If you are looking for ways to improve your credit score, there are two platforms that are known for doing such — it’s in fact a battle between Credit Sesame vs Credit Karma. In this comparative review, we will help you understand better these two tools — more so, we are going to discuss thoroughly what makes one different or similar to the other.
Perhaps some of you will agree if we say that your credit score can be considered as a financial asset. Well, it is in fact an underrated financial asset. While it is not something that you can buy or sell, your credit score can leave you thousands of dollars richer or poorer.
Why is that so?
Well, your credit score is key to a lot of things like it unlocks the best interest rates on loans such as a personal loan, or a car, and home loans; it allows you to get accepted (without too much hassle) for credit cards; and lastly, it is your key to be able to set up an account with an internet or phone provider.
With all that’s been said, it is not surprising why a lot of Americans work hard to ensure they have a good credit score.
Good thing there are platforms like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma. Both offer free credit monitoring services. These two are actually just two of the many who have earned popularity particularly these days in the wake of many data breaches.
By the way, just before we move on, we thought you may find these facts interesting — We were, a while ago, talking about the importance of good credit score to be able to take advantage of different benefits. But here are something we found from Fortunly, a website that offers insights about money. From the said site, it says that:
- More than 29.8% of Americans have a credit score of 680 or higher.
- 42.5% of America’s youth earning $49,999 or less per year have a credit score of 639 or lower, with only 24.6% reaching a score over 680.
- Nearly one in two people don’t pay off their credit balances each month.
- Only 12% of the US population has a FICO score (which is vital in order to get approval for loans) lower than 550.
- Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt
You see, from the above statistics alone, it only goes to show that credit monitoring services like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are indeed very important tools for a lot of people to achieve good or an ideal credit score.
But among the two, Credit Sesame and Credit Karma, which is a better (if not the best) option?
For us to be able to answer that question, we are going to look into the following:
- What is Credit Sesame/Credit Karma?
- What are the features offers by Credit Sesame/Credit Karma?
- What are the key differences between the two?
- What are the key similarities between the two?
- What credit bureaus does Credit Sesame/Credit Karma use?
- How accurate is the Credit Sesame/Credit Karma score is?
- How do both platforms make money?
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: BRIEF BACKGROUNDER
Before anything else, let us get to know each of the companies first. For any potential customer or user, it is important that you make time in getting to know the company before you even deal with it. Take note that you will be sharing very important personal information. Thus, it is just right to ensure that you are sharing it with a credible platform.
ABOUT CREDIT SESAME
Credit Sesame is a free credit monitoring platform that, according to the company itself, has “already helped millions of users improve their credit scores, increase their approval odds, lower the cost of credit and save money.”
The company, which was launched in 2010, and is currently based in Mountain View, California, has a membership that totals around 9 million based on what’s available online.
With Credit Sesame, you can use the tool anytime you want without having to worry about getting billed or something like that.
Now, when it comes to your personal information, the thing about Credit Sesame is that the company will only pull your information from just one credit bureau. In this case, your score will be based on your TransUnion credit file, and it’s based on the VantageScore 3.0.
In addition, Credit Sesame offers a slick interface. More so, we particularly like the fact that the company does not only provide you with your current score, but also some information about why you have such a score. You can also take advantage of their credit monitoring alerts by simply signing up.
To give you an idea, below are some features offered by Credit Sesame for free:
- Best Rates Available – The app/tool helps you find the best rates available on investment accounts, as well as personal loans, and auto insurance policies.
- Identity Theft Protection – Once you sign up on Credit Sesame, you immediately get a $50,000 worth of identity theft insurance and fraud resolution assistance — for FREE.
- Mobile App – Credit Sesame app is available for both Android and iOS mobile phone users. More so, it also has tools you can use for free on its website.
- Credit Card Suggestions – Based on the information you provided in your credit profile, the company suggests balance transfer, as well as rewards, offers that may be beneficial to you.
