My short bio: I founded Credit Karma in 2007 with the mission to make it easier and more transparent for people to interact with their finances. To date, we have given away over a quarter billion credit scores and reports for free.

My Proof: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/redditama?source=feed_text&story_id=10152884444825465

Update Thank you for the questions and the interest in us and the industry.

Comments: 1564 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

ken272381151 karma

How does credit karma make money?

CredditKarma2602 karma

This is a very fair and important question. When we pull credit, we are able to determine how much you are currently paying for your loans. When we see an opportunity for you to save money, we will point it out.

If you take advantage of that opportunity, we should make money, you should save money, and the bank should get a new customer. The loser in the equation was that bank that was charging too much.

The most important part is that you are under no obligation to click or use any of the offers. Many users don't. And I suspect many of you have ad-block. That is okay. We are as mission driven around education and access as we are a for-profit business.

Also let me point out that we don't make money by selling your information. It is against our privacy policy and we hate those tactics as much as you do.

madeapizza564 karma

Do I really get a free credit score?

CredditKarma1010 karma

Absolutely, we don't ask for a credit card and there are no hidden fees. We have over 30 million users many of whom are Redditors including myself.

drocks27505 karma

Thank you for actually being free instead of freecredditreport.com! What's one thing you think everyone could do, but don't, that would improve their credit?

CredditKarma441 karma

The first part is looking. Many consumers still don't access their report or score until they use it. This is a problem. Reports have errors and consumers need to be proactive about fixing it.

Once you take that first step, I would suggest reducing debt and hard inquiries. The first part is not always solvable. You can only reduce debt when you have the funds. The second part is a common mistake. People apply for everything under the sun when they need money. This creates many hard inquiries which further lowers your score. Find the right product by doing research before you apply.

cive66615 karma

I would just like to say that CreditKarma emailed me when a civil judgement was entered on my credit report, which means someone took me to court over a debt and won. The thing is I never got a summons or called by a debt collector. It was for an old apartment complex that I moved out of free and clear, so I was really confused.

Knowing that it hit my credit report right away was a big help because I was buying a car 3 months later.

I had to get a lawyer, and it turned out it was put on my credit report by mistake because, get ready for this, a person with the same first name as me stayed at the same apartment complex as me a year after I moved out. They weren't even in the same building as me, let alone unit.

The lawyers got it removed for 500 dollars, but it has taught me a lot about how to dispute erroneous claims.

CreditKarma is worth it, thank you.

CredditKarma12 karma

That is awesome. I'll share this with the team.

Cschrick210 karma

I work for a company that pulls actual credit for customers through Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. Why do the credit scores pulled by your company typically come in far higher or lower than what their actual credit score is when pulled through the same reporting agencies?

CredditKarma357 karma

First there is no one actual score. As long a lender is using the model, it is a real score. There are hundreds of scores in use. Banks decide which bureau and which scoring algorithm to use based on cost and accuracy.

Credit Karma can't buy all the score as a matter of fact all of the scores are not for sale. We try to put out a representative sample. That is why we had TransRisk and Vantage that we purchased directly through the bureaus with no adjustments. I think more times people with big discrepancies will post and complain (which I understand). The data says that by and large credit scoring models are highly correlated.

Ninja Edit for Typo

wolfmanpraxis39 karma

Oddly enough, CK was 100 points lower than what Trans had on file for me. I was concerned when I applied for an Auto loan. I ended up with a much more favorable rate due to the Trans score than I would have expected with CK.

CredditKarma85 karma

We are moving to the same score that TU sell, the Vantage 3.0, as part of our roll out.

zonination145 karma

Hello /u/credditkarma!

First off, I just wanted to thank you for making scoring estimates and credit education easy and accessible to consumers. The information contained in CreditKarma got me started on studying the FICO algorithm, and eventually it got to the point where I was able to write a good portion of the Credit FAQ in /r/personalfinance.

I have a two part question:

  • Out of curiosity, is the algorithm just a quick mockup of FICO, or do you and your team often make adjustments based on statistical evidence in comparison to other FICO scores?

  • Excited for the addition of EQ. Will your EQ estimate be separate from the TU estimate, or will CreditKarma mesh them together? (i.e., how will the scoring change with the addition of Equifax?)

CredditKarma163 karma

Out of curiosity, is the algorithm just a quick mockup of FICO, or do you and your team often make adjustments based on statistical evidence in comparison to other FICO scores?

