Credit Karma – Is Free Worth It?

By Bob Brooks
January 5, 2015

Every time I come across a company advertising a great deal, I always want to read the fine print. The devil, so to speak, is always in the details. advertises that you can receive a 100% free credit report, credit score, and credit monitoring. The big selling point is that you don’t have to enter in a credit card number and it always remains free.

The commercial starts with a skeptical girl checking out the web-site and looking for the catch – where they ask for your credit card. Her friend walks in the room and assures her no credit card is needed and it is really free. Once she realizes there are no catches, she acts as if she has found credit utopia. What the commercial doesn’t show is her reading the fine print.

Yes it is true. You do get all of the advertised free services. However, you give a lot up for those free services – privacy.

Here is what their terms and conditions say:

we will never provide third parties with your credit report or credit score, but we may use your credit report, credit score and other relevant information that you provide to us while using the Services to match you with offers for financial products and services from our marketing partners.

Basically, you give them the permission to give your information to their marketing partners. Once they do, get ready for the flood of offers in your email and all of the solicitations that you are bound to receive. There really is no need for them to share your scores. Credit Karma will just match your information up for their marketing partners. Is free worth that?

Then there are the security issues. Their fine print states the following:

By registering for an account or using the Services, you accept all responsibility for maintaining the confidentiality of your password, controlling and limiting access to your account, and for all activities that occur under your account or password.

If they are going to store your data, shouldn’t they accept some responsibility for keeping your data safe? Where is the incentive? After all, they already have your information which for them is the valuable commodity. If there is a data breach, it is ok because you are responsible. Although they talk about security on their site, I question if they are willing to spend whatever money it takes to protect you from a security breech? This is important because they will be holding your social security number.

Always remember, that when you sign up free you are probably giving up something. Make sure you are comfortable with what free really means.

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