GREENSBORO, NC -- Only four out of ten people know their credit score. But that three digit number can affects everything from how much you pay for car insurance and a home loan to whether you get the job you just applied for. Credit Karma now says it will give you your credit report for free. That's in addition to your credit score.
That is true. And Credit Karma is free to send you emails and banner ads. Credit Karma says you can opt out of the marketing anytime and still get your credit score and report. They also promise to not share your information.
So how often can you get your credit score? The company says every week if you want. But maybe the better question is - how often should you get it to protect your finances and identity? Bethy Hardeman with Credit Karma says, " If you are working on building your credit, maybe you want to check it every month to see how your efforts are affecting your credit score. But if you're just maintaining - if you're in a good position and you're not a planning on applying for anything - then maybe come back once a quarter."
Sound like too much? Checking your credit score and report is the only way to really protect yourself according to Thomas Nitzsche with ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. "If something's going on and you have an account compromised or your identity is truly compromised then, that would alert you sooner than later that there's an issue."
Credit Karma also gives you a credit report card and assigns a letter grade to each of the five main factors affecting your credit score like number of on-time payments. Which is important because so often we are more number than name now.
Credit Karma only pulls a report from one credit bureau. So it's still important for you to go to www.annualcreditreport.com. They give free reports from all three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. And you should stagger those requests, so you get one every four months.