CreditKarma gives borrowers a way to check and track their credit profiles at no cost. The company banks off referral earnings instead of upfront fees. This means you have access to free credit reports and scores through the CreditKarma website. Even better, the credit reports are now available once a week at no cost.
In April of 2015, CreditKarma rolled out a new credit monitoring service for borrowers with “thin” credit files. This makes it possible for these borrowers to get free tracking services, making it easier to build and repair credit.
CreditKarma made a blog post announcing their new credit monitoring program for thin-file borrowers. This post details what a thin file user could expect when using their free credit monitoring service.
The free CreditKarma service gives thin file users access to their full credit report. With this comes an explanation of why the credit reporting bureaus could not calculate your score. Their tracking service takes it a step further by giving you specific advice to build or repair your credit file.
Thin file borrowers also get access to many different credit-related tools. This includes credit line recommendations, interest rate calculators, and personal budget trackers. These are the features that are typically available to CreditKarma subscribers. You are getting the full value of a CreditKarma account, plus tailored help to get you out of the thin file rut.
CreditKarma also showcases different credit cards and loans. These offers are set to fit your needs and your credit profile. You will have a chance to see what other credit lines work for you when borrowing with a thin credit file. This makes it easier to plan out the steps and to actually take them, as the entire route to credit success gets handed to you.
15 million Americans qualify – are you one of them?
If you received a response from the credit reporting bureaus claiming you can’t get a credit score due to a thin film, then you qualify. If you haven’t tried to get a credit score, and your report is empty, you should still qualify.
Many types of borrowers can be guilty of having a thin credit file. CreditKarma suggests that most will fall under one of these groups:
Extraordinary circumstances might influence a “thin file” alert on your credit report. It’s imperative to make a request to the credit reporting bureaus for your credit report. You will always receive a credit report, even if you have nothing of substance to show. But, you will receive notification that you have a “thin file” if there is insufficient data to calculate your score.
This is still a new program, and we have yet to see its full potential. CreditKarma might advance the services offered here. There are many things they can do to assist thin-file borrowers, and it’s not just about triggering the bureaus to calculate a score.
The biggest concern is whether the free report matches what lenders see. This depends on whether the credit report you pull through CreditKarma is up-to-date with the credit report pulled by the lender. It also depends on which credit rating product the lender uses. For example, a FICO score can differ a lot from a VantageScore 3.0 rating. Each gets calculated differently, and the accuracy of what you see comes down to how close the calculation is to the one the lender uses.
One of the main reasons this happens is because lenders might pull your report from a different reporting bureau. But, CreditKarma no longer relies on TransUnion. This means you can get your credit report from both Equifax and TransUnion. As a result, it’s a slim chance that any major difference will get noticed between what you and the lender can see.
CreditKarma made many changes.
While the biggest change was implementing Equifax reports and scores, they also flipped the script by changing which score they show. This further supports the accuracy of the credit rating you see. Thus, increasing the chance of it lining up with what a lender will see.
Now, CreditKarma does not just rely on TransUnion TransRisk New Account credit score. The company also supplies users with their rating through the VantageScore 3.0 rating product. This is a huge transition, as it goes from focusing on a 1-bureau rating calculation to taking from all three bureaus.
The VantageScore 3.0 rating you receive is the accumulative calculation of your credit score. It takes information from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This serves as the closest estimator for any borrower, and it compares well against the FICO score.
Lenders often use this credit rating product to qualify borrowers for sub-prime loans. Before 2013, the score would range from 501 to 990, but now it ranges between 300 and 850.
The 3-bureaus use the following metrics to calculate your VantageScore 3.0 credit rating:
This makes for a great way for thin-file borrowers to split into the credit world. The VantageScore 3.0 rating focuses on supporting their goal to improve credit now. It’s not so much about what’s weighing you down from the past. It’s about how you want your score to change.
While your FICO score might be the most respected measurement of your credit strength, it’s not going to help if you have a thin file. There’s too much focus on not carrying a heavy credit balance. While the VantageScore only factors 9% for credit balances, a whopping 30% of the calculation factors what you owe now.
New credit only factors 10% on a FICO score, and 30% for the VantageScore. This means that new borrowers will qualify easier under the VantageScore metrics. So, the accuracy of your rating through CreditKarma is more accurate now than it was last year.
Using CreditKarma is easy.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
Many credit tracking services exist, but few offer their help at no cost. CreditKarma gives credit monitoring solutions to over 40 million Americans. This makes them one of the top players in the credit tracking industry.
Now, some might be set off because they think CreditKarma is not a free service. The truth is, just as their site states, every single part of what they offer is free of charge. They earn money by referring you to offers. In fact, as mentioned earlier, you can now even get a free credit report once a week through CreditKarma.
The benefits of a credit monitoring service are extensive. You get complete control over your credit information and insurance over identity theft threats. Repairing your credit will be easy, as you can watch your progress and see the effects of changes to your report. In entirety, this is a must-have for any borrower.
Some worry about CreditKarma because of the bad aura that surrounds free credit report businesses. This comes from a long history of companies dressing as free. But, it’s often just a trick to get you to join. Most of these free credit service providers end up charging after the free trial period is up.
CreditKarma is 100% free at all times. That’s the difference.
Not sure if CreditKarma is right for you? Find a comparison of free credit report websites to see what else is out there!