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This is not a sponsored post – I repeat, this is not a sponsored post. I just REALLY love Credit Karma! While it lacks the ability to crush candy like one of my other favorite apps, this one helps me stay on track with my money management and work toward my financial goals. If you haven’t downloaded it already (and fallen deeply in love like I have), read on to find out WHY this incredible app gets two thumbs up from this baller on a budget!
It’s the definition of “User Friendly”
From the Touch ID sign in screen to the easy navigation, this app is designed to work for you in every way. Even if you have no prior experience with Credit Karma, it only takes a few swipes and clicks to learn your way around and get access to the most in-depth credit information available. The ease of use is complimented by a clean look and helpful charts; the user experience is all about visibility, and I love that this app gives me the tools to dig as deep as I want while always tying back to the big picture.
It shows how much your credit score has changed since the last update
This app updates your information just about every week, so you can see your score go up or down depending on what’s changed. I once paid off a student loan and saw my score jump; another time it came down a few points when I opened a new credit card. Seeing my financial decisions have a real, measurable impact on my credit score has made me more conscious of those decisions and their consequences; it’s also helped motivate me to see that score continue to improve! Keep in mind that different institutions vary in the time they take to update their information, so if you’ve just paid off a credit card or car loan, give it some time to show up – keep checking back and you’ll start to see patterns in how long your particular banks and lenders take to report.
You can simulate your score
In the Credit Card Utilization section, there’s a blue button called “Simulate My Score” that lets you see how your score would change if you lowered your balance by a certain amount. This is not only motivating to see, but it’s a great tool for coming up with real steps you can take to improve your score. Knowing what you need to pay off to get your score above 720, for example, is crucial information when looking at making a big purchase, since that’s typically the range where credit institutions extend you the best rates. If you have a minute today I encourage you to mess around with this tool, and find out what paying off $100 versus $1,000 would do for your score!
A great example of using this information would be for buying a new car; if you talk to the dealership and they say they can offer you a lower interest rate if your score is above 720, and you know you could get there with 2 more months of payments on your credit card, you can use this information to your advantage. Making a larger payment now to get your balance down and your score up could save you thousands in interest; alternatively, waiting a few more months to buy the car means that your score will have improved, and you can get better rates then. Walking in with the facts leads to less surprises and less disappointment; knowing your score before making a large purchase is crucial to getting the best deal and staying on track with your other financial goals.
The tips and offers are actually helpful
A lot of financial apps give “tips” that are actually advising you to buy more of their product, but Credit Karma gives you real advice about which loans to tackle first, how to read your credit report, and even helps you find unclaimed money! Like any other app they have to make a profit so they do advertise, but they choose to offer low-interest credit cards that are good for building credit and paying down debt; the advertising really takes a back seat to the useful information, and it doesn’t feel at all pushy or in your face. Overall the app is far more helpful than others that I’ve used (and it’s free!), so a couple of ads for potentially beneficial tools doesn’t bother me at all.
You get a side-by-side comparison of your score
One of the huge benefits to Credit Karma is that they’re pulling information from two separate credit bureaus, namely TransUnion and Equifax. Since your credit is calculated differently based on each bureau’s specific parameters, seeing 2 scores side by side gives you a broader picture of your overall credit standing. Your credit score is a living, breathing, constantly changing measure of your total credit health, so it’s more important to get a feel for the range you fall in rather than one specific number. The credit score that your mortgage broker or car dealer pulls is going to be slightly different than what you see in the app, but having a good idea of where you stand and where you want to be provides you with the data you need to make informed financial decisions.
All your accounts are in one place
Since most people have credit accounts with more than one lender, it’s nice being able to see all of your open – and closed – accounts all in one place. If you have student loans and your servicer has switched over the years, you might even see all your closed student loan accounts from your old servicers – oddly, these closed accounts actually help your score in many cases by adding to the total amount of accounts you’ve had. It’s also helpful to see all your open credit accounts listed; Credit Karma even lists them from the largest balance to the smallest, which is helpful for anyone working on the debt snowball method of repayment. For me, there’s also something motivating about seeing all your debt captured on one screen; though the numbers may be intimidating, it’s rewarding to tackle each of those balances one by one and move them from “open” to “closed”.
You can see how much you’ve paid off
My absolute favorite thing about Credit Karma is logging in and swiping right to see how much I’ve paid off since my last update; it’s beyond motivating to see progress being made! While I keep track of my debt payments in other ways, it’s a nice little boost to see it tracked and celebrated here. On the same screen it shows you your total balance; this is the total sum of everything you owe creditors, and for most people this is a giant, scary number. There’s no denying that tackling your debt is a difficult endeavor, but it’s also insanely rewarding; knowing that I’m on track to be debt free forever is what keeps me motivated when it seems overwhelming. So if you haven’t already, download Credit Karma today and get started on your own journey to financial independence – you’ll be glad you did!