When you obsess about your credit score, you let the credit industry win. Stop thinking of money as something you borrow - but as something you own. When you do that, you won't care about your credit score at all - and ironically, you will be offered the best deals in town.
UPDATE: The Credit Karma site works well, although you have to provide your social security number for them to find your credit score. Since I already know my credit score and just printed out my credit report, I did not need this information, but what Credit Karma provided, of course was identical to what I got from annualcreditreport.com and from my credit card company.
The full credit report is listed as in "Beta" mode and it did work.
As expected, there is an "offers" page and they want to sell you credit card deals. The offers all claim they will save me money, but at 7% APR already and a $0 balance there is not much to be saved right now. The Discover offer was "0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%" and personally, I think Discover is a waste - no one takes it.
A Barclay Card offer is similar - "0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness."
|Avg. Rewards Rate||Sign Up Bonus Value||Annual Fees||Your Earnings|
|calculated||over 1 year|
|2.00%||$400||$89 - waived first year||$900|
What the site HYPES in large letters is REWARDS - cash back stuff. They claim you will make as much as $900 a year in rewards cash back. But in order to get $900 based on 2% rewards, I would have to charge a whopping $45,000 on my credit card, every year. I don't spend that much money, period.
And with the high interest rates, the rewards will be wiped out in short order, if I fail to pay off the balance for even one or two months. Sorry, but these sorts of deals are faux financial acumen at it worst. Savings is what you put in the bank, not what you charge on credit card.
Note that they make taking one of these offers as simple as falling off a log. Be sure you don't click on "take offer" by accident.
Note also that maybe one reason my credit card companies are offering free credit scores is so that I won't go to CreditKarma and thus not shop around my credit cards. It may explain why credit score, once considered an industry secret, is being handed out like candy these days.
UPDATE February 2015: As one reader noted, there is more than one FICO score, which ranges between 300 and 850. Higher scores indicate lower credit risk. Each individual actually has more than 49 credit scores for the FICO scoring model because each of three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, has its own database. Generally, anything 770 and above will qualify for the best loan terms. To get such a score, you basically don't need to borrow money. Catch-22.
Credit Karma seems to show more of a real-time scoring scenario:
Thanks for your input! We're working hard to make sure we can find you the best offers based on your profile.
of Credit Karma members chose the same answer as you!
Interesting statistic. And yet, everyone I meet claims to "pay off their balance every month". According to the Credit Card industry, 70% of us are lying.
Credit Karma has a "recommendation" tailored especially for me! I click on the link and it is to the Discover 0% 18 months rollover deal. Not so much a tailored offer is it? If they have access to my credit report, they should know the balances I have on my credit cards are ZERO and ZERO. Nevertheless, they claim a "savings" of $295 if I roll over this non-existent balance. Of course, there is a 3% fee for rolled over balances. The savings of $295 are from "cash-back" bonuses of 1.18% - which would require spending a whopping $25,000 on the card every year!
Thanks but no thanks, I've done the bit with Discover and it was no real bargain.
So, what's the conclusion? CreditKarma is no scam, but it is selling you poor bargains and the mindset that you can "get ahead" with cash-back offers and by spending cleverly. This is the more horrific mindset to get into, if you really want to get ahead. Not spending money is the idea, not spending it more creatively.
And obsessing about your credit score is also a bad idea. If you are constantly worried about how much more money you can borrow, your finances are in a ruin. Stop borrowing, stop spending, and start saving.
If you do, your credit scores will look like the ones above - but you really won't care.