As a Credit Karma user, I recently received an email announcing that they have begun offering daily free credit monitoring in addition to free credit scores!
What is Credit Monitoring?
Credit monitoring is a service that automatically updates you when a significant change has been identified in your credit report. This could include a hard or soft credit inquiry, a new credit account being started, late payment updates, or updates to your personal information.
You will automatically get an email when one of these things happens. In the long run, this can help you protect your credit and protect yourself from identity theft. If you have a big credit event such as a loan application coming up, it can also protect you from any unforeseen roadblocks.
Just like Credit Karma’s credit score service, which offers up your TransUnion VantageScore, it is also free. You do not need to enter your credit card or any payment information like you do with other free credit score services. For more on this and a look at the security features the service provides, check out my full Credit Karma review.
How Much Does Credit Monitoring Cost?
What’s surprising about this move, is that credit monitoring is a service that is not cheap. Equifax charges $19.95 per month for the service, Experian charges $19.95 per month, and even TransUnion, (who is partnering on service to Credit Karma), charges $9.95 per month. Free is quite the bargain!
How do I Get Free Credit Monitoring with Credit Karma?
To get the free credit monitoring service, you can sign up for a free Credit Karma account here.
After signing up, then opt-in to the free credit monitoring. If you are already a member, go to your profile section and select “Notify me about important changes on my credit report” to sign up.
UPDATE: Credit Karma is now offering free credit report access too! It updates weekly and you can check it as often as you’d like.
I’m not sure what your policies are, so just as a means of double-checking, is this a paid endorsement or did you receive anything from credit karma in return for featuring this product?
I tend to believe the old adage “if you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.” which normally doesn’t bother me — except when dealing with my personal financial data. What does credit karma get out of this deal by offering a paid service for free?
Thanks for the heads-up. Assuming my other concerns check out, it sounds like a great service!
Hi Sean –
1. Paid endorsement: I have never written a piece of content on 20somethingfinance as the result of being offered a payment to do so.
I have affiliate advertising relationships with a number of companies – but only support products/services that I have used and believe in and never as a result of being asked to endorse them. I am, in fact, a Credit Karma customer and genuinely think it is a great service that can benefit readers of this site.
2. To address your data harvesting concern, Credit Karma’s business model is much like Mint.com. Both provide an awesome free service, and they monetize it through advertising and affiliate relationships by suggesting ways that their users can save money (i.e. switching from one credit card to another). You are prompted when you sign up for the service (see my review) to not have your information shared with 3rd parties.
Why is their service free? We know that no one does anything for free. There must be something they get in return. :)
Credit Karma advertises for credit card and other financial service products.
Does Credit Karma only make money from advertising? Or do they sell your information in some way? They may anonymize and sell your information, or they may just outright sell your email address & credit information. A good blogger should provide these kinds of information security details when recommending a product.
– I found this on the Credit Karma web site.. So even though they state that they do not sell your information now, if they sell the business, they have the right to transfer all of your data to whomever buys the business. Their business model may be advertising right now, but their long term business model is most likely to sell and cash out to the big guys.
This is probably a really good way to keep an eye on possible identity theft.
The only issue I see with the credit monitoring is that both CreditKarma and Mint are very slow sending emails regarding deposits, low balances, etc… Therefore I assume they would be extremely slow for credit monitoring. I would want to receive an email within 1 day of an attempt to open a line of credit for it to be worth it. Just my opinion.