Two Free Mobile Apps That Can Help You Better Manage Your Credit

By Preeti Mehta, Director of Project Incubation at D2D Fund

In a move towards helping consumers take control of their financial lives, or at least their credit, the CFPB recently called on top credit card companies to make credit scores available to consumers. At D2D, we’ve been thinking a lot about how mobile apps can help consumers make better decisions. So this announcement by the CFPB and a recent post on this blog got me thinking about mobile apps that make it easy for individuals to get their credit reports and credit scores.

 

Why mobile?

Mobile smartphones are everywhere, even among the underserved. According to the Federal Reserve, 69 percent of the unbanked have access to a mobile phone, approximately half of which are smartphones, and 88 percent of the underbanked have access to a mobile phone, 64 percent of which are smartphones. Further, smartphones are increasingly bridging the digital divide: A quarter of smartphone users report that their smartphones are their main source of internet access.

Two free apps for accessing your credit report

Two mobile apps from Credit Karma and Credit Sesame make it easy to access your credit reports. Apps are available for both the iOS and Android operating systems, and the best part - they’re free. Both provide credit reports and free credit scores. Neither requires you to enter credit card information, nor do they offer trial offers, so there is nothing to cancel.

However, it is important to note that neither provides a FICO score from Fair Issac Corporation, which has developed a methodology to assess consumers’ creditworthiness using credit reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, the three major credit bureaus used by lenders. Credit Karma provides a proprietary credit score from TransUnion and Credit Sesame uses one from Experian. Even though these alternative scores differ from the FICO score (the one most lenders use), they’re important indicators of consumers’ creditworthiness, and provide a very reasonable alternative to FICO scores, which can be expensive to get.  So if you have a smartphone, download the apps today.  

Readers should, however, be aware that consumers can receive credit reports free once a year from each of the bureaus from www.annualcreditreport.com. The reports and scores from Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are excellent free alternatives and they also provide free scores.  Readers can find out more about how these scores differ from the FICO scores in the Frequently Asked Question sections of each website (these are also available in-app).   

To verify identity with TransUnion and Experian, both Credit Karma and Credit Sesame require standard personal information to access your credit report, including your address, date of birth, and social security number. While security measures are in place on each app and website, check the privacy policy here and here before downloading the apps.

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 7, 2014

    Second saving strategy: Save for emergencies http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Saver Stories View all »

Learning to Save

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves.

Read more...

Taking Back Control Over Finances

Written by Virginia Saves | August 5, 2015

After becoming a Virginia Saver and getting help from BankOn classes and coaching, Nadine Bialo took back control over her financial affairs.

Read more...

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

Written by Great Lakes Michigan Saves | April 19, 2016

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving