You must have heard about Credit Sesame, 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.
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.
Do not let any one fool you by telling that it’s giving you your credit score for free. Neither Credit karma nor any other company provides you true FICO score. It’s just a representation of the actual number.
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.
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.
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!
I won’t recommend you to open a credit sesame account to get a fake score for free, risking your very valuable social security number to be exposed to vulnerabilities.
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.