Experian and Credit Karma are both good if you want to be able to see your credit score and learn more about your financial profile. There are many significant differences, however.
Experian is rated as one of the top three credit reporting bureaus. This means it receives notifications from lending institutions and other companies when payments are missed, new lines of credit are applied for, and if significant changes occur in any of your listed accounts. While Credit Karma also offers notifications, it does so through the constant monitoring of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
- Experian offers a monthly service that customers can subscribe to
- Credit Karma is free
- Experian offers $1 million in identity theft protection insurance
- Credit Karma offers updates from TransUnion and Equifax
- Experian shows account balances and other personal/public information
As one of the “big three” credit reporting bureaus, Experian offers a wealth of features that allows consumers to monitor their credit as well as protect themselves from identity theft. Experian offers both FICO scores and credit reports on a regular basis to individuals who subscribe to their service. With a paid subscription, you can monitor all credit reports and scores through the Experian mobile app or website.
Experian credit reports are easy to read and provides all of your pertinent financial information including a complete and accurate listing of all your financial accounts. This includes credit card accounts, various types of loans, and other financial activity. Their reports also include new inquiries from potential lenders and any public information, such as legal proceedings or bankruptcies.
Experian allows subscribers to add notes to their credit reports. There may be specific situations in which an explanation is needed. You are able to go in and explain what is going on and the notes will remain as part of your report until you remove them. You also have the option to request a notification via email or phone call if anyone attempts to open a new account or line of credit using your personal information.
Credit Karma is a free service that allows individuals to monitor their credit reports from two of the primary credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. Credit Karma can offer their service for free because they receive funding from various lending institutions for promoting their products. While you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three primary credit bureaus, you can access your TransUnion and Equifax 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Credit Karma not only provides you with updates on your active accounts, it also notifies you of credit inquiries from possible lending institutions. Because it has access to the credit reporting agencies, it also gets alerts on data breaches and other events that may impact your financial health or increase the vulnerability of your identity.
One of Credit Karma's best features has to do with the companies who advertise on the site. Because Credit Karma has access to your information the primary credit bureaus, it can effectively match you up with suitable lending offers, such as auto refinancing and credit cards with lower than average interest rates.
While Credit Karma is completely free for those who choose to use it, those who want to get the full benefit from Experian must subscribe to their service. Experian charges $10 a month or $100 per year for full access to all of their features.
The credit scores offered by Credit Karma are based on the VantageScore system. They are not actual FICO scores.
Our Thoughts: Experian vs Credit Karma
If you want to have full access to all of your credit information as well as credit reports from all three credit reporting bureaus, subscribing to Experian's service is your best option.
Credit Karma works well for individuals who want to know about their credit but don't necessarily need or want full access across the board. It offers a wealth of information and offers from reliable lending institutions.