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Join us as we compare the unique features of the three best online credit score tools in this 'Credit Karma vs Credit Sesame vs Quizzle' roundup.

If you’re looking for a free way to check your credit score, look no further than three websites. Quizzle.com, CreditKarma.com, and CreditSesame.com each offer free scores. Although they offer similar services, each site has its own nuances and unique perks.

But before we get into an analysis of each service, it’s important to understand one thing. The credit score you receive from free credit score services is not based on the official FICO scoring model.

Instead, you’ll receive a credit score based on models developed by the credit reporting agencies. So the score you see may differ somewhat from what lenders will actually see. However, in my experience, these scores are very similar to your FICO score. The benefit of these services, as you’ll see, is that they can help you improve your score at no cost.

With that information in mind, let’s take a look at all three free credit monitoring services.

Credit Karma

Credit Karma offers a free credit monitoring service that makes it easy to access your scores and credit reports at any time. In addition to a free estimated credit score, you can also sign up for free automatic credit alerts, email alerts when important changes occur, and identity theft tracking and protection.

 credit karma

One of the benefits of Credit Karma is that it tracks your estimated score based on two different credit reports–the one from TransUnion and the one from Equifax. They don’t say the exact scoring model they use, but some suggest they use either TransUnion’s New Account score or the VantageScore model.

One of the best parts of Credit Karma is its free credit simulator. It takes into account all of your current credit information, and then lets you visualize what effect different moves will have on that score. You can see what would happen if you racked up more credit card debt or paid some off. What if you made a late payment, or made zero late payments for the next six months?

With the simulator, you can easily figure out which financial choices are likely to have the biggest impact on your credit score. This is an excellent tool if you’re seeking to improve your credit score over time.

Credit Karma also offers several good calculators, including a home affordability calculator, a debt repayment calculator, and an amortization calculator.


Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame provides you with free credit monitoring. And it’s not a limited-time free offer that requires you to put a credit card on file, either!

Like the other two services listed here, Credit Sesame will only pull your information from a single credit bureau. In this case, the score is based on your TransUnion credit file, and it’s based on the VantageScore 3.0.

Credit Sesame features a slick interface. It gives you your current score, as well as some information about why your score is what it is. You can also sign up for credit monitoring alerts. The feature alerts you to changes in your credit score or TransUnion credit report.

Here are some of the other benefits offered for free through Credit Sesame:

  • Free Identity Theft Protection–When you sign up for the site, you get $50,000 in identity theft insurance and fraud resolution assistance.
  • Mobile Apps–Credit Sesame offers a mobile app that allow you to access the same information and tools that are available on the website using your iPhone or Android mobile device.
  • The Best Rates Available–Credit Sesame will help you find the best rates available on personal loans, investment accounts, and auto insurance policies.
  • Credit Card Suggestions–Using information provided in your credit profile, Credit Sesame is able to suggest balance transfer and rewards offers that might benefit you.



Quizzle gives you a free credit report every three months, and they don’t require you to put a credit card on file. Along with your free credit report, Quizzle also provides you with a free credit score.


Like Credit Sesame, Quizzle uses the VantageScore model and your TransUnion credit report. The VantageScore model is still not used as often as the FICO model, but it’s gaining steam with lenders.

The VantageScore tends to be better for people with little credit history. It also assigns a hierarchy to late payments, whereas FICO treats most of them equally. For instance, with a VantageScore, a late mortgage payment will have a larger impact than a late credit card payment.


Another options is Experian. You get your Experian credit report and FICO score when you sign up for Experian’s Score Tracker. You get a 7-day free trial.

Credit Builder Tools

In addition to the free credit report and credit score, Quizzle also provides the following Credit Builder tools:

  • Credit Comparison–This feature lets you compare two of your last four credit reports for a line-by-line analysis of why your score went up or down.
  • Score Analysis–This feature analyzes your credit score and suggests ways to improve it.
  • Credit Timeline–This feature uses charts and graphs to illustrate how your credit score fluctuates over time.
  • Credit Trending–This tool tracks the direction of your credit; that can include the direction of your credit score, credit utilization, and your available credit.

