Getting an accurate credit score and finance monitoring service is something that more often than not happens on the internet these days. Since the need for better websites that do this kind of thing is on the rise, it comes as no surprise that the competition in this field gets evermore professional and secure.
Websites like Credit Karma are not only competing against other similar websites like CreditCheckTotal360, they’re also competing against professional financial advisors who operate on the internet.
This means that we can expect two things from our credit score services. One, we are expecting to get more accurate readings on the current status of our credit score; and two, we expect these sites to be as secure as possible.
What is Credit Karma?
Credit Karma is a fairly straightforward credit score monitoring service that provides its users with status reports about their current credit score ratings.
Furthermore, it guides its users towards some solutions they might apply in order to get a better credit score in the future. It does this by combining different types of reports and calculating them into the FICO score almost every loan service and bank in the US uses. The accuracy of this calculation Credit Karma does is inside the margin of error, which means that the score may vary by 1 or 2 points from your actual FICO score.
This kind of service is not a new thing on the internet.
However, Credit Karma offers this service for free and thus enabling even those of us who haven’t had a chance or incentive to try this kind of financial monitoring out to give it a shot without the fear of being charged for it.
Credit Karma site is straightforward
The site is fairly simple in design, but has some flaws. For a service that offers itself for free, it has to make money in one way or the other. It does this by engaging in putting ads wherever it can on its website. At least, that’s how it feels like. Not really a technical problem as much as it is a bad design choice, these ads give the site somewhat of a “trashy” impression.
Credit Karma is no scam. Far from it. But, it could do much better if the ads and the overall design of the website was a bit more fleshed out to accommodate the seriousness every one of us has while engaging into giving out personal financial data. If the customer doesn’t feel comfortable giving his or her credit information to a credit service, then something is wrong.
The other thing I addressed here was the fact that adverts play a big role in financing the service we can use for free. And sure, I’m aware that this kind of website is going to feature particular kind of adverts, mainly financial ones. However, here is another thing that can make customers feel uneasy using the site. The adverts simply feel like pushing a certain agenda on how you have to handle your money. The site suggests financial solutions tied to the institutions it’s promoting, which can be unappealing at times.
Under the hood
Now that we’ve talked about some of the aspects the facade of Credit Karma is showing, we need to take a better look at the services the website is offering.
Like many other credit score monitoring services, it offers a variety of credit score reports from different sources. It does this through their tool set, that is often most used by the customers getting familiar with new websites like this. That’s why I like to first take a look at these tools and see what they can do for you.
Credit score simulator is the standard tool for calculating your current credit score rating. It utilizes a number of processes to get as close as possible to the FICO credit score number we need. This tool is nothing special and can be accessed on many similar sites. However, Credit Karma offers in addition great tips on what can be done to change the credit score you currently have, which is somewhat convenient to have all of this in one place.
Home Affordability Calculator is a tool that simply tells you how much you can afford to pay monthly for a house you’re buying. It’s nothing special from a mathematical point of view. It does the calculation the way a few simple key strokes on your calculator could do.
Debt Repayment Calculator is another fairly easy tool that can be utilized on the go. If you’re looking for quick way to calculate the rate in which you can pay off your debt in a given timeframe, then this calculator can be handy.
Simple Loan Calculator is, as the name suggests, a simple calculator for calculating your loans. Nothing more. It has three fields you can fill out (loan amount, interest rate, number of years) in order to calculate a fairly easy operation.
Amortization Calculator is one of the more interesting tools on this site. It takes into account your possibilities to off your debt and calculates a steady and efficient way of getting rid of it. The tool requires basic information about the debt you want to amortize and gives you some numbers you can work with.
Credit Karma’s help towards a better credit score
Until this point, we’ve only talked about analysis. And while it is an important thing in finance to know the type of credit score you have and what your current status is, it is nothing more than a utensil for getting something done with your money. Here’s where Credit Karma’s advice section comes into play. It is broken down into a number of categories that will help you tackling a specific financial issue.
Auto insurance will help you find the best insurance for your car within the possibilities of your current credit score. Auto loans advises you on the best loans your current credit score rating can get you if you are looking in buying a new car.
Bankruptcy is not something we want to think about when monitoring our credit score. However, it is an important aspect in the personal finance world, and Credit Karma is there to advise you, even in the worst case scenario.
Credit cards advice helps you find the best credit cards with your current credit score. And not only that. Credit Karma will help you choose the best way to use your credit cards as well, so you credit rating reaches it maximum potential.
The Credit Karma community
If you’re considering trying Credit Karma out, you should know that they have a lively community which can help you not only get into using the service, but also get great ideas on how to improve you credit score. Like all communities, they expect that you share your positive experience and tips and tricks with them. On the Credit Karma forum, there are a lot of FAQ that will help every new user to get into using this online credit score service.
While Credit Karma is not a service that will revolutionize credit score websites, it does a fairly good job nonetheless. The financial tools in combination with the advice it offers can help you get a more comprehensive look at your current credit score options as well as the kind of behavior you should avoid in the future.
From a design perspective, the site could be a bit more intuitive, since the service is free and will most likely be visited by amateurs in the field of personal finance. However, once you get into the inner workings of the website and services it offers, Credit Karma can become one of the best go to online services you can think of.