We leave the algorithm to the experts meaning we don't create or adjust the score. We buy them from the bureaus and show them as-is. We do try to make the more valuable by adding context and reference points.

Excited for the addition of EQ. Will your EQ estimate be separate from the TU estimate, or will CreditKarma mesh them together? (i.e., how will the scoring change with the addition of Equifax?)

Keep in mind our scores are not estimates. They are actual scores used by banks, particularly the Vantage 3.0 model that we just launched is . The scores and reports will not be combined. They will be shown side by side in real time so that you compare and contrast the difference. We think this is a key part of the education.

TheHellsage27 karma

When will the Equifax data be available in the Android app (provided, of course, that you haven't already rolled it out)?

CredditKarma73 karma

The Android beta is on my phone. Hope to have it out in January.

sooprcow16 karma

What about a Windows Phone App?

CredditKarma44 karma

We have one. I think we are squashing a few bugs before we re-release it.

chintzy132 karma

Thanks for your website my wife and I both use it to get a general idea of where my credit is going.

What are your thoughts on the recent changes for how the FICO score calculates medical debt?

CredditKarma255 karma

It is a good thing. I think we can all empathize with how uncontrollable medical situations are. The fact that something so random could destroy your financial well being is terrifying to me.

NetworkGuyMN118 karma

What is the highest and lowest credit score you've heard of? I used to work in a finance department at a car dealership, and the lowest I saw was a 303.

CredditKarma157 karma

I have limited access to user data so my sample size is fairly narrow. It also really depends on the score range. Some ranges are as low as 150. This is why we stress the meaning rather than the three digit number. Context is extremely important in the credit world.

everdayimdevelopin117 karma

Does it work in Canada?

CredditKarma197 karma

No Canada but we think the landscaped has changed enough for us to take a second look in 2015.

TupacalypseN0w93 karma

I have used your site for a while. However, recently I have noticed increased TV advertising for Credit Karma, and it has somewhat irked me.

Do you feel that there is a negative connotation between TV ads and credit reports? freecreditreport.com and other false advertising sites like that come to mind. How do you stop viewers from throwing you in that same boat?

CredditKarma113 karma

Our user growth has powered the increase in features like Equifax. It also allows us to push innovation in the space.

Specifically to your point, we hope that users like you will help differentiate us from the other players. We believe that building a service and brand that you trust is something that we have to earn over time. We spend most of our time on our product. Our marketing team is fairly small which is maybe why the commercials irk you :)

thelonelyhero73 karma

What did you do before Credit Karma? Were you in a related field? did that lead you to your vision for Credit Karma? How did you get the idea for Credit Karma?

I just want to thank you for Credit Karma, i recommend it to all kinds of people and have used it myself! I think it's great that you guys are helping so many people by making this information available for free to all!

CredditKarma159 karma

My first job was at a credit card company building statistical models and internal credit scores. My degree is in economic and statistics. I eventually moved into internet marketing after the credit card company.

I founded Credit Karma after realizing that maybe we could build service that could help consumers and make money at that same time. Google was a long standing inspiration. It is a very long story on our trials and tribulations but after 4 or 5 years, we started to gain real traction with consumers. The growth with users has allowed us to expand the team and the offering. Equifax is a huge win for our members.

delta_2660 karma

I notice you have a big presence in Google. How big is your SEO team and what are your general strategies?

CredditKarma81 karma

For a long time, it was just me for SEO strategy and one or two content writers. I think we win because of persistence. We always focused on original content and white hat strategies. Boring answer but it is the truth.

refuse_human50 karma

At the end of the day/year/decade, only white hat strategies produce consistent results anyway - having seen many black hatters crash and burn, that's the hilarious irony of the "secret to SEO".

CredditKarma58 karma

I completely agree. It takes time and patience to make SEO work. Most companies have neither.

thebabybananagrabber7 karma

Can you add TouchID support to the app?? As well as 6 and 6+ resolutions!?

CredditKarma9 karma

Product team tells me TouchID is slated for a Feb release and we already support all resolutions.

CredditKarma4 karma

Let me ask the product team.

icydog53 karma

I'm logged in but still only see TransUnion. Is this a gradual rollout? When is it expected to be completed?

