If you’re worrying about being the victim of identity theft, you should also be concerned enough to be looking for ways to protect your good credit score. Monitoring your credit score is a great way to find out whether your identity has been compromised.
The problem is that many of the free credit reporting services only offer access to your score once per year. They’re just not as good as they could be.
Some up-and-coming new websites have improved this experience: Credit Karma and Credit Sesame can help you retake control of your credit score.
Credit Karma and Credit Sesame: Both Offering Free Credit Scores
Both Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are free, which turns some people off out of sheer skepticism. We’ve been paying to monitor our credit for so long, how can these people offer that same service for free?
Credit Karma and Credit Sesame both make their money by advertising and selling credit products to their customers. In truth, some of these suggestions may be useful for you, and some may not. By analyzing your credit score and financial scenario, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame could make recommendations that offer better rates than products you’re already using. Whether you buy or not, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame remain free to use.
Credit Karma explains their business like this: “Our free credit scores are sponsored by partners who share our vision that consumers should have free and regular access to their score.”
Even though the service is free, Credit Karma guarantees it will never share your information without your explicit permission, and they’ve paired with TRUSTe, an independent security firm, to ensure the best protection available.
Credit Sesame, which is also secure thanks to a similar security firm, McAffe, takes a bit different tact when explaining how they stay free.
“We make money when you save money. It’s only when you apply for a loan and close the deal that we get paid a small fee by our partners. Because we work for you, we won’t waste your time with loans you’re not qualified for – or that don’t meet your specific needs,” says Credit Sesame on their website.
Whether you mind having your free credit reporting service offer you credit cards on a regular basis or not, it’s nice that both of these companies are frank about explaining how they make money.
Both Companies Help Protect Against Identity Theft
While both companies offer tools and support to help you understand your credit score, debt and financial scenario, the most important benefit they each offer is credit score monitoring. Instead of only having access to your report once per year for free, as with other companies, you can check it anytime you want.
When thieves take your identity, they don’t just make purchases on cards you already have, they often apply for new cards and loans. These kinds of applications impact your credit scores, so monitoring your credit is a great way to find out if someone’s using your identity to apply for debt so you can stop them right away.
Using one of these services is a good way to protect against identity theft as well as highway robbery interest rates. If you have debt you’re getting a terrible deal on, both of these services are designed to let you know about it.
Credit Score Site Comparison: What People are Saying
Looking around the web, users tend to like Credit Karma better, probably because it has been around the longest and offers more financial tools. Credit Karma has the most commercial offers. Some have complained of inaccurate scores from Credit Sesame, but it’s a fairly new product and will certainly continue to adapt, so don’t count them out just yet.
TheSunFinancialDiary.com did a great comparison on the two, and added a third free credit report site, Quizzle. Unlike Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, Quizzle delivers a complete credit report, not just the score, for the same great price: Free.
To find out which service is right for you, spend a little time at each site. Or, better yet, join all three.
Have you ever used one of these sites? Was it useful? Accurate? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
Jessica Bosari is a PerkStreet Customer Columnist, as well as the Site Manager and Editor for billeater a blog with money-saving tips to lower your bills. When she’s not gathering money-saving tips, Jessica is feeding her geeky side with sci-fi movies, tech gadgets, useful apps and productivity tricks, just to keep things interesting. Read more of Jessica’s great financial advice on Perkstreet’s blog, or view her other money-saving tips at billeater.com.