What Credit Sesame Is all About – A Review after 3 years of Use

Credit Sesame is a web site, where you can get your credit score for free. So how reliable it is? I still have a credit sesame account and I do logon every month to check my latest credit score. Here’s an honest review for my readers.

This is what I posted on 06/21/2011

I would start by disclosing that neither did I interview any one in credit sesame, nor have I any interest in their business or income. I am a registered user using credit sesame for some time. I liked it so much that in past 30 days I logged on twice, once just after registering, and then again a while ago just before starting with this post. I am not at all being paid by Credit Sesame for writing this review down. And, I don’t think they will pay me a cent after reading what I am going to write.

I am always interested to know latest credit score. After hearing about Sesame, checking it out was one of the pending tasks for me. Once started the registration process, within few clicks, which included a reluctant typing off of my SSN,  identifying the street I used to live 5 years back and the car model I drive now, I got to see the number I was interested to see.

Experian credit score came up, as I check up credit score every quarter, this score was accurate and matched up to my expectation. Readers, don’t get too excited here. This score is NOT FICO SCORE. This is Experian National Equivalency Score. Which is modeled after the real Experian score that your creditors look at.

Credit Usage, Data Not Consistent

One thing to remember always. Credit bureaus ask for money to provide the credit data, it’s their main business. So all third parties have to pay a fee to obtain credit score and report. Consistently no one can provide you free credit score. So, neither Credit karma nor any other company provides you true FICO score. It’s just a representation of the actual number. Very seldom they pull the actual credit score.

Then the accuracy ended there, my credit balance data and credit usage data were not in sync.  Credit balance shown was not up to date, it was taken from credit card companies when they reported to agencies at cycle cut date. This was huge dissatisfaction with me. On one hand we have Yodlee and Mint providing up to date data, and this guy sourcing it from credit bureau records only.

There were no advices for me. I have no mortgage or car loan and very low credit card balance, hence, they were not supposed to have one for me. After all I am a personal finance blog writer, am I not supposed to take care of all my financial needs by myself?

On a side note, below was my score in mid 2010. I gained 25 points or so in one year. I will wait for it to go to 800+ before applying for mortgage.

My Score A year Ago

Why I need the mortgage? because Credit sesame says it’s wise in my area (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale)  to buy home. Alas, if I could get more information on the basis of this scale! I am also in doubt as to the extent of the research they did on each market or it’s just another sourced data from some other agency.

Rent Vs. Buy, More Explanation Required

Let me explain my view in more detail, my utility for this service ends at knowing my credit score. I have no value in knowing what advises they have in store for me.

If I need advise I will go to a professional, with whom I can talk in person and explain my financial and mental condition, credit sesame will not know if I am going to become a father in next few months. If you don’t have my up to date information, you don’t know in last few days whether I defaulted on my card or took out a brand new Mercedes Benz, period.

What value added advise you can provide to me without having my latest data?

Credit Sesame tool has various options where you can set up alarms and goals, you can also simulate your future behavior and assess your financial impact, but these are tried and tested at your broker for many years. Credit-score is credit sesame’s USP and I didn’t find any other significant value addition for me. Even their USP is not your real credit score.

I despise services or sites which are solely retail focused. This is one of the reason I don’t use mint.com and I use Yodlee. I work for a credit card company, I know Yodlee’s value in corporate world. The companies which provide services to corporate houses have certain standards built in. They always live under a threat of litigation. They have practices and norms which companies who solely rely on individual users, lack. They may not be that stringent with security, controls and practices. Unless you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, no one is interested to file class action against you, this acts as a security for retail focused businesses.

Credit Sesame is Verisign secure, your personal data is secure, but, these days, you never know which business will be hacked next. I am sure, like me, you also don’t go on opening accounts online with your SSN. Moreover, if you can get free credit score as well as get all the financial advises from the free tools provided by brokerage accounts, why you want to give out your details to another business? I gave out mine foolishly, nothing else I can do now!

Updated 07/31/2014

I have been using credit sesame for past 3 years. It has been three years since I wrote the original review. And since then thousands of readers visited this page via Google.Still This is one of the top Credit Sesame reviews on internet as per Google search result.

In last three years, I used Credit Sesame every month, to check my credit score (for free) and to see if there’s any thing wrong reported on my credit report. I also wanted to closely monitor score movement based on experiment with using credit. I couldn’t go delinquent on my credit account as I wanted my score to reach really high before taking on mortgage. Now since I am the home owner, I can do that kind of experiment too. I’ll publish the result on the blog, as soon as I am done.

In last three years, I never faced a security breach. I hope it continues. Also, always their score, however near-real it is, tend to match up with my actual score. So even if Credit Sesame score doesn’t actually reflect FICO, it’s not at all FAKO, that’s for sure.

The other aspect of Credit Sesame is their integration with lenders. Whenever I logged on to my account, I see offers waiting for me. I was in no need for a personal loan or a mortgage loan neither I wanted to buy a car as of now, still those offers were useful. If you are in need of any of these, Credit sesame provides options for you, depending on your credit.

You can find low interest rate on a car loans and mortgage loans, compared to what you get in any brick and mortar bank. Credit Sesame is one of the new age financial companies (similar to lending tree and credit karma) which acts as a broker between you and the real lender, the banks. They add value to lender’s service and add value to you as a consumer by presenting you options to choose from.

