Keeping track of your credit can be time-consuming. In some cases, comprehensive reports can cost a lot of money. That’s why the free Credit Karma report stands out so much.
Credit Karma offers a free report that allows you to stay on top of your credit. It’s not the most complete credit tracking resource you can use. But you get what you pay for. And because this service from Credit Karma is free, it’s more than worth considering.
What Is A Free Credit Karma Report?
When you sign up for Credit Karma, you gain access to free reports from two of the major credit bureaus. You can see and track your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports, no strings attached. You don’t need to pay for the reports at any point. That’s better than going to both agencies separately! if you go to the two agencies separately, they’ll either:
- Offer you one free report annually
- Offer you regular reports at a cost
So, what makes this free offer so great?
The Major Credit Reporting Agencies
There are only three major credit reporting agencies in the US. As we mentioned, they each offer one free credit report per year. And if you want to regularly see your credit report and score through them, you have to pay them. Credit Karma already gets you two of these credit reports for free.
Equifax is the first agency that Credit Karma pulls reports from. The agency is based in Atlanta and is the most active agency in the US South and East.
Based in Costa Mesa, CA, Experian is still one of the biggest credit reporters in the US, particularly the Western states.
Transunion is the second agency that Credit Karma pulls reports from. It’s based in Chicago and handles credit reporting throughout the US and the world. They are more active in the US-North and East.
Experian is the only major credit reporting agency that Credit Karma doesn’t work with. They used to just handle credit reporting for the Western US. But Experian has become one of the biggest information services companies worldwide.
What Does This Mean For My Free Credit Karma Report?
While Experian isn’t the only major credit reporting agency in the US, it’s still a loss that it’s reports aren’t including in Credit Karma’s offer.
The thing is that all three credit agencies track your credit history. They all report your score similarly, but with a few differences. So, Credit Karma can’t quite provide a full picture of your recent credit history.
Why The Complete Picture Matters
When you apply for a loan in the US, lenders will go to at least one of the three major agencies. They will also usually report to their favorite agency of the three. So, every report from a major agency matters.
Each of the three agencies has a unique method for recording your credit history. While the results will always be similar, it may help you to have a more complete picture sometimes.
In the end, you will be well off with just two free, regular reports. You can also go to Experian directly to ask for their credit report.
Why Sign Up For A Free Credit Karma Report?
There’s nothing wrong with useful financial information you can get for free. That’s especially true when you consider that the credit reporting agencies often charge for their services.
Credit Karma is free and offers regular updates.
You could go to each of the credit bureaus and request or buy a credit report. You’re entitled to one free report per year. But doesn’t it make more sense to just get two reports from one source?
Credit Karma gives you two reports regularly. But they also offer you some extra help by highlighting important information and explaining why it matters. If you’ve never dealt with credit reports before, this extra support can be very helpful. Especially considering that it’s free and regular when the agencies give you irregular free reports without the explanations.
The Downsides Of The Free Credit Karma Report
At this point, it’s likely no surprise that the lack of an Experian report is the biggest downside. But the fact they don’t go to Experian brings up one other issue: they don’t provide your FICO score with this service.
You can get your FICO credit score from Credit Karma. But that’s a separate service that doesn’t come with this free package.
The Last Word On The Credit Karma Free Report
Credit Karma offers an excellent free credit reporting service. While other companies offer some limited free credit reporting, they don’t offer as much as Credit Karma. For packages that are more complete than Credit Karma’s, you’ll have to pay for a subscription.
So, for basic credit reports with some extra help, Credit Karma is a great option. But if you’re looking for the most in-depth information available, a paid competitor will provide you with more and better information.