A good credit score is one of the most valuable assets you can keep in your financial portfolio. Credit Sesame allows you to keep an eye on your score for free, no credit card required.
With Credit Sesame, you can monitor your credit for free. They provide a monthly credit score from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Credit Sesame also offers other free services, including identity theft protection.
It used to be that the only way to get your credit score for free (free being defined as without having to input your credit card for a “free trial”) was to use AnnualCreditReport.com®.
This method is great, and they’re still in operation. However, you can only check your score once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Credit Sesame offers up a free TransUnion credit score at no cost, so they’re a simple way to keep track of your credit. Sign up with Credit Sesame, and you can access your credit score as often as once a month–for free!
What Is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame is a platform that empowers you to take charge of your credit score. Since your credit score impacts your ability to obtain financing for large purchases (like a home), it’s vital to monitor your score regularly. Plus, considering the data breaches of the past several years, you really can’t be too careful.
Credit Sesame shows you an updated score for free, but that’s not all. They also provide educational materials to help you better understand your credit and how to improve your score and protect your credit.
Your credit score is made up of several main factors that the credit reporting bureaus analyze. These factors include your credit utilization, length of credit history, payment history, types of accounts, and recent activity.
Credit Sesame–Desktop Version
In the desktop version of the Credit Sesame platform, you’ll find a full range of guidance and information. Of course, you can easily see your monthly credit score. They also have sections for alerts, which let you know about any strange or out-of-the-ordinary account activity. They’ll also keep track of your debt and your assets.
The Credit Sesame website contains a ton of useful resources. You’ll find articles on credit cards, home and auto loans, student loans, personal loans, CDs, and savings accounts. Plus, they’ve got an FAQ page answering a lot of the most common questions users have.&
In addition to the desktop version, you can now access my credit score through apps on iOS and Android devices. The iTunes App Store offers the Credit Sesame app so you can check your credit score on the go. Android users can also access the Credit Sesame app through Google Play. Since most of us conduct a ton of daily business on our phones, this is good news.
The apps all serve the same function: providing access to a free monthly credit score update. You can also get most of the information found on the desktop versions of the platform, such as factors affecting your credit and recommendations for improving it. Other details you can find there are an updated estimate on your home value, real-time savings advice on home loans, and useful graphics of your finances.
Credit Sesame App Features
The credit score provided by Credit Sesame comes from TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus.
Some of the features included with this mobile app are:
- The ability to check your complete financial snapshot (view monthly payments, credit profile, score, home value etc.)
- Trend graphs of your credit score in different areas for up to six months
- Automatic updates of your credit score and profile as TransUnion reports them
A tool like this would be recommended for anyone who is considering a new line of credit and would benefit greatly from improving their credit score.
A few points can mean tens of thousands of dollars when applying for a mortgage, so make sure to follow your credit score as closely as possible.
Which Credit Bureau Does Credit Sesame Use?
Credit Sesame pulls your credit score from the TransUnion credit reporting agency. They’re one of the three primary credit bureaus (Experian and Equifax are the other two.)
TransUnion’s credit score is called your VantageScore, and through Credit Sesame, you can check this score once a month at no charge. The credit scoring range is 300-850, just like the FICO range (although it doesn’t correspond exactly to your FICO score.) According to TransUnion, they track your payment history for the past two years, giving a fairly broad picture of your credit.
How Accurate Is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame reports your credit score accurately as far as can be reflected by TransUnion’s available data. Since the other two agencies might show slightly different transactions or payments, the Credit Sesame free credit score is not a complete picture of your personal credit. It’s also not the same as your FICO score.
The score you’ll see with Credit Sesame has the same range as FICO, but they’re not calculated using the same formulas. Since FICO’s is the one most banks and lenders will use in determining your eligibility for credit, you’ll likely want to check your scores in several ways. You should still examine your complete yearly credit report, which is free and includes all three reporting agencies’ information.
So remember that the information is accurate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it tells you everything you need to know. Your score with Equifax or Experian may differ. However, Credit Sesame provides an important step in a handful of actions to protect and improve your overall score.
Will Using Credit Sesame Hurt My Credit Score?
Nope. Monitoring your credit score with Credit Sesame is simply a precautionary measure. It has zero impact on your score itself.
When you check your monthly credit score with Credit Sesame, it’s considered a “soft inquiry” or “soft pull” rather than a “hard inquiry.” Basically, a hard inquiry is what happens when you apply for a new loan, and these types of inquiries can negatively impact your score, although it’s usually temporary.
