Credit score

The truth about credit score apps

Credit scores are used for everything from getting a mortgage to getting a job. So it makes sense to know your credit score. But how to get it? Apps that promise instant access to your score are popular, but do they work? A New Consumer Reports Survey Might Have You think twice before clicking to get your score.

Credit score apps like Credit Karma, Experian Credit Report, and others promise instant access to credit scores, along with other features like score monitoring. Sounds great until you dig a little deeper. Consumer Reports reveals that five of these apps have significant downsides and few upsides.

CR’s survey showed the apps can pose serious privacy risks, and worse, a survey of consumers who’ve used them found that in some cases the apps didn’t even provide a credit score. precise.

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And four of the five apps CR investigated often charge users for access to their credit reports, which consumers are legally entitled to for free, while not providing access to the kind of credit scores that most lenders use.

Several of the apps use VantageScore 3.0, which has limited value because many lenders don’t use it.

A Consumer Reports policy analyst says consumers should have the legal right to get a free, accurate credit score, and there’s a bill in Congress that would require it, but so far it hasn’t. a vote was not scheduled.

CR has a petition to action.consumerreports.org seeking to collect 40,000 signatures to send to Congress asking them to work on this issue a little harder and a little faster.

CR asked the five credit application companies about their privacy, data collection and data sharing practices. Each responded by saying that they take consumer privacy very seriously and that consumer trust is paramount to their business.

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Remember that there are ways to get your credit score without using a credit score app. Try to check if your bank or credit card gives you access. And you can also view your credit report every week free of charge via annualcreditreport.com

Since your credit report impacts your credit score, be sure to check it regularly and dispute any written errors immediately.

Read the companies’ full responses below:

KARMA CREDIT

Credit Karma does not provide personalized financial advice. We provide recommendations of financial products adapted to the specific situations and needs of our members. Our predictive, data-driven recommendation system is what uniquely positions us to help people navigate the complexities of their finances. There are three main ways we collect information about a member, and always with their permission: when they give it to us, when it is automatically collected by our systems, and when we request it from others (for example, when member syncs their vehicle with Credit Karma, we pull DMV information with a member’s consent). Member trust is important to us. Credit Karma never sells member data. We only share data in limited circumstances, such as when a member chooses to subscribe to a financial product, and always with the member’s permission. You can find our current privacy policy HERE.

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SESAME CREDIT

Credit Sesame is a membership-based financial wellness platform, and customers must affirmatively register to use it. Through our financial wellness platform, we’ve helped millions of consumers improve their credit score:

  • Over 60% of members see their credit score improve in the first six months

  • 50% see their credit score improve by more than 10 points in the first six months

  • 20% see their credit score improve by more than 50 points in the first six months.

In order to provide the best experience to our customers, we offer personalized offers based on proprietary AI and machine learning algorithms. One of the features of Sesame Cash is to provide instant cashback offers from retailers. Customers must register to provide their location data to access relevant offers closest to them.

Credit Sesame complies with applicable federal and state security and privacy laws and regulations. We understand the sensitivity of personal information and we take this responsibility very seriously. The privacy of our customers’ personal information is of the utmost importance to us, and our customers can control how their information is shared. We only share customer data in accordance with our Privacy Policy with appropriate customer consent for the purpose of directly providing services to our customers. Additionally, our customers are protected by the FCRA, and the Credit Sesame Arbitration Clause does not alter a consumer’s rights under the FCRA.

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We have a Privacy Policy, posted on our homepage, which also includes a CCPA Privacy Notice.

EXPERIENCE

We strictly adhere to data protection laws and remain vigilant with regard to data security and integrity. This includes our own commitment to strictly adhere to legal, ethical and responsible uses of data.

The consumer provides Experian with express permission to access their information, which allows us to help them improve their credit profile or provide them with access to appropriate credit products from our business partners.

Importantly, it gives consumers access to features like Experian Boost, a free tool that lets consumers add a positive payment history to their Experian credit report to potentially boost their FICO score immediately. Since launch, over 6 million consumers have used Boost, adding a cumulative total of over 50 million points. This has a big impact for consumers who are able to move score brackets and access credit with better terms, or even generate a FICO score for the first time, becoming part of the ecosystem of the credit. We also leverage intelligence to deliver personalized offers that consumers are most likely to qualify for so they can succeed in credit.

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With that in mind, we’re proud of our highly rated app (4.8 rating) as it’s yet another way to meet consumers’ needs for easy, on-the-go access to their financial information. Our app is the only app where consumers can get a free FICO score and boost their credit score for free with Experian Boost at their fingertips.

Additionally, working with third parties such as Kochava is an industry standard, and we only work with third parties who also have strict data practices and policies. We believe in giving consumers control over their financial profile, which is why we’re launching tools like Experian Boost and providing a range of resources that help consumers budget, access credit and protect their financial accounts and identity. Data mining allows us to achieve this.

It is important to note that consumers do not transfer any rights under the FCRA by using our services to file a dispute. All rights and remedies available under the FCRA, including the right to seek damages for alleged violations of the FCRA (or under any other law), are available through our Dispute Resolution Policy, which includes a dispute resolution agreement with Experian and its affiliates.

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I want to emphasize that data security has always been, and always will be, our top priority. At Experian, we are committed to using and securing data responsibly and ethically.

FICO

Unfortunately, with the various out-of-office schedules, I was unable to connect with the myFICO product team to get your answers. However, based on my past experience, I want to emphasize that myFICO does not provide users with personalized advice or personalized offers of credit products. They offer plenty of educational materials to help consumers understand credit and FICO scores, as well as information to help them better understand their entire credit profile (FICO scores, credit reports, and credit monitoring of the 3 offices).

Also, I want to clarify that the FICO Privacy Policy that you may have already reviewed also covers all FICO enterprise software products, so there are sections that do not apply to myFICO. myFICO does not retain data about consumers who have not registered, nor does it sell consumers’ personal information to third parties, but does share certain data with service providers to provide products and services to the consumer. If they wish, myFICO subscribers can obtain a copy of the data FICO holds about them through the FICO Trust Center at https://www.fico.com/trust-center.

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TRANSUNION

TransUnion offers consumers the choice of several credit products to help people monitor, protect and grow their credit health, including free weekly credit reports on www.annualcreditreport.com.

The TransUnion: Score and Report app offers credit reports, monitoring/alerts, score calculator, debt analysis, identity theft insurance, personalized offers and more. TransUnion complies with the FCRA and all applicable privacy laws in all respects.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2021 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a nonprofit organization that does not accept advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor present on this site. For more information, visit consumer.org.