Credit Karma for the iPhone is a free app that offers a free credit score and real-time credit score tracking with alerts.
Unlike the many sites that promise a free credit score and charge hidden monthly fees, Credit Karma is free, making money if users sign up for loans through the Credit Karma website.
For users looking to get a car loan or mortgage, Credit Karma is a must have app that could save hundreds or thousands over the life of a loan.
Credit scores determine the interest rate charged by lenders. The last time I went to get a car loan, the dealer tried to pass off my credit score as 200 points lower than it was, which would add significant cost to the car purchase. In this case, it was a sign to move on.
Credit Karma provides free access to your TransUnion credit score. While scores vary from agency to agency, this is a great way to know which rate to expect from a bank or car dealer.
Users enter their social security number, other details and answer security questions to confirm their identity.
In addition to the free credit score, Credit Karma also provides a VantageScore, a newer credit score system used by the three largest agencies and many credit card lenders. The app also shows your auto insurance score, a number that influences insurance rates based on credit history.
The app provides a Credit Report Card that who’s the overall credit score and a grade as well as categories and individual grades. The breakdown shows which areas of your credit report are low. The Credit Karma website offers more detail on each section and tips on how to improve scores.
The app also shows current accounts, similar to the free credit report mandated by the government at annualcreditreport.com. This is an easy way to see outstanding debts broken down by category, an essential step in getting control of personal finances.
My favorite feature is the credit score notifications. Theses notifications keep me up to date with changes to my credit score and other credit score influencing activities. While using the app I received warnings for several items. The app notified me that my score decreased by two points thanks to a hard credit pull, and about credit utilization on a store card with a low limit.
Users can choose to lock the app with a Passcode to prevent others from accessing personal information. The app requires personal information to sign up and verify users. Credit Karma offers answers to security questions on their full site for users concerned with personal information.
The Credit Karma app is available free in the iPhone App Store. There is no iPad version, but users can install the iPhone version to get their free credit score. The Credit Karma website also offers a free credit score with similar features.
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