Did you know that consumers used to be unable to access their credit score without paying? Most credit monitoring services would offer a free trial, but they’d charge as soon as that trial expired. If you forgot to cancel, you’d get hit with a (sometimes hefty!) fee. Now, though, consumers have lots of options for getting their credit score for free. One of those options is by signing up for Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame Overview
Credit Sesame gives you access to a credit score based on your TransUnion credit report. TransUnion is one of the three major credit bureaus. Credit Sesame calculates the score using the TransUnion Vantage 3.0 scoring model. Included in your free credit score with Credit Sesame is a credit profile, which breaks down why you have the score you do.
Credit Sesame does not include your full credit report with this offer, but they’ll try to sell you one for $9.99. If you need your credit report, though, you can get a free copy once a year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Opening up a Credit Sesame account provides you access to a few different areas to the site. Each one requires a little bit of information about your financial status, which then leads to a set of goals or recommendations from Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame Credit Score
Credit Sesame went through an extensive site redesign a few years ago, so their interface is as developed as Credit Karma or Quizzle (you can compare these options with Credit Sesame in our Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma vs. Quizzle comparison). They were able to do this while keeping the advertising to a minimum.
After logging in, you’ll land on a page that looks similar to the one you see below. Your credit score will show on the left side along with a financial snapshot of your credit situation. The grades you see relate to how a credit score is calculated.
The major areas Credit Sesame (and all credit scoring formulas) look at include:
- Payment History
- Credit Usage
- Credit Age
- Account Mix
Below the snapshot is where you’ll begin to find the Credit Sesame advertising package. Based on your credit score, they’ll attempt to match you to offers you can apply and be approved for. There is absolutely no obligation to click through any of their suggestions.
Credit Sesame Financial Snapshot
On the Credit Sesame “My Finances” tab, you’ll see your debt to income ratio. After inserting the amount of monthly income you receive, Credit Sesame will give you a snapshot of your monthly budget. They break down your debts via category and offer your total monthly “debt” payment.
Just as important as the amount of debt you have is the kind of debt you have. Owning a home and having a mortgage would qualify as “good debt” whereas being saddled with credit card debt classifies as “bad debt.” The idea behind this is that routinely-paid mortgage shows responsibility whereas ongoing credit card debt (with high interest rates) shows living beyond your means.
Credit Sesame Financial Goals
This is the interactive part of Credit Sesame. Through the Goals section, users have the ability to input their hopes for their financial future. There are eight different goal sections to utilize, as well as an “other” category to add something you don’t see.
After inputting a goal, one of two things will happen. Either an orange box will appear which says “See Advice,” or a gray box will appear that says “No Advice Yet.” Credit Sesame is a bit hit or miss with their advice, however. Some of it is helpful, but most of it is obvious advertising.
For example, I have input a goal to improve my credit score. Credit Sesame suggests I do four things in order to achieve this goal:
- Set your improve credit goal
- Keep your credit utilization low
- Make all payments on time
- Check your credit report–$9.95 when purchased here at Credit Sesame.
As you can see, the first step is already done. The next two are good pieces of advice on what is needed to improve your credit score. The last is a shameless plug to entice you to spend $10. Ultimately, these goals and the advice provided are mostly helpful. Just be careful in going further into debt by signing up for a recurring service!
Why Everyone Should Sign Up with Credit Sesame
I never knew just how important my credit score was until I needed it. By then, I had already tanked my credit history. When I applied for my first credit card out of college, I learned my credit score was 414. For the last six years, I check my credit score at least once a week. In 2012, when my credit score reached 675, I was confident enough to apply for my first mortgage loan, and I was approved!
Knowing your credit score is important for a variety of reasons, but the most important of which is just how much money it can save you. Americans with an excellent credit score pay thousands of dollars less on their mortgage and credit cards every year when compared to those with poor credit. When you add the savings up over the course of a lifetime, it’s massive.
Sign up for Credit Sesame and start monitoring your credit for free.
Here are two great ways to get your credit score for free:
- Credit Karma offers a free credit monitoring service that makes it easy to access your scores and credit reports at any time.
- Another option 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.