If you want to pay for their services, Quizzle also offers packages with wider benefits. The Quizzle Pro Plan, for example, provides you with a monthly credit report, credit score update, and 24/7 monitoring for $8 per month.

Meanwhile, Quizzle Pro+ offers everything that the Pro version has in addition to public records monitoring, sex offender monitoring, lost wallet protection, and tri-bureau dispute resolution for $15 per month.

Under ordinary circumstances, the free version will probably meet your needs quite well. However, if you are trying to build your credit or want to monitor changes to your credit more closely, you may want to consider one of their paid services.

Looking for Identity Theft Service? Check out LifeLock

Which Credit Monitoring Service is Best?

If you’re trying to decide which site to use for your free credit score, you should know that you don’t have to pick just one. If you want all of the perks that these services offer, you can easily sign up for all three.

The most important thing to remember is that your credit score matters. Whether you use just one site or all three, it’s crucial that you stay on top of your score. Since all three of these sites offer this important information for free, you have no excuse not to sign up for at least one of them.

What’s your opinion? Have you used any of these three free credit monitoring services? If so, which would you recommend?

Listen to our show on how to track all three of your credit scores

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1082
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments

Kelli B says:

Great comparison of these free credit checker services. I use all 3 since they’re free and offer different “view points”. I find that it’s a great way to keep an eye on things in between pulling my free annual credit reports.

Caroline says:

Keeping an eye on your credit score can be a good way to find out if you have been a victim of identity theft. Good to see ID theft tracking being offered as an option.

J. Alec West says:

As this article says in the beginning, all three of these free services DO NOT offer “true” FICO scores. I’ve only tried one of them (Credit Karma) and found that their scores aren’t even close to reality (at least in my case). I know because, between all my credit cards, I get “real” free credit scores from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once monthly. In addition, their comments area is dangerous … seriously. Comments left are un-monitored. So, you end up with a situation where you’ve got the “blind leading the blind” – offering advice that can be very good or very bad (with no way for a credit neophyte to tell the difference).

I’ve not tried Quizzle or Credit Sesame so I can’t say for sure. But if they allow members to leave comments, I’d expect nothing different from the comments left on Credit Karma.

C. Han says:

Credit Karma announced that they use Vantage score 3, score ranges from 300 to 850 as FICO.

C. Tyson says:

I use Credit Karma basically to monitor changes to my credit. I like that they are quick to update the records. I don’t like having debt and don’t have credit cards. When I bought a new car in 2014 I had trouble getting a loan with a good rate because I didn’t have any credit. I got a card from Lowe’s Home Improvement just to have some credit.

I tried to sign up for Quizzle but never received the email with the link to proceed with the sign up. That is a big No for me.

I also tried Credit Sesame and didn’t like the fact that I had to pay to get a full report. That’s not free in my book. Credit Karma provides the credit score and report for free.

Liz Schimmel says:

Do Quizzle and Credit Sesame affect your score when you check it a as lender’s inquiry would affect a score? I know that checking your scores on Credit Karma does not but wanted to know if the same holds true for Quizzle and Credit Sesame. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Stephanie Colestock says:


Merely checking your credit will not affect your score or show an inquiry. That will only happen when a lender of some form pulls an inquiry in order to extend you a line of credit (or increase an existing line). So, you can safely check Quizzle and Credit Sesame without any worry 🙂


Rik Haines says:

My bank uses Experian to determine credit score. In my case, my Experian score is 35 points lower than what CreditKarma and Credit Sesame report. My bank requires a minimum of 660 to apply for a loan, yet Sesame is constantly sending me offers for credit cards and messages saying I have the credit score to buy a house with. Thanks, duly noted, taken with a grain of salt. Would surely be nice if all lenders and credit reporters used the same same scoring model.

