Credit Sesame Review
There are plenty of companies that claim to offer a free credit score, but I’ve yet to find one without a catch…until now. Most free credit score programs do offer you a score but require you to enter a credit card and sign up for credit monitoring (free for a month and then they start charging). In the past I’ve suggested signing up for one of these programs and then immediately calling to cancel once you get your score. But that’s a bunch of hoops you no longer need to jump through. Credit Sesame is much more transparent. In this Credit Sesame review, I’ll go over what’s good about them and where there’s room for improvement.
What is Credit Sesame?
Each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) are required by law to give you a free copy of your credit report once per year. But they are not required to provide your credit score. You can (and should) pull your credit reports and check for errors and issues, but you also need to view your score which is what lenders will be using when you apply for credit.
Credit Sesame allows you to access your credit score for free, with a quick and painless sign-up process. The reason they can offer the score for free is actually quite innovative. Based your credit history, they provide advice on how to reduce your debt, save on loan payments, and raise your score. And part of this service is to provide you with new loan options to reduce your monthly payments. Credit Sesame is able to offer their service for free because they make money from banks if you decide to get a loan, which you are under no obligation to do. Here’s what they say:
We earn a small fee from a bank, but only after you close on a loan, so it’s in our best interest to find you the best match based on your own personal needs. We never play favorites, and it makes no difference to us which bank you end up working with; we’re just looking for the recommendations that work best for you. Meanwhile, all of our tools and services are 100% free for you; no trial periods, no catches.
Credit Sesame Review
Here’s what I like about Credit Sesame
- It’s really free (no gimmicks) and no credit card number is required when signing up.
- Sign up is extremely easy.
- They have a new iPhone app that provides instant access to your score.
- Your score is updated once per month, and you can check back as often as you like (for free) and see how your score changes. They even provide trend graphs so you can track how you are doing over time.
- Free advice: They analyze your loans and credit card debt daily and if a better loan option comes available that will save you money, they alert you.
- Free home value estimates: They update the estimated value of your home every month based on market prices and how much home equity you’ve built up.
- Free financial goal setting: They help you set your own financial goals like refinancing a home, borrowing money or buying a house and alert you when they find an offer that meets your goals and saves you most money on interest.
Here are the only things I don’t like about Credit Sesame
- While knowing your credit score is critical, Credit Sesame only provides the Experian credit score, and not the scores reported by the other two credit bureaus. The scores are usually pretty close and if you get your Credit Sesame score and your credit reports, you’re probably in great shape.
- You can see a breakdown of most of your debt, but you do not get your full credit reports which as I’ve mentioned are important to monitor as well. Fortunately, you can also get all three credit reports for free through AnnualCreditReport.com (again, no catches or gimmicks).
- It’s not obvious how to navigate to your financial data and debt records (which are a summary of your credit report). However, to find them just click “My Account” in the upper right corner and then click “My Financial Data”.
- Home estimations are performed by a service that pulls public records, but should be taken with a grain of salt. This is a good starting point, but to get a completely accurate value for your home you would need to hire an appraiser to come out and do an appraisal.
Bottom line, Credit Sesame is the real deal and a much better alternative to having to pay for your credit score or provide a credit card to sign up for a “free trial” that’s not really free.