How does Experian compare to Credit Karma? While there are numerous prominent credit monitoring companies, choosing one over another as the best depends mainly on your preferences and needs as a consumer. Credit Karma versus Experian is always a hot topic, as the two companies offer in-depth and vital credit monitoring services in a similar fashion. However, the pair have distinct differences, and discovering which one is best for you may be surprising.
Monitoring your credit score is crucial for staying on top of your financial well-being. Budgeting apps and credit monitoring apps like Credit Karma, Experian, and others have become indispensable personal finance tools. Let’s dive deeper into the Experian versus Credit Karma debate to help you decide which could be most beneficial for you or if there may be another option.
Side-by-Side Comparison of Experian vs. Credit Karma:Check out the Top 5 Credit Monitoring Services for 2023
About Credit Karma
Who is Credit Karma, the company? Credit Karma started in 2007 and quickly became one of the most popular free credit monitoring services. Through its other businesses, Turbo Tax and Mint, Credit Karma is uniquely positioned to assist consumers with more than just credit monitoring. Tax return integration and remote digital banking services are also available.
Credit Karma Pros and Cons
- Always a free service
- Provides approval odds for loans and credit cards
- Digital banking options available
- Tax refund assistance is available
- Monitors two credit bureaus
- Credit score management information available
- No options for monitoring all three credit bureaus
- Uses the less popular VantageScore 3.0 scoring model
- No options for reducing advertisement exposure
- No identity theft services or insurance available
Is Credit Karma Free?
The free service provided by the company is available only through the Credit Karma app. Credit Karma members enjoy weekly VantageScore 3.0 updates of their Trans Union and Equifax credit scores with access to their full credit reports that update monthly. Other benefits include instant information regarding what affects your creditworthiness and helpful suggestions for raising or maintaining your score.
While Credit Karma is a completely free service with no paid plans available, the company does need to generate revenue for itself. Credit Karma creates that income through advertising and partnerships with several credit and loan companies. Expect to see numerous ads and offers while using the Credit Karma app. The benefits, however, are that Credit Karma is always free to use, and the app can also provide information regarding your approval odds for individual credit options.
Experian’s primary business is being one of the three major credit bureaus. However, the company also offers its CreditWorks program, which includes a free credit monitoring service and a paid version called Credit Works Premium, with a few extra bells and whistles.
Experian Pros and Cons
- Three-bureau credit monitoring available in paid plan
- Experian Boost, available with either plan, can help increase your credit score
- $1 million identity theft insurance available in paid plan
- Widely used FICO model score reporting
- Free monthly credit report access through the paid plan
- 17% discount for annual plan purchase
- Free plan monitors just one credit bureau score
- Short 7-day free trial period for the paid plan
- Identity theft protections are relatively basic
- Best services are only available in the paid plan
Is Experian Credit Monitoring Free?
Experian’s free credit monitoring plan, CreditWorks, is relatively basic and straightforward. The plan includes monthly FICO 8 reporting of your Experian credit score, exposure to credit and loan offers tailored to you, and helpful information to learn about factors that affect your credit score.
How much does Experian’s premium credit monitoring service cost?
CreditWorks Premium, Experian’s single paid plan option, costs 24.99 per month. Upgrades from the free plan include credit monitoring of all three credit bureau FICO 8 scores, limited identity theft and dark web monitoring protections, ID theft insurance, weekly credit score updates, and monthly full report updates.
Both Experian plans offer a unique feature called Experian Boost. The program allows users to input detailed banking and utility bill information into Experian’s system to potentially be included in credit score considerations to increase their credit scores quickly.
Credit Karma vs. Experian: What’s the Difference?
When considering the differences between Credit Karma and Experian Credit Monitoring, it’s important to recognize that both companies provide credit monitoring services with unique features and offerings.
Unique Features About Credit Karma
Credit Karma has gained popularity for its free credit monitoring service. It stands out due to its integration with TurboTax and Mint, allowing users to access not only credit monitoring but also tax return integration and digital banking services.
While Credit Karma offers VantageScore 3.0 updates of TransUnion and Equifax credit scores through its app, it lacks the option to monitor all three credit bureaus. It’s known for its user-friendly approach and offers insights into approval odds for loans and credit cards.
The app provides users with personalized suggestions for improving or maintaining their credit scores. Credit Karma’s revenue model relies on advertising and partnerships with credit and loan companies, which can lead to increased ad exposure for users.
Unique Features About Experian Credit Monitoring Services
On the other hand, Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, provides a more comprehensive credit monitoring experience. Experian’s free CreditWorks plan offers monthly FICO 8 reporting of your Experian credit score and customized credit and loan offers.
Their paid plan, CreditWorks Premium, takes it a step further by including credit monitoring for all three credit bureau FICO 8 scores, weekly credit score updates, and monthly full report updates.