Mark says:

MyFico.com is your true score

Fey says:

Thanks for the tip about MyFico.com I have found Credit Karma to be off 100 points on my credit score in the past.

DD says:

I belive CREDITSESAME displays your “Transunion” score monthly and the first time you access the site for free!!

Bigtexun says:

All this talk about FICO scores VS other scoring systems is great and all…. But it ignores the fact that there are *MANY* FICO scoring models, each for a different purpose. So when someone says they use FICO, you have tio ask which one? When someone posts a column like this one here, and they fail to address the different FICO formulas, then you can’t take comparisons seriously. There is NO single FICO scoring system.

My advice is simple, give up on finding a source of scores to match what lenders use,
you should assume the scores are relative, and you should simply focus on improving the scores you see. There are 3 different FICO scoring tracks, with 9 models each, so there are at least 27 different FICO formulas. So 27 different FICO scores, and your lender may use one or several of them to evaluate your credit. Anyone that talks about FICO as if it is a single system simply does not know what they are talking about.

Billy Dalton-Brattin says:

That is absolutely correct about their being around 27 FICO scoring models. Score 8 is popular but their are many, you have one insurance companies like to go with, one for buying a car, and so forth. It’s been reported that at least one scoring model takes the “big 3” bureaus score’s and gives an average of the 3, though by no means is that the only way FICO is calculated. Trying to track down ALL of your credit scores, which are fluid, is kind of like trying to heard cats.

Joel McN says:

I agree,,also to many company’s use Transunion and I have found them to be the worst offender of your reporting score….and credit Karma will suck you rite into trouble with them….

JC Connors says:

To my knowledge, the only time all 3 scores from T-Union, Equifax and experian are used is for home loans. It is called a tri-merge. Different banks use different bureaus. I run car dealerships and have upwards of 30 different lending institutions to finance customers through. Credit unions very more than any other. Most loans for vehicles are based on trans union. Some banks have a check box at the bottom of the app we submit to tell them which one we want them to look at. Some use different versions. All bureaus have different versions IE: TU has 4 different versions that banks use . It seems unfair to me considering they are playing with the consumer and can cost you not only a ton of money in interest if your score is lower on one than the other but could also stop a purchase if the score is to low. Seems like there should be a regulation in process to stop these type of practices. First you can’t really get anyone to give you a real way to calculate your score. Second , there should be only one score per bureau and third it should be mandatory they all use the same formula to calculate your score and that it should be disclosed exactly how it’s done rather than having a reply of IE slow pay, repossession, BK, collections, high debt, no credit ( ghost ) , I feel they all take advantage of the consumer and have to much pull and influence to determine how bad a bank can gouge you on an interest rate.

Robin says:

Couldn’t have said it better!

Rebecca says:

I’d buy a car from you – where is your dealership? 🙂

Shawn says:

Any car dealerships in NY? 🙂

Aj Awesomesauce says:

Thanks to this comment. I stopped paying for monthly updates on my FICO score, and stopped being obsessed with who is showing what score. It’s all relative. I’m more focused on fixing the things on there that need fixing and watching my scores increase for free on Credit Karma. I have been focused on being on time, diversifying my credit, trying to keep inquiries down, and keeping accounts open. Those are my goals. Everybody uses a different system and it gets exhausting trying to track them all.

Anne says:

I am SO thankful for Credit Karma! They immediately notified me that there was a hard inquiry on my credit report. I called the Bank that was on the report and I found out that someone had just opened an Amazon Credit Card in my name and spend $364. They were great in helping me report it as fraud that very same day it happened, and of course, it all was reversed, including the hard inquiry.

mary tatom says:

thanks for that heads up. i have made positive changes having em as my credit advisor.

Lowell Smith says:

I stopped using Credit Sesame because they started bombarding my in box with ‘score updates’ and other crap. Rob, how do you manage all the email you get from them?
Instead I use only Credit Sesame that sends maybe one or two emails a month.

Rob Berger says:

You can always opt out of the emails.

