credit sesame vs credit karma

Credit Sesame vs Credit Karma – Which is Better?

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Author: Ryan Luke 

As a personal finance enthusiast, I try to stay on top of the latest trends and topics related to debt, credit, and other important money management topics. For this post, I signed up to compare Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma to see which was more beneficial and whether one was a waste of my time.

Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma

What Is Credit Karma?

Credit Karma is the largest free credit monitoring service in America. Created in San Francisco, California, in 2007, Credit Karma provides consumers with access to their credit score. The majority of credit monitoring services do not provide the users with actual credit scores, so this is one of the main draws to Credit Karma.

With Credit Karma, the users can access for free:

  • The user’s credit score
  • The information in the user’s credit report from both TransUnion and Equifax
  • The factors that can improve or hurt a credit score
  • Actionable steps to improve the user’s credit score
  • Free tax filing and preparation
  • High yield savings account
  • Identity theft monitoring
  • Find unclaimed money
  • Vehicle value estimates and recall information

How Credit Karma Makes Money

Credit Karma is a completely free service for users. The company makes its money by pushing lenders and other card services at the user to help with their credit. For each successful signup with a lender or credit card company, Credit Karma receives a commission.

What Is Credit Sesame?

Credit Sesame is another company founded in California to help people improve their credit scores and save money. Similar to Credit Karma, Credit Sesame also provides users with their credit score, free of charge. Credit Sesame provides many of the same services as Credit Karma but emphasizes identity theft protection. Credit Sesame offers more active monitoring to fight against identity theft than Credit Karma does.

With the Credit Sesame App, users can access for free:

  • The user’s credit score
  • The information in the user’s credit report only from TransUnion
  • The factors that can improve or hurt a credit score
  • Actionable steps to improve the user’s credit score
  • Identity theft protection and insurance (for free! – up to $50,000 in coverage)

How Credit Sesame Makes Money

Credit Sesame also makes affiliate commission from recommending services and companies to the app users like Credit Karma. However, Credit Sesame has a tiered monthly payment plan to add additional tools and resources at a price.

Credit Sesame Plans

Credit Sesame provides users with four plans depending on which features they would like to monitor and access.

Free Membership ($0 each month):

  • 1 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Update
  • 1 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts

Advanced Credit ($9.95 each month):

  • 1 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Update
  • 1 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts
  • 1 Bureau Daily Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Full Credit Report

Pro Credit ($15.95 each month):

  • 1 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Update
  • 1 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts
  • 1 Bureau Daily Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Full Credit Report
  • 3 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts
  • 24/7 Live Experts to Help Solve Credit Report Inaccuracies

Platinum Protection ($19.95 each month):

  • 1 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Update
  • 1 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts
  • 1 Bureau Daily Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Credit Score Updates
  • 3 Bureau Monthly Full Credit Report
  • 3 Bureau Credit Monitoring with Alerts
  • 24/7 Live Experts to Help Solve Credit Report Inaccuracies
  • 24/7 Live Experts Provide Stolen/Lost Wallet Protection
  • Black Market Website Monitoring
  • Public Records Monitoring
  • Social Security Number Monitoring

The Benefits of Credit Karma and Credit Sesame

After trying both platforms, the Credit Karma App and the Credit Sesame App help keep an eye on your credit report and your credit score. Credit Karma is the winner when you compare the features available in the free plan. However, the $50,000 identity theft protection that comes with the free Credit Sesame plan is precious.

Improving Your Credit

Both credit monitoring companies will suffice if you are only interested in the necessary information or your credit score. However, Credit Karma checks two credit bureaus rather than only one like Credit Sesame’s free plan. Identifying outstanding debt and making on-time payments is essential to improving your credit score. Some outstanding debts that appear with one credit bureau may not show up on another bureau’s report. So as far as receiving the most up-to-date reliable information, Credit Karma wins this round.

Identity Theft Protection

Hands down, Credit Sesame, wins out in the identity theft protection area. Their free plan provides you with insurance in the unfortunate event your identity is compromised. If you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks each month, Credit Sesame offers even more protection to include 24/7 live expert help to resolve identity theft issues.

Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma – The Winner? It Depends On Your Purpose

While both apps provide you with basic credit information, Credit Karma is the clear winner if your main priority is monitoring your credit score and data reported to the credit bureaus. The information provided by Credit Karma is sufficient to help locate old debts to improve your credit score and save money with lower interest rates. However, if you are primarily concerned with monitoring your credit for possible identity theft issues, Credit Sesame is the clear winner. It’s apparent Credit Sesame geared their business model approach with an emphasis on identity theft protection.

The Best Strategy

For me, I like the best of both worlds. Because Credit Sesame and Credit Karma offer free plans with different strengths, I will continue to use both apps for their intended purposes. I love the focus on identity theft and the $50,000 protection I get from Credit Sesame. In contrast, I like the detailed reports and information I get from Credit Karma regarding the information contained in the information reported to TransUnion and Equifax. Using both of these powerhouses together, I can get the optimum protection from each – for free. For now, I am going to forgo the paid Credit Sesame plans and will stick with the basic protection for my current needs.

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.

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