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Credit Karma’s Credit Simulator (and Other Credit Tools)

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Last April, I went to Finovate Startup in San Francisco. I was introduced to around 40 companies at the time, and I met a number of their founders personally. One of them was Credit Karma. You may remember that in the past, I told you how you can get, free credit scores from them. It's important to realize that a credit score is different from a credit report (which are typically free, one per year, from AnnualCreditReport.com.

I got a little off-track with the credit score explanation.  I meant to report that Credit Karma won Best in Show at Finovate this year. What did they do to earn those honors? I'll let you know, but first I wanted to mention a couple of other things that I noticed they were up to:

  • Recommended Credit Cards - They have a section of credit cards that is different than your usual credit card page. These credit cards seem personalized. Since they know my credit is excellent, they show me the cards in the excellent rating. They even have ratings based on what other Credit Karma vote, the approval rate of applications, and what Credit Karma users are actually signing up for.
  • Improved Credit Karma Blog - As a blogger, I tend to notice blogs - even corporate ones. This one has a lot of information about improving your credit as well as some timely credit news. My favorite is what is a good credit score. That's exactly what you'd expect from a credit-focused company trying to transition from start-up to market leader.
  • Credit Simulator - This is the tool that carried Credit Karma to Finovate's Best in Show award. Let's pretend you signed up for Credit Karma when I reviewed them last time. Credit Karma gave you a score of 680. It's not great, but you know you could do better. If you only knew what you could do to help it out. Enter the Credit Simulator. This tool allows you to see how your credit would change in a number of scenarios. Some of them include, adding a new loan, adding a credit inquiry, closing your oldest credit card, allow a monthly account become 30 days overdue, etc. This tool finally gives you some insight to how your credit score is affected. Granted, it's not a FICO score, it's a reason estimation.

Here's one feature to look for in the future. My Credit Karma score dropped, and I didn't know why. I figured that since Credit Karma is constructing my score from my report, they could tell me what I did to deserve the drop. Unfortunately, they couldn't tell me what had changed in my account. After talking with the CEO, I have confidence this may be something you'd see in the future from Credit Karma.

Last updated on January 13, 2011.

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4 Responses to “Credit Karma’s Credit Simulator (and Other Credit Tools)”

  1. Matt says:

    Does getting this score count as a hard inquiry on the report? Or is it just as if I have asked the credit bureau directly to give me the score?

    Thanks.

  2. Lazy Man says:

    Matt, that’s a good question and one that’s probably asked a lot. The founder answered that in the comments of my last post on Credit Karma

  3. jim says:

    But ultimately it’s not your FICO… it’s an estimate. I suppose it does have value for some but ultimately, you’ll need to know your actual score to be effective.

  4. Lazy Man says:

    Why do you need to know your FICO score? If the other scoring system is valid and allows you to compare over time it’s just as value. If I weigh myself in kilograms, it’s still measuring weight.

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