Renee Belsha says:

I use credit Karma and credit sesame. Credit karma updates are more frequent and their dispute process is free and efficient. Credit Sesame sends me emails constantly and uses only one bureau. After 1 year with Credit Karma, my score went from low good to excellent by following their suggestions.

Arun says:

I use just Credit Karma and don’t want my information with all the websites. Based on the comparison and experience, Credit Karma is better. It’s true that the monthly FICO scores from credit lenders are different from vantage score model used by credit karma (usually vantage score is lower than FICO), the information can be used to manage your credit score. The advantage is you get reports from Equifax & Transunion and the updates are done weekly. So you can track your score every week. I say that’s a pretty good deal and if you track the changes for few weeks, you will know how your financial decisions can impact the score without even using simulators. Lastly, since 2016, credit karma also offers a portal to file your taxes free and I used it. Great deal!!!

Sharon says:

I AGREE With You Totally Thank You For Speaking

Tindime says:

I agree also, thanks for the info

Arhur says:

I used Credit Sesame for 18 months BTW it should be called Credit “Spam Me” The incessant emails were annoying and even after “opting out” several times they still would stop. I ended up canceling because their debt “offers” would easily destroy my credit. For a company that is supposed to help monitor and improve your credit they see to be more than willing to seel you out the credit card companies, loan companies etc. that will destroy your credit. I’d stay away from them.

Pretty Magnetic says:

Good to know – thank You!

Stephen Webster says:

I’m surprised that you did not mention credit.com which offers an Experian Vantage score. I’m quite happy with them and also Credit Karma so I am able to monitor all three Vantage scores along with the Experian Fico 8 I can receive from American Express and the TransUnion Fico 8 I can receive from Discover. All I need is a source for the Equifax Fico 8.

Fred Winseman says:

If I can get a free credit report, why can’t I get a free FICO score? If it’s about me why should I have to pay?

Warren says:

I have been using credit karma for some time now. While it is a useful tool it is very far from your actual credit score at times.

Valerie says:

About getting your FICO score for free, idk how many, or if all, or just Mountain America Credit Union does it, but I do know that Mountain America does give me my FICO score for free, on their app, and probably online too. I’m not positive about what is available online but the app also has a credit simulator, a brief explanation of your score, and some basic tips.

K says:

Most credit cards Citi, discover, amex, and even some banks will give you the FICO for free. Just sign up no gun to your head to use the credit.

Anthony says:

Quizzle is no more. They are now telling you by email to sign up with Bankrate – which I personally think, is worthless.

Alan Cornelius says:

I do not like the Vantage scoring. Unless you have already excellent credit the score you see can be every deceiving and as much as 30-40 points off from the actual score of a specific bureau. Why can’t we get free daily access to the REAL time scores of the different bureaus. I showed a score from the Vantage system on one of the ‘Credit’ apps that was 30 points higher than actual.

Charles George says:

I like being able to use more than one Credit Monitoring service. However, Crediit Karma seems to want you to get one Credit Card to pay off another because of a better rate. Doesn’t this affect your credit even more?

Angela M says:

I use Credit Karma and really like it because unlike the other two that only give TransUnion, it also gives me Experian. I have also found that many of the people I already have credit with provide me with a fairly updated credit score (I am guessing of a soft inquiry) with my statements or when I log into my account online. I do find it ridiculous that these credit bureaus seem to get them without issue but if we want them we practically have to pay for them but get a somewhat worthless Vantage Score for free? From what I have heard, unsure if true but isn’t our Fico scored differently per vendor? That they have different algorithms to factor our score based on how they they deem a debt to be? Like a mortgage lender might get a slightly different score than a credit card company using the same agency?

Paul says:

I’ve used all these free services and most are significantly “off” in terms of actual credit score (due largely to the different scoring formulas previously mentioned). In most cases, these services will state your score higher than it really is. If you happen to have a Discover card, their free credit scoring service is the most accurate general scoring option I’ve found. Even though they are typically off with scoring, I have found these free services useful for monitoring your credit accounts and the like.