Credit Report and Credit Score
When it comes to a checkup of our credit standing, most of us know we can go to AnnualCreditReport.com for our free credit reports. Every four months I check my rickety credit with one of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, so that for example, Experian is acessed once a year. But if you want to see your FICO score you usually have to pay for it. Unless you use Credit Karma.
Free Credit Score
Credit Karma provides users with free credit scores and will track these scores for you. There are also tools to to help you learn about improving your credit scores. The scores range from 300 to 850 which corresponds to the same scale as the FICO Score. Credit Karma shows personalized offers based on your credit profile. This subsidizes the free credit score tracking. The site also has a very informative blog, for example, read about Planning an Emergency Fund.
Credit Score Analysis
The first thing I came across when I logged in was my credit score represented as a graph. There was a credit snapshot which among other things told me my score could improve by obtaining more premium bankcard accounts and having more accounts in good standing. I don’t have any accounts that are not in good standing but it appears I should have more that are in good standing. I could see how my credit compared to others across a number of categories. For example, in my state I scored 89.8% whereas in my age category I was only at 65.5%. The Credit simulator showed how different financial actions could affect my credit score. When I declared bankruptcy it said:
Unfortunately…A bankruptcy will definitely reduce your credit score. It is important to start rebuilding your credit history immediately after declaring bankruptcy.
It took my score down 62 points. Fortunately today it is only a simulation.
The Karma Offers section works Digg style where various offers can be given the thumbs up or thumbs down. There are four categories, namely Credit Cards, Entertainment, Finance, and Wireless. These are sub-divided again, usually into Most Recent, Most Popular Today, Highest Rated, and Most Comments. This is quite a useful feature and I found myself browsing through the offers. I couldn’t resist voting some up and given others the thumbs down.
Tools and Advice
There are various financial tools and calculators such as a simple loan calculator and a home affordability calculator. There are age and rate and credit trends. A useful Featured Credit Cards by Score has various credit card offers. I found lots of news and advice with many of the articles quite useful. As with the Karma Offers, the articles were voted up or down by the members.
By combining your credit score from Credit Karma with your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com you can keep a useful eye on the state of your credit. I liked the layout of Credit Karma. It was easy and fun to use. If you have a good credit score it is great to just know you are doing well. If you are out to improve your rating then it would be satisfying to track your progress and at the same time generate some encouraging Credit Karma.