Have you checked your credit score lately? If you want to buy a house or apply for an auto loan, you'll need a good credit score to qualify. Credit Karma offers free credit scores and credit reports, as well as tips for boosting your score.
What Is Credit Karma?
CreditKarma.com is a website and mobile app that offers free credit reports and information on scores by simply subscribing to its service. You'll also get a form of free credit monitoring, with the site notifying you when something changes, which can alert you right away if you're ever a victim of identity theft. As the technology learns more about your credit activity, you'll get insights that can help you boost your score.
Video of the Day
Although Credit Karma is a valuable personal finance site, there are some things to know before you sign up. You'll need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number and give permission to Credit Karma to gather data about your spending habits. Credit Karma will also deliver different credit options, promotions and notifications from paid advertisers targeted specifically toward you.
Consider also: What Is Credit Karma?
Why Use Credit Karma?
Improving your finances and credit can take time and checking your score can be challenging. You're entitled to one yearly free credit report from all three credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com, but if you're working hard to improve your credit, once a year won't be enough. Worse, that credit report doesn't include your credit score.
So how do you get your score? Some credit cards and lenders offer access to your score as a member perk, but if not, you'll have to pay a service to give you the number. Credit Karma serves as a free way to keep up with your credit score throughout the year.
Consider also: How to Get a TRW Credit Report
Improving Your Credit
Knowing your score is only the first step. Credit Karma provides a service that helps you boost your score. This service, called Credit Builder, is currently available to those with a score of 620 or lower, who are new to credit and need help boosting their score. It's a great way to strengthen your credit profile in advance of buying a house or trying to land a personal loan.
Credit Builder is part of Credit Karma's banking solution, Credit Karma Money. The service includes a Spend and Save account, with the Save account offering higher-than-average interest rates. Credit Builder issues a line of credit without impacting your credit history, then reports the activity to help you improve your score.
Consider also: 3 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
Credit Karma offers free credit scores and credit reports, as well as tips for boosting your score.
Using Credit Karma Direct Dispute
One of the best things about Credit Karma is that you can stay on top of your credit health and financial goals. But seeing your credit information is only the first part. Credit Karma can help you clear up any inaccuracies in your credit accounts and immediately improve your score.
You don't need CreditKarma.com to dispute errors on your credit report. It's also important to note that Direct Dispute only helps you resolve errors on your TransUnion report. For Experian or Equifax, you'll need to reach out directly.
Credit Karma is a big help with that, though. Credit issuers and major consumer credit bureaus make mistakes, so getting a free credit report lets you review every line item and find reported activities that don't match your own payment history. You can get to Equifax's error disputing section through a button on the Credit Karma site.