A soft inquiry is purely informational; it’s not being used to apply for more credit. So your credit score will not go down because of these monthly credit updates.
Signing Up For Credit Sesame
Signing up for Credit Sesame takes just a few minutes. The questions you’ll be asked are the same for any financial account you open up. You’ll need to enter your name (if you’re recently married, you might need to include your maiden name), address, and phone number. When completed, a few security questions are asked to verify your identity.
No credit card or payment method is required to sign up!
After you’ve opened an account, you’ll immediately be provided your TransUnion credit score. It’s the first thing you’ll see once you create the account.
Any debt you have will also be displayed on the login landing page so after you’ve opened an account, make sure to visit the “My Finances” section and update accordingly.
Credit Sesame also provides a nice tracker to see how your TransUnion credit score stacks up on the scale of worst to best.
Parts of the interface have to do with setting up goals and letting Credit Sesame make recommendations on how to improve your credit. This is how Credit Sesame makes money. They will get a commission if you open up a new account through their affiliate links. Remember to take in the advice, but do more research on how to improve your credit.
Your free credit monitoring service includes a newly updated credit score every month. As said before, they pull information from your TransUnion records to calculate your new VantageScore. You do have the option of more frequent checks, but any more often than once a month will come with a cost.
You can get a lot of value from Credit Sesame for free. But if you are interested in taking it a step further you can upgrade your plan.
The “Advanced Credit” plan starts at $9.95/month for the “Advanced Credit” plan. With this plan, you receive daily credit scores and monthly credit reports and scores from all three bureaus.
The “Pro Credit Plan” costs $15.95/month and adds on credit monitoring with all three bureaus and access to live customer service representatives if you need help reporting inaccuracies.
The “Platinum Protection” is $19.95/month. This includes all the features from the other plans as well as access to representatives that will help you if your wallet is lost or stolen. This plan also monitors the internet for your information on black market websites, in public records, and potential misuse of your Social Security number.
But again, the basic credit score updates are totally free, so don’t jump into a paid plan unless that’s what you really want.
What If I Decide To Cancel?
You can cancel your account with Credit Sesame at any time. They’ve made cancellation just as simple as signup, so all you have to do is visit their “deactivate account” page online. Or, if you’d prefer to log into your account, just go to your profile page and click the “deactivate account” link right on the page.
There’s another step involved if you’re a paid subscriber. If you’re a premium subscriber, you’ll need to cancel your paid subscription before you can deactivate your Credit Sesame account. Either way, it’s easy to stop using the services for any reason at any time.
Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma
Credit Karma operates in the same space as Credit Sesame. Their credit score monitoring services are both trustworthy, but here are a few key differences.
Credit Sesame only provides your score based on TransUnion data, not the other two credit bureaus. Credit Karma gives you your VantageScore from Equifax, so pairing both of these free services gets you more information than either alone. Credit Karma also comes out ahead in that they offer a full credit report from both agencies for free.
Another big difference between these two companies: the frequency of credit score updates. Credit Sesame, as we’ve established, updates your score monthly. Credit Karma, on the other hand, updates your score on a weekly basis, which might be ideal if you’re extra concerned about keeping close tabs on your credit.
A final difference is in their identity theft protection. While both services do offer some level of identity theft protection, Credit Karma does not offer any insurance to back it up. Their protection comes more in the form of vigilant credit monitoring, which should alert you to any suspicious activity. Credit Sesame takes it a step further by providing $50,000 in free identity theft insurance coverage. That’s a fantastic feature.
Both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma have user-friendly apps and a wealth of resources on their platforms to help you manage and improve your credit score. They would work well together to help you keep an eye on your credit in a thorough way.
Is Credit Sesame Legit?
Credit Sesame has been around since 2010 and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
You can access free credit scores monthly for as long as you wish. With a suite of free services which includes credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, Credit Sesame is definitely worth checking out. Plus, if you’d like a bit more robust level of protection, you can try one of their paid subscriptions that have more features.
Is Credit Sesame Safe?
Yes, Credit Sesame is safe. They use industry-standard encryption to protect your personal data. Their security practices are also approved by Verisign.
Also, you don’t need to give a credit card to utilize Credit Sesame’s free services, so that adds another layer of protection as well.
Credit Sesame Verdict
Checking your credit has never been easier. Credit Sesame provides a lot of value for free, including your score and credit monitoring. If you want to upgrade, you can even add services such as daily score updates and full credit reports from all three credit bureaus.
If you want to stay on top of your credit, this one is a no brainer.