As long as Credit Sesame keeps their network and database secure, I’ll have no problem in keeping my account active with them.

Previously I couldn’t find any utility in Credit sesame apart from getting a feel of my credit score movement. Now I tend to believe over the years, credit sesame has changed a lot and mostly they went in right direction. Data quality improved to an extent that errors are almost none.

I would recommend you to open a credit sesame account to get your score and report for free, there is a risk, but that is there even when you file your tax return or go to tax consultant for filing up tax return. You can open a credit sesame account by clicking on the image below.

 

I have just applied for my mortgage as credit sesame account showed my score reached 800. And guess what, the mortgage broker told me that 2 out of three bureaus have my credit score more than 800! Bingo!

This is a sweet utility every borrower should have.

Do your own research and read some more reviews of Credit sesame, do check the comments as well before deciding on whether you should register or not. I read excellent, good and bad reviews while researching for this post, which included one interesting comment, where a reader wrote that his credit sesame review revealed that there was no bathroom in his single family home of 10 years. Interesting!

Feel free to send your input even if you disagree with my review. If you are someone from credit sesame, I expect you to provide counter arguments. These are my own opinions, without being influenced by any one else. Do take time to read the full disclaimer.

is a husband and working as a software professional for a Fortune 100 corporation in Florida. Thanks for visiting the blog.

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Comments

  1. Diego says

    may be you are right, their suggestions for me..I didn’t like, also they have many misleading info about my debt. I will support your opinion and ask others to refrain from using sesame. This was a true and accurate review!

  2. says

    SB,

    Some background might help you and your readers. Our idea with Credit Sesame was to build a site where consumers could see themselves as banks and lenders see them. It is true that we do not provide real-time balance data at this time but it is the same data that your lender would see if they pulled your credit. Also, this balance data is extremely important to correctly interpret why you credit score is what it is. Up to the minute accurate balance data is also not necessary to generate the advice and offers that we present elsewhere in the site.

    In terms of advice, not everyone receives advice from Credit Sesame. If you are in pretty good shape with your finances you may not receive advice. We only provide offers if they save you money. To that extent we are not solely “retail focused” as you describe. We only want to offer you the loans and services that you qualify for and that improve your financial picture or assist you in achieving a goal such as home ownership.

    If you’re interested in home ownership you should check out our new purchase goal. It helps you sort through and analyze the best mortgage options tailored to your preferences.

    You also mentioned that you doubted the research then went into our recent rent v. own info-graphic. The data that went into that info-graphic came directly a highly regarded firm, Moody’s Analytics. The data itself is not available online but it is referenced here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/04/14/135380539/should-you-rent-or-buy-contd

    Thanks taking a look at Credit Sesame and kicking the tires a bit. If you have further questions or need help navigating the site I can be reached at tony@creditsesame.com.

    • says

      Tony,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      1. Advice is more useful when using latest data, which might include significant changes in situation, if you can fecth up to date information, then probably we are one step ahead of the lenders.
      2. I am not particularly worried not to receive an advice
      3. I will take look at it while I am just a few months away from purchasing, If satisfied I may write another article on that, may be within next year.
      4. Moody’s analytics – thanks for this info

    • says

      Just a comment on Credit Sesame’s security practices. Security is our number one priority. We deploy security practices that are approved by both Verisign and Experian including firewalls and 128 bit SSL encryption (same as banks). Also, in the unlikely event that someone did crack your UID and password and accessed your account they would find nothing to steal because we do not display SSN or account number information on the user areas of the site.

      • says

        People who hack, don’t go in to user areas of site, they go for the user table where you keep ssn, if ssn is not the primary key for an user record in your tables, still a primary key should have been mapped with our ssn numbers. Not at all hard to steal.

        • says

          Tell that to the guy that hacked my Yahoo mail… By the way, our co-founder and CTO previously worked at Charles Schwab and knows a thing or two about banking security.

          • Jeremy Kuehnau says

            In light of current hacking issues in 2012, I think you are being overly confidant about the security of your website.

            If big names like Sony and Microsoft can have their internal servers hacked and have thousands of people’s information at risk, so can Credit Sesame.

            Your nonchalant attitude about people’s concerns about the security of the website is troubling at best.

      • sunita says

        Hi Tony,

        I wish to talk to credit sesame personal regarding an issue with my account ,but I dnt see any contact number to do so,Can you provide one? I am tired of writing emails and waiting for response.

        Thanks
        sunita

  3. paul says

    WELL, LA TE DA,,,,,,BEFORE I EVEN GOT CHECKED IN, THEY ASKED FOR MY CREDIT CARD NR, AFTER SAYING THEY WOULD NEVER ASK FOR IT….BUMMMMMS

  4. Stan HardyVA says

    The timeliness of the data on CreditSesame leaves much to be desired. They currently show a balance on my auto loan as it was in September 2013 (it’s Nov 2014 as I post this). And the site shows that same balance for the entire 6 month ‘trend’ graph the site provides. When I sent them an inquiry, their response included this statement – “Today, that information can be up to 2 months old, in the future it won’t be older than 30 days.”. Didn’t fill me with any confidence that they really read my input. I explicitly told them about the 6 month issue and even provided them with a screen shot. CreditKarma on the other hand, appears to be quite accurate and timely.

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