Ad Alert

Credit Karma

Credit Karma advertises its website as a way to access your credit score for free. But whether Credit Karma’s service is “free” depends on how you want to define “free.”

Here’s one way: Credit Karma will not charge your A magical piece of plastic made by banks that is sent to your home (normally accompanied with countless pages of fine print disclosures) that allows you to buy virtually anything, and you can use its service without ever paying a dollar. Its service is “free” in this way.

But this is not a no-strings-attached offer. In exchange for the service, Credit Karma will send you “offers” from its affiliates, and it will target you using the information from your credit report and score. For example, it may send you credit card offers based on the information in your credit report. (Credit Karma does not share your information with its affiliates; it merely uses it to target you with email and web ads.)

Consumers should decide whether giving a company access to your credit report so they can better target you with ads is the same as “free.” Especially when you can already access your credit reports for free.

For more on credit reports, click here.

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