CredditKarma102 karma

It is gradual. It is fairly complicated for us given we have to roll it out to over 30 million members.

supercoolbeez48 karma

Why do you think the credit industry is so complicated? You stated yourself that your score could be different than what a lender might see based on what system they are using. Why not one system? Why can I not pull up my credit score every day on an app like I do my bank account without getting dinged for it? I just dont understand how something that is basically the crux of personal finance is such a mysterious entity.

CredditKarma86 karma

Great set of questions

  • Complication arises from the fact that scores were built for lenders and statisticians. Consumers were not the intended audience.
  • The differences in score arise from competition and the prediction of different events. The early indicators for default on a home mortgage are slightly different than that of a credit card. Also competition arose from that fact that everyone positions their models as better than the other guys.
  • Lastly, you aren't dinged for checking your own score. Only for applying for too many products. The misconceptions arises from that fact that both are called inquiries but soft inquiries like the ones we use don't hurt your score like hard inquiries do like when you apply for a loan.

Kidballa22 karma

Why would you get "dinged" for applying for a loan?

CredditKarma98 karma

Someone told me this analogy once: If you were at a party and you saw a stranger ask everyone for money, would you think they were more risky than the person who just asked one person for a loan. Now certainly there are exceptions like when rate shopping for which there is an adjustment.

varothen14 karma

I feel like this analogy could be much snappier... Makes a good point though

CredditKarma46 karma

I'm a terrible story teller.

Titzleb31 karma

Your username is great!

What hobbies do you have?

CredditKarma88 karma

I love StarCraft 2, playing and watching GSL. Skiing, cooking, and tennis are my other hobbies.

WTFDOITYPEHERE7 karma

[deleted]

CredditKarma12 karma

Zerg

chokemo_girls29 karma

Why are you needed? What sets you apart?

CredditKarma88 karma

Why are you needed?

Credit access is tremendously important for most US consumers given its impact on interest rates, housing, and even auto insurance rate. AnnualCreditReport.com is a great site and government mandated but it only provides one report from each of the three major bureaus once per year. Moreover, there is no credit score which many consumers expect.

What sets you apart?

We have always been free and never used the free trial tactic. We are also very focused on education. We spend quite a bit of resources tools that help people understand the system.

With the addition of Equifax data, we are pushing the industry forward by providing more free access.

HighZenDurp27 karma

Kudos to you for adding Equifax... Can Credit Karma users expect to receive the same great free service for years to come? Or does something like this imply that monthly fees are coming soon

CredditKarma74 karma

We hate monthly fees and hope our members prove that our model is better.

Sarge176826 karma

Do you get many thanks for what you do?

I just signed up on CK after reading this and some research, and got an $80 collection eliminated . I never even knew it was there, my ex used my old credit card.

So thank you.

CredditKarma39 karma

We get a decent amount of good will email. They always motivate me particularly if I have a bad work issue. So thank you.

dequeued26 karma

What do you think about the practice of credit portals not listing credit cards and other financial products when they don't have referral programs?

Is that something that Credit Karma does? I'm trying to figure out why your best cash back credit cards page doesn't list the Sallie Mae card and some other clearly superior cash back cards above the Chase Freedom card.

edit: I'm not sure why this post is now a top "controversial" comment, but it is.

edit:

I created a Google spreadsheet to show you what I'm talking about. I compared the results from searching on Credit Karma, searching on NerdWallet, and the top cards page from CreditCards.com (and I added the Fidelity AmEx since all three leave it out, but it is recommended elsewhere often).

CredditKarma29 karma

We have dozens if not hundreds of products for which we make no referral revenue on the site. This is simply one: https://www.creditkarma.com/reviews/credit-card/single/id/walmart-credit-card

One of our core platform values is certainty of approval. It has weight in our recommendation engine. When we have no relationship with the bank, we don't understand the approval requirements. We also don't know their current terms. This matters if our goal is to get you products for which you are approved.

dequeued12 karma

Thanks for replying. I am looking at:

  1. https://beta.creditkarma.com/shop/creditcards/searchcc#
  2. https://beta.creditkarma.com/shop/creditcards/cash_back

The review information for cards is very helpful and the beta pages for individual cards are much better than the old ones (more information on one page, thank you for that), but it seems to be impossible to get certain popular cards to show up in results when searching on Credit Karma. Even that Walmart card doesn't show up.

