I talked about Credit Karma in my Points & Miles 101 series and how it’s a great service to get an accurate estimate of your credit score for free. Recently, they just enhanced their service by including your credit report for free with no strings attached!
Typically, the only way to get a free credit report was to use the government’s website (www.annualcreditreport.com) which allowed you to access your credit reports from each of the three big credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Transunion and Experian – once a year. With that method, it’s important to note that you have the choice to access all three reports at once or you could spread them out over the year, for example downloading one of the reports every 4 months, so you always have a more current credit report. Thankfully Credit Karma’s credit report is available without any restrictions, it’s updated weekly with any new information and it can be viewed every time you log into your account at Credit Karma.
While the credit score Credit Karma estimates for you is not your exact credit score but rather a rough estimate of what it is based on their own proprietary algorithms, these credit reports Credit Karma is producing is your ACTUAL Transunion credit report! Let me repeat that – this is your real, live, accurate Transunion credit report – not some estimate or guess to what it is like their credit score calculator.
To check this, I downloaded my Transunion credit report for free via annualcreditreport.com and compared it to the credit report on Credit Karma. Credit Karma was reporting 32 accounts (both open and closed) which actually sounded a bit high to me. I cross checked that to my actual Transunion report and it in fact, matched perfectly! If Transunion reported an account opened or closed, Credit Karma showed the same identical information with no discrepancies. Credit Karma even notified me that on my credit report the credit limit on one of my cards was not being picked up. I sure enough checked my Transunion report and saw the credit line field for that card was blank. I intend to followup with Transunion to see what the issue is and to get that fixed. I compared a few other items and I could not find any differences between the two reports.
To summarize, Credit Karma has added an awesome benefit for FREE for its users that everyone should use. It’s smart to maintain good credit health but checking your credit score and credit reports if you are involved in the points & miles game is even more vital as you need to make sure everything is being reported to the credit agencies correctly. If not, this could impact your credit score and lead you to getting denied for huge signup bonus on credit cards that you actually are entitled to. And that means no free travel 😦