If you are interested to know more about Credit Sesame, check out below very insightful review by Rebecca Brand:
ABOUT CREDIT KARMA
Credit Karma was launched in San Francisco back in 2007. Having gained over 100 million subscribers to date, it is no wonder why Credit Karma is tagged as the largest free credit monitoring service in the country.
The primary and perhaps the ultimate draw of this tool is its free access to your credit score anytime, anywhere. But the thing is, Credit Karma offers more than just that. It also offers resources for your car, as well as tax preparation, and high yield savings account offering.
More so, it also allows you to take advantage of free estimated credit score, as well as free automatic credit alerts, email alerts should there be important changes that happened, as well as identity theft tracking and protection.
Unlike the previous one, Credit Karma is known to track your estimated score according to two different credit reports, which are TransUnion and Equifax. While the company did not disclose the exact monitoring model they use, some industry experts suggest that they are using either the VantageScore model or the TranUnion’s New Account score.
Credit Karma also takes pride of its free credit simulator, which takes into account all your current credit information, and then allows you to look into the different effects on your credit score depending on your movements. With the stimulator, Credit Karma users can easily figure out which financial choices will likely have a big impact on their credit score. This tool is definitely ideal for those who want to improve their credit score.
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: KEY FEATURES
Later on, we will be sharing a few things that are common and different between these two popular credit monitoring platforms, but first, here are some key features worth knowing:
- Free $50,000 worth of Fraud Insurance – Upon signing up with Credit Sesame, you will immediately get to take advantage of this special feature. With so much identity theft around and data breaches, this is so much helpful. Meanwhile, if you want a bigger coverage, you may do so by simply signing up for a Pro Credit subscription. This entitles you to a $1 million worth of identity insurance. Apart from the theft insurance, you also get a free helpline to talk with experts regarding the matter.
Unlike Credit Sesame, Credit Karma does not have awesome free insurance. However, they have their own set of amazing features which include:
- Free Unclaimed Cash – This may sound a little weird, but actually very common than you think. Basically, Credit Karma allows you to run a search for your name and state to check whether a business owes you money. For instance, you left town before your internet provider gets the chance to return your over-prices deposit. The provider will then turn the cash over to the state, and you can claim it overtime.
- Credit Score Stimulator – Credit Karma has a tool that helps estimate what will happen to your credit score under particular circumstances. This will give you an idea which move is ideal, and which ones are not.
- Miscellaneous Calculators – The Credit Karma dashboard comes with handy links to a few different calculators such as debt refinance calculator, mortgage repayment calculator, and more. While this is not entirely unique or ground-breaking, it won’t hurt to have.
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: KEY DIFFERENCES
Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are totally different from one another, it is not surprising that both have key differences.
For instance, although both of them can be used for free, Credit Sesame offers premium membership levels. The premium plans charge monthly fees for you to be able to use and take advantage of some features.
However, for this aspect, we will focus mainly on the free services offered by both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma.
Here’s what we found:
|ITEMS FOR COMPARISON||CREDIT SESAME||CREDIT KARMA|
|Credit Scores||TransUnion||TransUnion & Equifax|
|Credit Reports||None||TransUnion & Equifax|
|Identity Theft Protection and Insurance||Yes|
|Free Tax preparation and filing||None||Yes|
|Auto value, DMV and auto recall information||None||Yes|
|Unclaimed Money finder||None||Yes|
|High Yield Savings Account||None||Yes|
As you can see, Credit Karma offers a more comprehensive suite of products for free. As for Credit Sesame, it offers basic tools. Nonetheless, both are equally helpful.
