I started researching this Credit Sesame review because their offer to give you a bunch of different credit services for free seemed to good to be true.
I have become a bit of a wonk when it comes to credit monitoring, identity protection, and computer security. The idea of someone hacking in and stealing my information makes me angry so researching all these different options has become a priority.
As I go through these different credit monitoring services I will do a good review to help us all make the best decision for our needs.
What is Credit Sesame and How Does it Work?
Quite simply Credit Sesame is a free service that gives you a credit score, identity theft protection, credit monitoring, and a bunch of personal finance tools. All of this is provided free. The main points of their service are:
Free Credit Score
This is the big selling point for anyone that signs up for the Credit Sesame service. The big thing you need to realize is that this is NOT YOUR FICO CREDIT SCORE. The score you get from CreditSesame.com is your Vantage score (some people call it a FAKO score).
What happened was the three credit bureaus decided they were tired of FICO being the company that dictated the credit score for everyone, using the credit information from the bureaus credit reports. So they created a completely new score. While this is not the score that lenders use, it is still a good estimate of how you are doing with your credit.
Credit Sesame works with Transunion to give you daily monitoring of your Transunion credit report. So if a new application for a loan or any form of credit happens, you will get notified.
This is a pretty useful feature if you looking for advice on how to reach your goals. So if you set your goal to get free from debt you will get advice on how to get out of debt. If you choose “Increase my credit score”, then they will have advice for achieving that goal.
The advice is not going to be ground breaking. So if you are a credit or personal finance guru then you are not going to see some great revelation. This can be especially useful for people that are new to managing their finances or their credit.
CreditSesame.com has very informative charts that sync with your credit information monthly. This way you can see the trends in your finances. They even sync these with the goals that you set so you can see your progress.
This is SUPER informative is you have debt and are trying to pay it off. Not only do they keep track of how you are doing paying off debt, they also give you other loan options related to what you are paying in interest rates and finance charges.
Identity Theft Insurance
This a really crazy awesome addition to the Credit Sesame lineup. You actually receive $50,000 of identity theft insurance just by signing up for free. That’s right, no charge. Now this $50k is only for expenses that happen as a result of making yourself whole. Some examples would include:
- Lost wages (this is usually only for the first four weeks).
- Certifies mail costs or notary charges
- Phone Bills
- Pulling your credit report
Is Credit Sesame Legit or a Scam?
Credit Sesame is a legit company. They started in 2010 and have over 18 million dollars venture capital funding. As anyone knows, a company that lasts more than five years in the Internet world is doing something right.
They are partnered with Transunion which is one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. They use bank level encryption on their site and have a great reputation for security.
Does Credit Sesame Hurt My Credit Score?
Absolutely not. They do a soft credit report pull. This means your credit is not dinged because there is not a single cerdit scoring algorithm that uses soft credit pulls as a factor. Only a hard credit pull, like what you do when applying for a home loan, will have a slightly negative affect on your credit score.
How Does Credit Sesame Make Money (aka What’s the Catch)?
So obviously they do not make money on subscribership, but they do make money on their subscribers. The main source of income for CreditSesame.com is the loans and credit cards that they provide as offers to their members. So if you were to complete a credit card application and get approved they get a commission. Same goes for loans.
They also allow advertising from financial companies that show up as banner ads and get referrals commissions on any products that are offered through the site.
Finally Credit Sesame has strategic partnerships across the internet. A good example is the home loan tool on Mint.com. This is powered by Credit Sesame and they get a commission every time someone signs up for a loan using that tool.
What is great about this is that it is completely dependent on you using it or not. So if none of the offers actually help you, then you do not pay anything for the service. If an offer is one that actually helps your financial situation then it doesn’t matter that Credit Sesame receives a commission for it. It works the same here at Savingfreak.com or pretty much every person finance blog you find. We provide articles and information on product we actually use and if it is something that works for you, you use our link to sign up and we get a small commission for it.
What is the Best Use for Credit Sesame?
When most people here that you are not getting your FICO score they tend to think that it isn’t worth the trouble of signing up. The truth is the Vantage score is always very close to your actual FICO score. So while you are not looking at the same score as a lender, you are getting a good benchmark for where you are right now.
Once you get started you can now work to improve your score. If your Vantage score is heading in the right direction, then your FICO score is also headed in the right direction.
If you are meeting your goals and seeing progress, then the tools are doing their job and you are getting a great value with no money out of your pocket.
Credit Sesame is a really nice resource if you are trying to improve your credit or get a handle on your financial picture. The price is definitely worth trying the service and who couldn’t do with $50,000 of free identity theft insurance.
If you are already managing your money well then you aren’t going to find any great secrets to taking the next jump with your finances, but you could use the goal setting and monthly tracking to make sure you are motivated to keep hitting your goals.
If you are new to managing your finance or are in the process of getting your credit straightened out, then Credit Sesame can be a VERY valuable tool to help you down the path and get you organized.