Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma: Which is Better?

Written by Kim PinnelliUpdated: 5th Apr 2022
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Credit monitoring is more important today than ever. With hacking and identity theft at an all-time high, every consumer must be aware.

Credit Sesame and Credit Karma offer a free credit monitoring service, giving you access to your credit scores and alerting you of any changes.

How do they differ, and which service is better? Check out my Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma Review below.

What is Credit Sesame?

Credit Sesame is a credit monitoring service that monitors TransUnion scores and credit reports. This is just ONE aspect of your credit scores since there are three main credit reporting bureaus, but it’s a look into what the other bureaus may report too.

Credit Sesame provides insight into your credit history, what credit bureaus see, and when someone makes a mistake or worse yet, steals your identity.

Credit Sesame is free and provides more insight into your credit than just your score. You’ll see the factors affecting your score and get tips on how to improve it. You’ll even get $50,000 in free identity theft insurance.

Credit Sesame does more than monitor your credit – they provide information on what affects your credit score and tips to improve it.

Credit Sesame provides insight into each credit account you have and how you can improve your situation.

For example, it breaks down the percentage of each credit line you have outstanding.

It also tells you how close you are to the ‘ideal amount’ and when you’re doing great. It’s great for reminders, help, and even a pat on the back that you’re doing okay.

>> More: Credit Sesame Review

What is Credit Karma?

Credit Karmais another free credit monitoring service. The biggest difference?

It monitors TransUnion and Equifax – one step closer to a bigger picture of your credit scores and history, but still not complete because it doesn’t monitor Experian.

Like Credit Sesame, you’ll see the factors affecting your credit scores and receive tips on how to improve them.

Credit Karma doesn’t provide identity theft insurance, but they do offer identity monitoring, so you’re aware of any issues right away.

Credit Karma provides insights on what affects your credit score but doesn’t provide as much guidance as Credit Sesame.

You’ll see your credit score, it’s ranking (good, fair, poor, etc.), and the credit score factors. But Credit Karma provides tips on things you can do better.

For example, if you’re overpaying on your car loan, Credit Karma will recognize this and point you in the direction of partner lenders to refinance (hint, this is how they make money).

>> More: Credit Karma Review

Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma Features

Credit Sesame

  • Free Credit Monitoring: Credit Sesame monitors your TransUnion credit scores and credit reports. You’ll receive your credit score, a credit report card, and learn what affects your score and/or ways to improve it.
  • Real-Time Alerts: If something major changes on your credit report, Credit Sesame alerts you right away. You can stop identity theft in its tracks.
  • Free Identity Theft Insurance: Credit Sesame provides $50,000 in identity theft insurance protection for free. This includes money to cover the damages that occurred along with guidance to get you through restoring your identity.
  • ID Restoration: Credit Sesame professionals have your back should you fall victim to identity theft. Correcting the issues and dealing with creditors and the credit bureaus is time-consuming and overwhelming, but Credit Sesame professionals help every step of the way.
  • Monthly Credit Score Updates: Receive monthly credit score updates from TransUnion. This helps you determine if you (or someone else) did something wrong that needs correction. For example, did you miss a payment or overextend your credit? Or did someone steal your identity, or a creditor make a mistake?
  • Free Credit Reports: Get access to your free TransUnion credit report so you can see the reason behind your credit score each month.
  • Sesame Cash: The Sesame Cash account is an online bank account. It includes a free Sesame Cash debit card that you can earn cash back for your purchases when you use it. Monitor your account on the Credit Sesame app and have early access to your Direct Deposits (up to 2 days early).

Credit Karma Features

  • Free Monthly Credit Score: Credit Karma provides access to your TransUnion AND Equifax credit score monthly. Be aware of changes and fix the issues right away, if any occur.
  • Credit Score Simulator: Credit Karma offers a tool that mimics what would happen if you made any credit changes, including opening a new account, defaulting on an account, or increasing your credit line. Seeing what might happen can help you make wise financial choices.
  • Free Credit Report: Get access to your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports each month, so you’re not only knowing your credit score but also what affects it.
  • High-Yield Savings Account: Credit Karma includes a free high-yield savings account. You can set up automatic deposits and watch your money grow. You can see your account in real-time on the Credit Karma app.
  • Unclaimed Money Finder: Credit Karma provides a tool to find unclaimed money such as insurance refunds you forgot about or 401K contributions you left behind when you left your job.
  • Credit Monitoring: Get alerted if there’s a major change to your credit report, so you can catch identity theft or errors right away.
  • Tax Preparation: Credit Karma offers 100% free tax filing for both federal and state taxes. Even if you are self-employed or have business income, you don’t pay a penny to file your taxes, unlike other tax preparation software services.

>> More: Best Credit Monitoring Services

Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma FAQs

What Credit Bureau Does Credit Karma Use?

Credit Karma uses TransUnion and Equifax, giving you 2/3 of your credit scores and credit history. Don’t forget to check Experian occasionally too.

You can sign up for free credit monitoring at Experian too, so you have a complete picture of your credit history.

How Accurate is Credit Karma Credit Score?

Credit Karma uses the VantageScore credit scoring model, and most lenders use FICO. Are they identical? No. Aer they close? Yes.

You may not know your exact credit score that lenders see, but more importantly, you’ll see and understand your credit history, which makes up your credit score no matter what credit scoring model lenders use.

What Credit Bureau Does Credit Sesame Use?

Credit Sesame only uses TransUnion. This means you only know what one credit bureau reports about you.

It’s a good summary of what’s out there, but the other two bureaus could have more or different information.

How Accurate is Credit Sesame Credit Score?

Credit Sesame offers what they call an ‘educational score.’ It’s purely for educational purposes so you know what your credit score may be when lenders pull it.

Think of it as a guide telling you where you need to make changes, so you optimize your credit score when you apply for new credit.

Is Credit Karma and Credit Sesame the Same Company?

No, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame offer similar services, but they are different companies.

Are Credit Karama and Credit Sesame Safe to Use?

Credit Sesame and Credit Karma use bank-level security and encrypt your information too. Since they both provide credit monitoring services, you’d know right away if someone stole your identity.

As with any financial service, always keep your ID and password private and don’t access your dashboard on a public computer.

Does Credit Sesame or Credit Karma Hurt Your Credit Score?

No, Credit Sesame and Credit Karma do soft credit pulls that differ from hard inquiries, such as when you apply for a new credit card.

Credit Sesame and Credit Karma checking your credit have the same effect as you checking your credit score. There’s no new credit being issued, so it doesn’t hurt your credit score.

Bottom Line: Credit Sesame vs. Credit Karma

Using a credit monitoring service is a good idea for everyone, not just people who have been victims of identity theft.

There’s no reason not to try Credit Sesame or Credit Karma, both of which are free credit monitoring services.

You’ll be a more informed consumer, know how to improve your credit scores, and may even have access to better financial products to improve your financial situation.

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Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli

Kim Pinnelli is a Senior Writer, Editor, & Product Analyst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a professional financial writer for over 15 years, and has appeared in a myriad of industry leading financial media outlets. Leveraging her personal experience, Kim is committed to helping people take charge of their personal finances and make simple financial decisions.