Credit Karma Canada Review 2021: Free Credit Score and Report

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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Credit Karma provides Canadians with an opportunity to obtain their credit score, credit report, and to monitor their credit free of charge.

Credit scores have been available for free over the Southern border for a while. However, until recently, you were required to pay $20 or more to obtain your credit score in Canada.

These days, online financial services companies such as Borrowell, Credit Karma, and Mogo, offer Canadians access to a free credit score that is regularly updated.

About Credit Karma

Credit Karma was founded in 2006 in the United States.

In 2016, it expanded its operations to Canada and is available to residents of Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, PEI, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Credit Karma offers users free credit scores, reports, and credit monitoring. In the U.S., it also provides free tax filing services.

Since Credit Karma offers these services for free, it begs the question: “how does it make money?”

The company makes money by providing credit card recommendations to you based on your credit profile. If you apply for one of these credit card offers, the bank issuing the card pays it a referral fee at no additional cost to you.

Signing up for the free credit score and credit monitoring service is easy.

  • Visit CreditKarma.ca
  • Enter your basic details and choose if you want to receive email updates of activity on your credit profile (i.e. for credit monitoring). You can also opt-in for promotional emails if you want.
  • Verify your identity.
  • You now have access to your TransUnion credit score free of charge.

Checking your credit score online through a service like the one Credit Karma provides is referred to as a “soft inquiry,” and does not lower your credit score (has no impact).

Credit Karma canada review

What is Considered a Good Credit Score in Canada?

A credit score is a 3-digit number between 300 and 900 that is reflective of how “good” or “bad” you are with debt. The credit score you obtain from the two major credit bureaus in Canada (Equifax and TransUnion) may be slightly different, however, they can generally be ranked as:

800 – 900 → Excellent
720 – 799 → Very Good
650 – 719 → Good
600 – 649 → Fair
300 – 599 → Poor

Based on the numbers above, a “good” credit score is technically any score over 650. The higher your credit score, the better your chances at snagging a competitive interest rate when you want to borrow money.

To arrive at your score, credit bureaus take the following into consideration:

  • Your loan repayment history
  • Total debt
  • Length of your credit history
  • New credit inquiries on your account
  • Your credit mix

Credit Karma provides a credit score that is obtained from TransUnion. If you also want to see your Equifax credit score, you can obtain it for free through Borrowell.

You can also obtain your credit score directly from the credit bureaus, but this service comes at a cost.

Learn about how your Canadian credit score is calculated.

Credit Karma credit score.

What’s in a Credit Report?

Your credit report shows details of how you have used debt over time. In addition to your credit score, a lender also looks at what is on your credit report. Some of what credit bureaus record on your credit report include:

  • Personal information
  • List of your credit accounts
  • Public records and collections
  • Credit report inquiries
  • Consumer statements

In Canada, credit bureaus are obligated to provide you with one free copy of your credit report per year if you request it.

Companies like Credit Karma and Borrowell provide free monthly or weekly credit report updates when you sign up with them.

Is Credit Karma Safe and Legit?

As far as I have experienced, yes. I have never had to enter my credit card information or Social Insurance Number. I get the occasional email with credit card offers, but I never bite and that has not been an issue. Free has been “free” so far.

With regards to the security measures in place to protect your private information, Credit Karma says they use “128-bit or higher encryption to protect the transmission of your data to our site” and “do not share your personal information with unaffiliated third parties for their own marketing purposes.”

That being said, the internet is what it is. If you remember, Equifax (a major credit bureau) was hacked a while back, so there is no iron-clad guarantee when you are online in my opinion.

Credit Karma vs. Borrowell

Credit Karma and Borrowell are my go-to’s for free credit score monitoring.

I get my Equifax credit score and report through Borrowell, and my TransUnion credit score and report via Credit Karma. Since both are updated regularly, I have no need to subscribe to a credit monitoring service.

Both Credit Karma and Borrowell send occasional product recommendations for credit cards to your email if you opt-in while registering. However, you do not need to apply for a credit card to use their free service.

Borrowell is available to Canadians in all provinces, including Quebec. Credit Karma is not available in Quebec, Nunavut, the Yukon, and Northwest Territories.

Get your Equifax Credit Score.

Related:

Credit Karma FAQs

Some other popular questions people ask about Credit Karma and their answers are below:

1. Will Using Credit Karma Hurt or Lower Your Credit Score?

No, credit score inquiries that you make for yourself are known as soft inquiries and do not impact your credit score one way or another.

2. Does Credit Karma Require a Credit Card To Sign-up?

No, your credit card information is not required and there is no fee for accessing your free credit score.

3. Do You Need Your Social Insurance Number To Check Your Credit Score?

No, providing your social insurance number (SIN) is optional and you can access your free credit score even if you do not disclose it during the sign-up process.

4. What is Credit Karma’s Phone Number? 

They do not offer phone support, however, you can submit your questions through their website support page and they will respond to you via email.

How does your Credit Karma credit score compare with the Equifax one you get from Borrowell?

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Credit Karma provides your credit score and credit report FREE of charge. This means you can now monitor your credit easily without having to pay the credit bureaus to do it for you. Check how to get your free credit score in this post. #creditkarma #creditscore #credit #financialplanning #getoutofdebt #personslfinance #moneytips
Credit Karma Canada Review 2021
4.7

Summary

Credit Karma provides Canadians with an opportunity to obtain their credit score, credit report, and to monitor their credit free of charge.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

7 thoughts on “Credit Karma Canada Review 2021: Free Credit Score and Report”

  1. Credit karma is good to help you get back on track but take it with a grain of salt with your score tho. So pretty much if you have a 720 score you really have a 680 or 700. It gives you an idea.

  2. Been improving my credit but major difference -credit karma score 631, but then when i check borrwell, it says more score is 477!!! what the heck???

    • @Veej: If you feel there’s an error in your score, you can contact Equifax and TransUnion directly. That being said, it is usual for there to be a difference between the scores from the different credit bureaus…although yours is a major difference.

      Also note that it may take a while for the different credit bureaus to process new information from lenders/banks.

  3. Got my report and score from one of the bureaus online. Signed up for one of the free ones using that same bureau next day. Information matched up perfectly and timing of reporting from creditors was the same. BUT the score from the free service was 25 points lower!
    Also had a client show me his score of 640 from a free service. When I put the info to the banks it came back that his score was below 500 and his credit was a mess with non-pays and collections. Not impressed.

  4. My Equifax/Borrowell credit score is 0. My TransUnion credit score (obtained from TransUnion themselves for a fee) is 772. But my CreditKarma credit core which is supposed to be the same as the TransUnion credit score, is 590. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem very reliable to me, and now I can’t get housing because more and more landlords are doing a credit check, even though rent is not credit because it is paid in advance.

  5. I keep receiving “your new score reports are ready”, however, the login page does not come. How do we fix this????

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