One of the most important aspects to managing your finances is monitoring your credit score and ensuring you maintain a great score.
This can impact many areas of your financial life like getting approval for loans, what your interest rates might be, and approval for credit cards.
And a great way to monitor your credit and get recommendations to better your score is through a platform called Credit Sesame.
There are a few credit monitoring services out there, but Credit Sesame’s platform is one of the better choices.
Below is a look at the credit tool and my Credit Sesame review.
Quick Review: In short, I RECOMMEND Credit Sesame to help monitor your credit and there many other features, giving it a 8.7/10 score. You can sign-up for free here to start keeping track of your credit.
What is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame was founded back in 2010 to make consumer credit and loan management simple and automated.
Since then, the company has raised over $120 Million by leading venture capital firms and strategic investors, including Menlo Ventures, Inventus Capital, Globespan Capital, and others.
Over the years, Credit Sesame became one of the fastest growing financial wellness and credit monitoring companies.
The company’s focus is on helping consumers manage their credit and loans better. Plus, you’ll get access to some of the best tools and recommendations to improve your finances.
Their core priorities are:
- Credit scores & monitoring
- Identity theft protection
- Savings recommendations
Is Credit Sesame Free?
And the big question with any money tool or product is what the costs can be. With Credit Sesame, it is entirely free to sign-up and use.
You can use their website to create an account and then download the Credit Sesame App to take in on the go.
Many sites in the credit monitoring space say they have free services, but actually aren’t when it comes down to getting the insights you need.
However, Credit Sesame does not pull that on their users so you never have to pay for anything that you don’t want.
There are optional features to upgrade to a paid account, but you are not required to enter any payment information when you sign-up. So you won’t have to worry about unexpected charges.
How Does Credit Sesame Make Money?
Cool, so the account is free to sign-up and use.
But how does Credit Sesame actually make any money? It’s a good question and something you may be wondering.
So here’s how the company brings in revenue.
First, Credit Sesame makes money by their paid services to customers. Again, this is entirely optional and you never have to upgrade to the advanced features if you do not want to.
Another way they make money is through their affiliate model on credit cards or loan products. They provide the best recommendation options to you and if you apply to one of them, Credit Sesame will receive a commission.
Like other businesses who practice the commission model, Credit Sesame ensures they are only sharing trusted and quality products. Otherwise, they would lose their customers’ trust.
So you can ensure that their suggestions are generally based on your personal situations and what will fit your needs best.
Lastly, Credit Sesame has some advertising partners that maye display some simple ads to you.
These are not overwhelming or bombard your experience with the platform. I think they handle this well without it taking over your screen.
How Credit Sesame Works
When you sign up, you’ll create your account and answer some quick questions about you.
That way, Credit Sesame can securely gather your financial profile and pull things like your credit score, loan and credit balances, debt-to-income ratio and home value, etc.
Then based on your profile, they evaluate tons of financial products from major banks, monitor market indicators, and create financial forecasts and trends tailored for you. This is used to help provide the best options to save you money.
After that, Credit Sesame also uses their algorithm or “recommendation engine” to identify the top credit cards and personal, home, and auto loans that would work best based on your credit profile.
These can totally be ignored if you don’t need those options, but all the research is done for you.
Additionally, your credit profile, available loans and changes in the market are constantly updated, so you’ll always have the most accurate financial picture.
Plus, there are many other free options you can take advantage of like their free identity theft protection.
You’ll be covered with $50K identify theft insurance and get complete guidance to help you through the steps to restore and protect your identity if stolen.
What is Credit Sesame Score Based On?
By using a service like Credit Sesame, you can check on your credit score as much as you want without it affecting your score.
These are “soft inquiries” which do not get reported and dock your score a few points like a hard inquiry would.
So how is Credit Sesame pulling your score?
This is pulled from TransUnion, which is updated every month. Now there is also Equifax and Experian, which can be slightly different numbers but these are not used in Credit Sesame’s scoring.
Additionally, the score you see isn’t a FICO score, which is the one most lenders look for when making any decisions about approving your credit. Instead, Credit Sesame displays an alternative called the VantageScore 3.0.
A VantageScore 3.0 is used by some lenders, and uses the same standard range as FICO would, 300 to 850 range.
This means the algorithm used to calculate your score is slightly varied from your FICO, meaning your Credit Sesame score could be a few points lower or higher.
However, just because a VantageScore and a FICO score aren’t the exact same doesn’t mean Credit Sesame’s scoring is not valuable.
You can still use it to monitor your progress and know you FICO is probably going up or down along with what Credit Sesame shows.
Credit Sesame Pros and Cons
Now that you understand how the company makes money and their scoring system, I wanted to list out the pros and cons of using Credit Sesame.
Pros of Credit Sesame:
- Free to use the website and Credit Sesame Apps
- $50k Identity theft protection completely free
- Real time alerts on new inquiries to catch errors
- Tailored recommendations for the best loans, credit cards, and other money tools
- No credit card information required to sign up
Cons of Credit Sesame:
- While still a fairly accurate credit score, not based on FICO
- Only pulls TransUnion score
- Customer service option is limited, only help center to email
Is Credit Sesame Accurate?
Credit Sesame will provide you a solid overall picture of your credit score. But remember, they use VantageScore instead of FICO score.
Most lenders usually base credit decisions on your FICO score, which can be slightly lower or higher than what Credit Sesame shows.
However, most credit score checking companies won’t provide your exact score that you see on any credit monitoring platform. It’s more of an overall picture of where you are at.
But Credit Sesame is as accurate as any other credit monitoring company, you may just see a fluctuation of a handful of points in either direction.
Does Credit Sesame Hurt Your Credit?
No, using Credit Sesame will not hurt your credit score at all. Since checking in on your score is a “soft inquiry” this does not get reported or reflected in your credit number.
This is great, because now you can check in on your score and financial profile as much as you want without worry.
Credit Sesame Vs. Credit Karma
Probably the more well-known credit monitoring platform is Credit Karma, which is also free to use. There are pros and cons of both outlets, but not going to dive in to deep here.
Honestly, since they are both free to use and offer different benefits I’ve always recommended signing-up for both.
Neither will hurt your score for having an account or checking your scores. Plus, it’s a great way to compare the too and see what information is similar or different.
Is Credit Sesame Safe?
Yes, Credit Sesame is safe. The company uses encryption and firewalls to protect all of their members account information.
Nothing these days is completely hack proof exactly, but Credit Sesame uses the same financial security that all banks are using — meaning the highest level of security.
And when you sign up, you do not have to provide your entire social security number – just the last 4 digits. This can help you feel a bit more at ease knowing your full social security number is protected a bit more.
Is Credit Sesame Right For Me?
If you are actively monitoring your credit, trying to maintain a good score, and working on your personal finances, Credit Sesame is a perfect tool to use.
It’s a great way to protect yourself from identity theft and get access to the best financial recommendations for loans and credit cards.
Plus, it’s completely free to sign-up and use!