Meanwhile, as mentioned, while Credit Sesame does offer a free membership option, it also has paid membership selections. These subscription plans are as follows:
- Advanced ($9.95 per month)
- Pro Credit ($15.95 per month)
- Platinum Protection ($19.95 per month)
For your reference, here’s what you will get from each of these premium services:
|Advanced Credit||Pro Credit||Platinum Credit|
Subscription Cost: |
$9.95 per month
What It Provides:
Daily credit score updates from TransUnion
Full credit reports each month from all three credit bureaus
Monthly credit score updates from all three major credit bureaus
Subscription Cost: |
$15.95 per month
What It Provides:
All that Advance Credit offers
Full identity protection
Credit monitoring with alerts for all three credit bureaus
24/7 access to live experts to help solve credit report inaccuracies
Subscription Cost: |
$19.95 per month
What It Provides:
All that Advance Credit and Pro Credit offer
24/7 access to live experts for stolen/lost wallet protection
Black market website monitoring
Public records monitoring
Social Security Number monitoring
For some, given the difference between the services offered by these two platforms based on the free version, what makes Credit Sesame standout over Credit Karma and its competitors is the fact that it offers $50,000 of identity theft insurance for free. This alone makes signing up with Credit Sesame worth it.
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: KEY SIMILARITIES
As we have said earlier, both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are popular free credit monitoring tools. While both of them have their key differences — because after all, they are two totally different platforms (they just sound alike, but both are entirely different from one another), they do have a few commonalities, which include:
- Both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma offers a free credit score.
- These two platforms show details of underlying factors that greatly impact your credit score.
- Both platforms provide free monitoring of your credit from any suspicious activity or fraud.
- Credit Sesame and Credit Karma give recommendations specifically on how you can improve your credit score.
- Both do not require you to share your credit card information when signing up.
- Last but not the least, both can be used for FREE!
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: CREDIT BUREAU USED
This time around we are going to look into the accuracy as well of the underlying information that both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma provides. Thus, let’s check the credit bureau being used by these two platforms.
For Credit Sesame, they access data from TransUnion. TransUnion is one of the three major Credit Reporting agencies that banks and other financial institutions rely on when it comes to calculating credit scores.
Meanwhile, Credit Karma is a bit leveled up when it comes to this aspect. Unlike the other, Credit Karma’s software accesses data from both TransUnion as well as Equifax. Having access to both definitely gives Credit Karma an obvious advantage over Credit Sesame. This also means you have the chance to catch suspicious activity in two out of three possible places.
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: ACCURACY OF CREDIT SCORE
For a lot of people, they may say that both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are accurate enough. But what does “enough” mean really, right?
Well, both credit monitoring platforms rely on a scoring model called VantageScore 3.0. It is an actual credit score and was developed as a joint venture between TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Unfortunately, though, most lenders do not use the VantageScore. Instead, most lenders use the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) scores. While this may be confusing, at the end of the day, it should not greatly affect the information you get. As in one government study, it says that they found all the different scoring models to still place consumers in similar credit quality categories — about 73% to 80% of the time.
So, between the two, who gives better accuracy? Well, it’s a draw. Both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma, after all, use the same tool. While it’s not 100% accurate, both are close enough for monitoring purposes.
CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA: HOW THEY MAKE MONEY
Perhaps you are wondering how both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma make money when they can be freely used by consumers. Well, that is a very legit question.
Credit Sesame and Credit Karma make money through referrals from both banks and credit card companies. When you use either of these platforms, do not be surprised if you see ads for pre-qualified loans, credit cards, and more.
These ads should not be bothersome at all — unless of course, you are the type who drives completely nuts when seeing ads.
Meanwhile, for Credit Sesame, apart from the ads, they also earn from their premium services, which range from $10 to $20 per month.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CREDIT SESAME VS CREDIT KARMA
As you can see, both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma are great at what they do. However, while both offer credit monitoring services, they do have their respective highs and lows. Thus, choosing which among the two is better will ultimately depend on your personal taste or preference.
For instance, if you have poor credit and want to work on improving it, Credit Sesame would be a better choice. Meanwhile, if you are planning to apply for a major loan soon, Credit Karma’s reports from two bureaus would be a great advantage.
So, allow us to ask you, what it is that you are looking for in a credit monitoring platform? More so, what are your plans or goals that involve a good credit standing? These are just some helpful questions for you to be able to decide which platform to sign up for.