CredditKarma35 karma

I'll file a ticket to investigate.

paintingunicorn18 karma

I tried to get my credit score once but it told me you have to be at least 18 years and 1 month old. Why the extra month? Why an age minimum at all?

CredditKarma38 karma

You technically aren't supposed to have a score until you are 18. I don't recall why the extra month.

quasi-psuedo17 karma

Do you typically see users "hit it and quit it"? Or do people stick around to actually monitor credit rather than just look at it?

CredditKarma25 karma

Mixture of both. To each their own, giving people the option is our mission.

ellakay1115 karma

I see a lot of differences on my two reports - I don't really understand why that's happening. It's very frustrating and I thought I was doing much better?

CredditKarma47 karma

Historically, credit bureaus were regional. Banks would report to the bureau near them. As a result, the data would vary from bureau to bureau. As data transfers improved and the bureaus merged, this became better and many banks did report to all bureaus. But some banks still only report to one bureau. Lenders are not required to report to a bureau. They are only required to report accurate data if they do.

This creates discrepancies for some users based on bureaus. It is not ideal but it an artifact of the system. The solution is to look at the reports, look for errors, and fix issues as they arise. This is why we think access is so important.

Longhornmaniac815 karma

What are your thoughts on credit card churning? According to every report I've seen, my score is pretty high (>750 now). As someone who loves traveling, I'm very interested in the potential of churning credit cards for miles. I've done it a little bit and actually seen my score go up, which jells with what I know about how credit scores work.

A lot of people seem to be convinced it's a death sentence for a credit score, but everything I know about it would indicate with a solid history, the minor factors that are negative, namely age of accounts and credit inquiries, are outweighed by your utilization decreasing.

Any thoughts on the topic?

CredditKarma12 karma

Candidly, I think if your score is high enough, it is a perfect way to use your good score. I have done it in the past. A good credit score should help you save money. You should not waste money to build a good score.

Mettephysics13 karma

Thanks to your site I watched my credit go from 620 to almost 800 in the six months after I left my ex husband (who controlled finances) it was super encouraging.

Do you know why Canada and the US don't share credit information? I was surprised upon moving here that I had no credit even though the scoring system in Canada seems to be the same. What's up with that?

investtherestpls17 karma

Not OP, but laws are different in different countries, and the bureaus are NOT allowed to share data across borders. IE, Equifax Canada, US, UK are all discrete, no sharing happens at all,

YMMV, but talk to any multinational financial co you had links with before. Amex do a global transfer which can really kickstart your credit in a new country. Amex is the best. Unfortunately most of the others in the US don't have much presence in Canada. If you had history with Chase or Capital One, try them. MBNA is now owned by TD and has no links back.

CredditKarma18 karma

This answer is probably better than mine regarding the laws. I can't speak for the YMMV part.

hungovergames13 karma

My credit score is 430... It was up to 720 6 months ago, but due to loss of work and homelessness I couldn't pay my monthly fees. How long will it take to get back to a decent score?

CredditKarma16 karma

YMMV. I suggest getting current is the first step. Depending on your means, this will help the most. Once you do that, you can often rebuild credit in 12-18 months provided that you don't sustain any more derogs.

The_John_Galt2 karma

How often do balances, hard pulls etc. Updated? Is as it goes, a few times a month?

CredditKarma5 karma

Usually each lender reports once a month. The date is on our site and the credit report so you can find out specifically.

The_John_Galt2 karma

So how do hard pull alerts work? Can you provide an exact breakdown of score or is there a nondisclosure agreement?

CredditKarma4 karma

Hard pulls are almost real time when you apply. For example, we will send you a notice as soon as it hits our system. We have monitoring on a nightly basis.

PrettyBrittie1 karma

Why are the numbers provided by Credit Karma different than my actual report?

CredditKarma1 karma

We pull in real time and reports and data can change at any point that a lender reports. Our reports are direct from the bureaus and in our testing there are virtually no differences in the reports. The scores can be different depending on what scoring algorithm was used.

reseph0 karma

Any chance you could stop email notifications with sensationalized titles? For example, I got this email recently:

‚úČ name, Your Attention Please: A Friendly Reminder.

These kind of emails that have a useless subject line just make me want to delete my account, regardless of what website it is.

CredditKarma3 karma

Email subject lines are a delicate balance. We try not to be annoying or noise. We try to limit members to less than 2 email per month on average. If you aren't finding value in the emails, feel free to opt-out.