Credit Karma is a way for Canadians to get information into their credit score through credit reports, and it also allows them to monitor their credit free of charge.
This is great news because you were usually required to pay $20 or more to obtain your credit score in Canada.
However, Credit Karma offers Canadians access to a free credit score that is regularly updated, and in this post, I'll take care of reviewing the platform, going through what it is, what it means to have a good credit score in Canada, and more.
What Is Credit Karma?
Credit Karma is a personal finance company that was founded in the United States in 2006.
Ten years later, they expanded their operations to Canada and are available to users located in the following provinces:
|Alberta||Prince Edward Island|
|New Brunswick||Nova Scotia|
Credit Karma grants users access to free credit scores, free credit monitoring, and free credit reports. Although this feature hasn't reached Canada yet, they also provide free tax filing services in the United States.
For those who are curious, the way the company makes money is by making credit card recommendations to their users based on their credit profile. If you were to apply for any of these credit card offers, they would receive a referral fee from the bank issuing the card.
How Do I Sign Up To Credit Karma?
Creating a Credit Karma account is pretty easy. All you need to do is follow these two steps:
- Enter basic information (like a username and email address). You can also choose if you want to receive promotional emails or email updates on profile activity during this step.
- Verify your identity.
Once these steps are done, you'll be able to access your TransUnion credit score for free.
Also, it's worth mentioning that checking your credit score online through a service like the one Credit Karma provides counts as a “soft inquiry”. This means that consulting your credit score this way does not lower your credit score.
What Is Considered A Good Credit Score In Canada?
A credit score is a 3-digit number between 300 and 900 that is designed to be an indicator of your creditworthiness (AKA how good or bad you are with keeping debt at bay).
There are two major credit bureaus in Canada (Equifax and TransUnion), and the credit score assessments you get from any of the two could be different when compared side by side.
Generally, though, you can interpret credit scores from both Equifax and TransUnion using the following ranges:
- From 300 to 599 = Poor credit score
- From 600 to 649 = Fair credit score
- From 650 to 719 = Good credit score
- From 720 to 799 = Very good credit score
- From 800 to 900 = Excellent credit score
The higher your credit score is, the better your chances are of being eligible for competitive interest rates whenever you borrow money.
Credit bureaus evaluate the following aspects to come up with a credit score:
- Total debt
- Loan repayment history
- Credit history length
- Credit inquiries on your account
- Credit mix
The credit score and credit reports that Credit Karma gives you comes from TransUnion. Nothing prevents you from getting your credit score from the credit bureaus directly, but doing so comes at a price.
What Do You Get In A Credit Karma Credit Report?
Your credit report is there to give you accurate information on how you've managed credit card debt over time. Besides your credit score, lenders also look for the information that is on your credit report.
Some of the information that credit bureaus record in these reports (and lenders look for) include:
- Personal information
- List of credit accounts
- Public records and collections
- Credit report inquiries
- Consumer statements
In Canada, credit bureaus are obligated by law to give you a single free copy of your credit report per year, at your request.
In stark contrast to credit bureaus, companies like Credit Karma give you free credit reports on a monthly or weekly basis upon signup.
Is Credit Karma Safe?
Yes, Credit Karma is a safe and legitimate company.
Credit Karma would never ask for your credit card information or social insurance number. At worst, you'll only get emails with credit card offers, which is their primary method of making revenue.
Credit Karma uses a 128-bit (or higher) encryption protocol to protect the transmission of your data to their site as one of their primary security measures. They have also stated on their site that they do not share your personal information with unaffiliated third parties for their marketing purposes.
However, it's worth mentioning that Equifax (the credit bureau) was hacked a while back, so there are no safety guarantees as far as online platforms are concerned.
Overall, though, Credit Karma has a pretty robust and safe platform.
Credit Karma is a great way for you to monitor your credit score and receive credit reports monthly (or even weekly) at no cost whatsoever.
Considering you needed to pay for these services before (and you still do in case you want to get your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus), I struggle to see any reasons for anyone not to start using this platform today.