Additionally, the premium plan offers limited identity theft and dark web monitoring, ID theft insurance, and the unique Experian Boost feature. Experian Boost allows users to incorporate utility and banking data to potentially enhance their credit scores. Experian’s paid plan comes with a higher price tag, but it offers a complete suite of credit monitoring features and identity theft protections.
Is Experian Credit Monitoring Worth It?
Experian’s free credit monitoring services are generally sufficient for most users. The free offering provides users with insights into their credit score based on their Experian credit report. It offers tips on how to enhance their credit and promptly alerts users about credit activities, assisting them in staying vigilant. However, the question of whether Experian’s paid credit monitoring services are worth the investment warrants examination, and we can turn to customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for insights.
Customer reviews on the BBB shed light on significant issues and dissatisfaction associated with Experian’s credit monitoring services. These reviews highlight a range of problems that customers have encountered, including:
- Inaccurate Reporting and Scoring: Numerous customers have lodged complaints regarding inaccuracies in their credit reports and credit scores. Some have reported unexpected drops in their scores or faced challenges when disputing erroneous information.
- Poor Customer Service: Multiple customers have recounted experiences of unhelpful and discourteous interactions with customer service representatives. Many have encountered difficulties in having their concerns addressed or receiving adequate assistance.
- Technical and Website Issues: Complaints have arisen concerning the usability of the Experian website and technical glitches that hindered customers from accessing their accounts, managing credit freezes/unfreezes, and resolving disputes.
- Lack of Value for the Cost: Some customers have expressed the sentiment that the cost of Experian’s paid credit monitoring service does not align with the benefits provided. They perceive the service as overpriced considering the offered features.
- Cancellation Challenges: A notable proportion of customers have faced challenges when attempting to cancel their paid Experian credit monitoring subscriptions. They have reported encountering obstacles and experiencing delays during the cancellation process, resulting in continued charges.
- Limited Access to Promised Features: Customers have cited instances where they paid for specific features or services within the paid version of Experian’s credit monitoring, only to find themselves unable to access or utilize those features effectively.
- Discrepancies in Monitoring and Reporting: Several customers have observed disparities between the information provided by Experian’s paid service and data from other credit monitoring platforms or sources. Such inconsistencies raise concerns about the accuracy and reliability of Experian’s monitoring.
Which is Better: Credit Karma or Experian?
While Credit Karma and Experian have several things in common, such as a free credit score monitoring option and comprehensive mobile apps, their differences outweigh the similarities by a wide margin, which makes them challenging to compare against each other. Perhaps the best answer to which is better depends on what you’re looking for in a credit monitoring service. Here’s a quick comparison of the two services.
|Free plan available||Yes||Yes|
|Credit score agency||FICO 8||VantageScore 3.0|
|3-Bureau credit monitoring||Available with paid subscription||No|
|Credit score improvement advice and tools||Yes||Yes|
|Credit score update frequency||Monthly with the free plan or daily with paid plan||Weekly|
|Full report availability||Monthly with daily access though paid plan||Annual|
|Digital banking options available||No||Yes|
|Identity theft protections||Available with paid subscription||No|
|ID theft insurance||Available with paid plan||No|
|Family plan available||No||No|
|Identity theft insurance||Yes||No|
|Lowest monthly cost||Free||Free|
|Highest monthly cost||$24.99||Free|
How to choose between Experian Vs. Credit Karma?
Choosing between Credit Karma and Experian depends on your preferences and needs. If you’re looking for a free service with insights into credit factors and approval odds, Credit Karma might be suitable. If you value more comprehensive credit monitoring, including all three bureaus and enhanced identity theft protections, Experian’s CreditWorks Premium could be the better option.
Ultimately, both platforms contribute to helping users understand and manage their credit scores effectively, but Experian’s offerings may appeal to those seeking more comprehensive monitoring and protection, while Credit Karma’s free service is more geared towards those looking for basic credit insights.
How to Choose Which Credit Monitoring Service is Right for You
Deciding which credit monitoring service is right for you depends primarily on what you’re trying to achieve with the information. Between Experian and Credit Karma, choosing one will likely come down to whether or not you’re willing to pay for some services.
Credit Karma doesn’t offer a paid subscription. Credit Karma’s free service includes two-bureau monitoring using the VantageScore 3.0 model, while Experian’s free version offers monitoring of just one bureau’s score. However, Experian uses the FICO 8 scoring model, which is more commonly used by lenders.
Both companies provide accurate credit score pictures, credit reports, helpful information to increase or maintain your scores, and lending and credit card offers. However, Experian’s free plan offers the added benefit of Experian Boost to help increase your score if necessary.
If you’re willing to shell out some cash for more comprehensive credit monitoring of all three credit bureaus, Experian is your only option between the two. However, if thorough identity protection is your goal, other ID protection companies beyond these two offer more comprehensive protections with pricing similar to Experian.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Credit Karma Accurate for Credit Scores?
Is it safe to use Credit Karma?
Source: Waypoint Real Estate Group, @WaypointRealEstateGroup YouTube.