I'm Kenneth Lin, founder and CEO of Credit Karma. Yesterday we announced our truly free tax prep and filing service. AMA!
My Bio: I started Credit Karma in 2007 to help make credit easy to understand and really free. In the last nine years, we've given away over one billion credit scores and changed the market. Yesterday, we announced our goal to make tax preparation and filing truly free as well.
How does Credit Karma make money? 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.
How does tax make money? First, we believe giving people a $100 a year value is pretty awesome in itself. The business reasons are all lenders have an income threshold for approval. Many times, we know users are credit approved but they will get declined because income doesn't make the lender requirements. In this situation, we will know if you qualify with more certainty making for a much better experience. Just like before we are not selling your information.
Lastly, we think that over time we can really innovate in this space. For example, we can make sure you are getting your mortgage interest deduction if we see a mortgage on your credit report. Or we can make sure that you have the best rates on your mortgage which is the largest purchase consumers make.