Credit Karma / Credit Sesame Informative - Free Credit Scores
ANYTOWN USA -- Deceptive, Dishonest, Misleading. In case you can't tell I'm talking about most of those 'free credit score' claims you see these days from the likes of freecreditreport.com which is far from free but on the other hand it has a hip house band singing their catchy jingles. Was a fan of the band until they replaced the good looking guy with the fro-headed bridge troll. Sorry, just can't get into that grove.
I've got some good news to share for those looking for a truly free credit score. There's a couple of sites out there that offer credit scores with credit report summaries for absolutely FREE without requiring a credit card and without any strings attached or any obligations whatsoever. They are Credit Karma (www.creditkarma.com) and Credit Sesame (www.creditsesame.com).
Both the sites are basically the same. You create an account by supplying your name, address and social security number. Then you take the standard pop quiz based upon your credit report in order to verify you is who you say you is. Same type quiz you take at www.annualcreditreport.com (free but no free credit score). Once the account is created BAM you got a credit score.
The credit scores supplied are not FICO scores (used by most lenders) but rather proprietary credit (FAKO) scores. Credit Karma gives you the TransRisk and Vantage scores from Transunion while Credit Sesame gives you an Experian credit score. Again, these are NOT the actual scores used by most creditors but it's a darn good approximation. In my case the three scores provided were fairly close to their actual FICO equivalent. An added bonus you can update the scores anytime you want and as often as you want for FREE.
Credit Karma is a great place to find and research credit card offers. Hey, they got your credit score so of course hooking you up with the best offer from one of their advertisers is a no brainer. On the plus side of the targeted advertising is you'll be presented with credit offers you are qualified to get. I used credit karma to get a sweet Visa card with $150 instant cash back, 5% cash back on selected categories, 1% cash back on all other purchases, no annual fee and no interest until Feb-2013. Pretty awesome.
Credit Sesame offers more in the way of tools and advice than targeted credit offers. I haven't played with the site all that much so I'm not sure of the angle. Their tools don't appeal too much to me but it might be of help to others. I do dig the free Experian score.
Now of course giving your social security number and other personal information over the internet is a risky proposition. I'm sure many are not comfortable doing this. Both sites have all the usual security measures and certifications. Both sites absolutely claim not to sell personal information to third parties but however they will both use your info to Target you for credit offers. As with all matters of risk and money you and only you are responsible for your due diligence.
Check it out.