Credit Karma Canada Review

Credit Karma Review Canada
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Ease of Use
  • Additional Services
  • Mobile App
4.3

Credit Karma Review Summary:

Credit Karma offers Canadians a free way to check their credit scores and get weekly or monthly credit reports using data from TransUnion (one of the 2 major credit bureaus in Canada). Our Credit Karma review shows that the site is legit, secure, and as safe as any financial site on the internet.

Checking your credit with Credit Karma doesn’t negatively affect your score + sign-up is easy because it doesn’t require a credit card or your SIN.

Our number one choice for free credit score reporting is Borrowell, but the verdict on our Credit Karma review is still positive: Credit Karma comes in at number 2 and remains a solid option for Canadians outside of Quebec.

Pros

  • Free credit score and regular reports
  • Quick sign-up
  • 128-bit encryption and a dedicated security team
  • Doesn’t require a credit card number or SIN
  • Actually free (no hidden fees)
  • App available on the Apple App Store and Google Pay
  • Offers recommendations for credit cards, loans, and mortgages

Cons

  • Doesn’t report FICO score
  • Some consumers have reported slightly higher scores on Credit Karma
  • Many banks and lenders already offer on-demand access to credit scores for account holders
  • No phone support
  • Not available to residents of Quebec

What Is Credit Karma?

When a company offers free credit score reporting, people are understandably wary. Is it legit? Is it safe? Why would you trust a random website to tell you your credit score? Our Credit Karma review is here to answer all these questions and more.

Credit Karma is a free personal finance app that has been providing free credit scores and reports to its American members since 2007, but until 2016, Canadians had to pay for the service.

This Credit Karma review gives you all the details on this free credit reporting site and puts it head-to-head against Borrowell so you can choose which platform is best for you.

Is Credit Karma Safe and Legit?

Apart from the inherent risk involved in giving any website your financial information (let’s not forget the Equifax data breach of 2017, which affected 143 million people worldwide), Credit Karma is both safe and legit.

Credit Karma is part of the Intuit family of software, which is well known and trusted, and which includes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, and Mail Chimp. Credit Karma also features 128-bit data encryption and regular security assessments.

This credit reporting service doesn’t require either your SIN or any credit card information. It’s also committed not to share the personal information it does ask for with any affiliated third parties for its own marketing purposes.

Basically, this is a well-known, well-established site that you can trust.

How Does Credit Karma Work?

Signing up for Credit Karma is easy:

1. Visit the Credit Karma website

2. Enter your personal information

3. Verify your identity

4. Request your credit score

Checking your credit score with Credit Karma is a “soft check,” which means that it doesn’t affect your credit score at all. The credit bureaus differentiate between credit checks for the purpose of borrowing (hard checks) and credit checks for the purpose of monitoring your score (soft checks).

Credit Karma also offers the option of free weekly or monthly credit reports.

So, if Credit Karma is giving away this information, how does it make money, you ask? The site features credit card offers and mortgage and loan providers, all of which are personalized based on your credit score.

If you use a Credit Karma link to get a new credit card, a loan, or a mortgage, they get a cut from the company. It’s affiliate marketing, and it’s a business model that’s been used for years.

You’re never obligated to use any of the services you offer, and you pay no fees at all to Credit Karma. It’s a genuinely free service if you want it to be.

Is Your Credit Karma Score Accurate?

Credit Karma uses data from TransUnion to provide its credit scores and reports. TransUnion is one of two credit bureaus in Canada (the other is Equifax, which is used by Borrowell – more on that later).

Different credit bureaus calculate credit scores in different ways, but they all use similar financial data. That means that they often come up with slightly different numbers but all the scores should fall within the same range (excellent/very good/good/fair, etc).

Does Credit Karma Canada Offer Other Services?

Credit Karma offers its American clients FDIC-insured no-fee chequing and savings accounts, and previously offered free tax filing (that branch of Credit Karma US has since been acquired by the Cash App).

So, what bonus features does Credit Karma offer to Canadian members?

Honestly? Nothing (for now).

Credit Karma Canada offers credit scores and optional weekly/monthly credit reports, plus financial blog posts that cover Canada-specific personal finance. That’s really it, apart from the credit card, loan, and mortgage offers that keep them profitable (and keep the reports free).

Now, keep in mind that Credit Karma has been operating in Canada for only a handful of years. Their website says that they’ll “be adding more and more features to help you make informed decisions and give you useful opinions.”

What those features will be, we can’t say. And, honestly, we can’t base a Credit Karma review on things they plan to do. For now, it’s a credit reporting site that offers personalized credit recommendations. That’s it.

Credit Karma vs. Borrowell

Our Credit Karma review wouldn’t be complete without comparing it to Borrowell, our most recommended free credit score service for Canadians. We’ll start with a chart for easy reference and then briefly dig into what sets them apart.

 Credit KarmaBorrowell
Features– Quick sign-up
– Free credit score checks
– Weekly/monthly credit reports
– Lending/credit recommendations
– Personal finance articles
– Quick sign-up
– Free credit score checks
– Weekly credit reports
– Lending/credit/banking/insurance recommendations
– Personal finance articles
– Bill-tracking service via the app
– AI personal finance coach
CostFreeFree
Available in Quebec?NoYes
Security128-bit encryption
Dedicated security team
Privacy commitment
256-bit (bank-level) encryption
Privacy commitment
Credit Score SourceTransUnionEquifax
App4.7 stars on Apple App Store (4.6 stars on Google Play), Credit score recommendations, tips, and alerts4.8 stars on Apple App Store (4.6 stars on Google Play), Credit score recommendations, tips, and alerts, Track your bills
Customer ServiceFAQ and email support onlyFAQ and email support only

Credit Karma and Borrowell have a lot of similarities – but there are a few differences that are worth pointing out:

Availability: Credit Karma is not available in Quebec, while Borrowell is.

Security: Borrowell has bank-level encryption. Credit Karma’s 128-bit encryption is acceptable and shouldn’t be held against them, but 256-bit is (obviously) better and makes us feel more confident in the security of the platform.

Credit Scoring: Credit Karma uses data from TransUnion. Borrowell uses data from Equifax. We don’t have a problem with either of these options.

Mobile App Features: The Credit Karma app is a single-tasking financial app that focuses on credit score monitoring and improvement only.

Meanwhile, Borrowell has created more of a budgeting app that not only monitors your credit score but also allows you to track your bill payments and make sure that you never make a late payment again (which, of course, can affect your credit score).  

None of these differences is earth-shattering. Both Credit Karma and Borrowell are safe, accurate, and reliable. Borrowell just has a few features that put it on top for us. It remains our top recommended free credit check platform – but Credit Karma is a close second.

Credit Karma Canada FAQ

Credit Karma Review: The Verdict

Credit Karma is a safe, legit, and free service that allows you to check your credit score and receive monthly or weekly credit reports. It also offers sponsored recommendations for lending products that match your credit profile.

Our Credit Karma Canada Review verdict is positive, with a “but.” While Credit Karma is secure, accurate, and reliable, it remains our second choice for free credit scores in Canada. Borrowell offers additional budgeting services, more app features, and is available in Quebec. Plus, it’s a Canadian company, which is a patriotic bonus.

If you are looking for ways to improve your credit score, check our lists of the best Canadian credit cards or the best secured credit cards in Canada.

Meg

Meg Goodmanson is a writer, editor, virtual assistant, credit card expert, and lifelong learner-of-things. A self-proclaimed nerd, Meg’s favourite thing is collecting information and presenting it in an interesting and helpful way—especially if it helps her travel for free!
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