The Truth About Credit Score Applications

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Credit scores are used for everything from getting a mortgage to getting a job. So it makes sense to know your credit score. But how do you get it? Apps that promise instant access to your score are popular, but do they work? A new Consumer Reports survey might make you think twice before you click to get your score.

Credit score apps like Credit Karma, Experian Credit Report, and others promise instant access to credit scores, along with other features like score monitoring. Sounds good until you dig a little deeper. Consumer Reports reveals that five of these apps have significant drawbacks and few benefits.

CR’s investigation showed that apps can pose serious privacy risks, and even worse, a survey of consumers who used them found that in some cases, apps didn’t even provide a credit score. precise.

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And four of the five apps CR was investigated often charge users for access to their credit reports, which consumers are legally entitled to access for free, while not providing type access. of credit scores that most lenders use.

Several of the apps use VantageScore 3.0, which is of limited value as many lenders don’t.

Consumer Reports political analyst says consumers should have the right to get a free and accurate credit score, and a bill in Congress would require it, but so far it has not been planned to vote.

CR has a petition on action.consumerreports.org seeking to collect 40,000 signatures to send to Congress asking them to work on this issue a little harder and a little faster.

CR surveyed the five credit application companies about their privacy, data collection and data sharing practices. Each responded, saying they take consumer privacy very seriously and that consumer trust is paramount to their business.

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Remember that there are ways to get your credit score without using a credit score app. Try to check if your bank or credit card offers you access. And you can also check your credit report weekly at no charge via annualcreditreport.com

Since your credit report has an impact on your credit score, be sure to check it regularly and dispute any clerical errors immediately.

Read the full responses from the companies below:

KARMA CREDIT

Credit Karma does not provide personalized financial advice. We offer financial product recommendations tailored to the specific situations and needs of our members. Our predictive, data-driven recommendation system is what uniquely positions us to help people navigate the intricacies of their finances. There are three main ways to collect information about a member, and always with their permission: when they give it to us, when it is automatically collected by our systems and when we request it from others (for example, when a member synchronizes their vehicle with Credit Karma, we extract the DMV information with the consent of a member). The trust of the members is essential for us. Credit Karma never sells member data. We only share data in limited circumstances, such as when a member chooses to request a financial product, and always with the member’s permission. You can find our current privacy policy HERE.

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SESAME CREDIT

Credit Sesame is a membership-based financial wellness platform, and clients must register to use it. Through our Financial Wellness Platform, we’ve helped millions of consumers improve their credit scores:

  • Over 60% of members see their credit score improve in the first six months

  • 50% see their credit score improve by more than 10 points in the first six months

  • 20% see their credit rating improve by more than 50 points in their first six months.

In order to provide the best experience for our customers, we provide personalized offers based on proprietary AI and machine learning algorithms. One of the hallmarks of Sesame Cash is that it offers instant cashback offers from retailers. Customers must register in order to provide their location data to gain access to relevant offers closest to them.

Credit Sesame complies with applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding security and privacy. We understand the sensitivity of personal information and we take this responsibility very seriously. The privacy of our customers’ personal information is of the utmost importance to us, and our customers can control how their information is shared. We only share customer data in accordance with our privacy policy when we have obtained the appropriate customer consent for the purpose of providing services directly to our customers. In addition, our clients are protected by the FCRA and Credit Sesame’s arbitration clause does not alter a consumer’s rights under the FCRA.

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We have a privacy policy, posted on our homepage, which also includes a CCPA privacy notice.

EXPERIENCE

We strictly adhere to data protection laws and remain vigilant about data security and integrity. This includes our own commitment to strict compliance regarding legal, ethical and responsible uses of data.

The consumer gives Experian express permission to access their information, which allows us to help them improve their credit profile or provide them with access to the appropriate credit products from our business partners.

Most importantly, it gives consumers access to features like Experian Boost, a free tool that allows consumers to add a positive payment history to their Experian credit report to potentially increase their FICO score immediately. Since launch, over 6 million consumers have used Boost, adding a cumulative total of over 50 million points. This has a big impact for consumers who are able to move score bands and access credit on better terms, or even generate a FICO score for the first time, thus becoming a part of the ecosystem of the market. credit. We also leverage intelligence to deliver personalized offers that consumers are most likely to qualify for so they can be successful on credit.

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With that in mind, we pride ourselves on our highly rated app (4.8 rating) as it is yet another way to meet consumers’ needs for easy and instant access to their financial information. Our app is the only app where consumers can get a free FICO score and increase their credit score for free with Experian Boost at their fingertips.

Additionally, working with third parties such as Kochava is an industry standard, and we only work with third parties who also have strict data practices and policies. We believe in giving consumers control over their financial profile, which is why we are launching tools like Experian Boost and offering a range of resources that help consumers budget, access credit and protect their financial accounts and their identity. The use of data allows us to achieve this.

It is important to note that consumers do not cede any rights under the FCRA by using our services to file a dispute. All rights and remedies available under the FCRA, including the right to seek damages for alleged violations of the FCRA (or any other law), are available through our dispute resolution policy, which includes a dispute arbitration agreement with Experian and its affiliates.

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I would like to stress that data security has always been and always will be our top priority. At Experian, we are committed to using and securing data responsibly and ethically.

FICO

Unfortunately, with the different out of office hours, I was unable to connect with the myFICO product team to get your answers. However, based on my previous experience, I would like to note that myFICO does not provide users with personalized advice or personalized offers of credit products. They offer a lot of educational material to help consumers understand credit and FICO scores, as well as information to help them better understand their overall credit profile (FICO scores, credit reports and credit monitoring of the 3 offices).

Additionally, I want to clarify that the FICO Privacy Policy that you may have already reviewed also covers all FICO enterprise software products, so there are sections that do not apply to myFICO. myFICO does not keep data about consumers who have not registered or sell consumers’ personal information to third parties, but does share certain data with service providers to provide products and services to the consumer. If desired, myFICO subscribers can obtain a copy of the data FICO holds about them through the FICO Trust Center at https://www.fico.com/trust-center.

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TRANSUNION

TransUnion offers consumers the choice of several credit products to help people monitor, protect and develop their credit health, including free weekly credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

The TransUnion: Score and Report app offers credit reports, monitoring / alerts, score simulator, debt analysis, identity theft insurance, personalized offers and more. TransUnion complies in all respects with the FCRA and all applicable privacy laws.

All Consumer Reports materials are copyright 2021 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization that does not accept any advertising. He has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information, visit consumer.org.

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