three reporting bureaus.
With all of the free features that Credit Sesame offers, there are certainly several pros to using the service.
In addition to offering users the option to set up alerts for their credit report, Credit Sesame allows them to set goals. This can help users to identify specific actions to take to improve their finances.
For instance, users can set a goal of “increase my credit score.” Credit Sesame will then present users with options that can help them increase their score. If you have other financial goals, like refinancing your mortgage or taking out a personal loan, Credit Sesame may alert you to relevant offers that are available.
If one of your goals is to sell your current home, Credit Sesame has an interesting feature to help with that. With the home value estimate tool, you can see the current value of your home, as well as the value of any equity you’ve accrued.
There is always a certain level of risk whenever you enter your personal information into a site. That said, it is essential to give certain private information to get a credit report, so it is unavoidable. What is important is that you trust the site you turn to for credit reporting.
Luckily, Credit Sesame offers multiple layers of verified security. It is also backed by major venture capital firms, which offer legitimacy to its brand.
Finally, if you do experience a security breach, you will be protected by the $50,000 available in identity theft insurance for free accounts. And, if you choose the platinum protection plan for $19.95 a month, you will have access to $1 million in identity theft protection.
Increased identity theft protection is not the only feature available with a premium account. While the free account offers many great features, the premium options offer even more financial tools.
For instance, the advanced option offers credit monitoring with 1 credit reporting bureau, while the pro and platinum options offer monitoring with two bureaus. Even with the advanced plan, however, users will get monthly credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus.
With the pro plan, you will also have access to a 24/7 helpline for any questions related to your credit report. If you notice an error on your report, you can make use of this service to help resolve the error.
Finally, the platinum plan offers the most security. They offer protection for lost or stolen wallet and monitor your identity for signs of breaches with your social security number, address, and court records for signs of breaches.
Another convenient feature Credit Sesame is the ability to make use of it from multiple platforms. Users can choose to receive alerts via email or text message. Additionally, you can access the site and tools through the desktop website or through the mobile app.
It’s clear to see that there are many benefits of using Credit Sesame for checking and monitoring your credit. That said, there are some drawbacks to the site, and it is important to consider these as well.
Limited Bureau Reports
One of the biggest drawbacks of using Credit Sesame is the limited access to bureau reports with the free account. While the credit analysis is based on your bureau report, it is not identical. It is important to keep in mind that the score you see might be slightly higher than what a loan provider actually pulls.
Additionally, Credit Sesame will often offer users the option to purchase a credit report from a bureau for $10. While this may seem inexpensive, it is important to remember that you are entitled to receive one free credit report from each may bureau each year. So, while it may be worth it to buy extra reports, you should make use of the free options first.
Credit Sesame makes money in a few key ways: through premium memberships, through selling credit reports, and by reselling credit options. If you choose a credit card or personal loan through Credit Sesame, the company receives compensation for the referral.
Because of this feature, you will see many suggestions for loans and credit cards, which are basically advertisements. This includes the options they offer when you set up financial goals.
So when you weigh the pros and cons, is Credit Sesame worth it? Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a free service that will give you a rough idea of what your credit score is, Credit Sesame can offer that. Credit Sesame is also a good option if you need help improving your credit score. That said, if you already have a strong credit score, you may prefer to request free reports directly from the reporting bureaus.
Wrapping Up the Credit Sesame Review
With this Credit Sesame review in hand, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether it is the right place to check your credit. Making a habit of knowing your credit will help you take charge of your financial future.
Once you get a handle on your credit, you can start looking at applying for loans. If you need assistance, Bonsai Finance can help you find a lender.