Credit Sesame: What It Is and What You Need to Know
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Your credit score is one of the most important parts of your financial life.
It affects which loans you can qualify for and how much you’ll pay in interest for the loans that you get. With a poor credit score, you might only qualify for high-interest loans, if you’re approved for a loan at all. The problem is that knowing your credit score and, more importantly, why your credit score is what it is, can be difficult.
Credit Sesame aims to help people know more about their credit score and how to improve it.
What is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame is a company that focuses on consumer credit and lending. Specifically, it helps consumers learn about and how to manage their own credit. The company launched in 2010 and has helped millions of customers learn more about credit.
It’s accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), has an A+ BBB rating, a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot, and has been featured in major publications including the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
Security and privacy
Although they collect personally identifying data, Credit Sesame uses encryption and firewall protections to protect member information from data breaches and hacking attempts. They also don’t sell any member data to third-party entities.
However, the information they collect is sometimes shared with their partner companies to provide you with relevant offers or to conduct market research.
Credit Sesame Review at a Glance
Credit Sesame has a number of benefits, but you should be aware of some of its pitfalls.
- Check your credit score for free
- Track your finances from one dashboard
- Free information on how to improve your credit score
- Protect yourself from identity theft
- Credit Sesame app allows you to check your score on-the-go
- Some services, like daily credit score monitoring, require a premium membership
- Recommendations may be influenced by partnerships that pay Credit Sesame
- Site can have technical problems
Best for: Credit Sesame is useful for people who want to learn more about how credit works, who want to improve their score, and for those who want a free credit monitoring service to track their score.
Getting Started with Credit Sesame
To use Credit Sesame, you’ll need to create an account using your email address. Then you’ll complete a short questionnaire that includes your full name, current address, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
You’ll also be asked some verification questions like, “which of the following streets have you lived on?” This is done to make sure it’s actually you creating the account, not someone trying to steal your information.
You’ll have to create a password to protect your account before you can log in to your Credit Sesame dashboard.
How Does Credit Sesame Work?
Once you’ve created your account, you can start taking advantage of Credit Sesame’s services and financial literacy library to help you understand, improve, and manage your credit. These features are all free and available to every customer. Some features are even available without an account.
Your account dashboard is where you can get information on your credit score, which is updated monthly. The top of the screen will show your credit score, which ranges from 300 – 850. It will also provide a credit report recommendation, including advice on how to improve your score.
Below that, you’ll see your credit report broken down into the five major factors that influence your credit:
- Payment history
- Credit usage
- Credit age
- Account mix
- Credit inquiries
You can click on each tab to get more information on how each factor influences your credit. This can be a good way to check if everything on your credit report is accurate. If you see someone else’s account information or an incorrect entry, contact the reporting credit bureau to dispute the information.
About Your Credit Score
Credit Sesame reports information from only one credit bureau, TransUnion. If you want your credit score from the other two bureaus, you’ll need to visit a site like AnnualCreditReport.com which will have credit reports from all three bureaus.
The credit score you see via Credit Sesame isn’t your FICO credit score, the one used by most lenders. You’ll need to pay a service like myFICO.com to see that, or if you bank with companies like Discover or Capital One, you can get free credit score updates from them.
Loan and Credit Recommendations
Through your dashboard, you’ll also have access to a page that gives you credit recommendations. It highlights the ones you have the best chance of qualifying for.
The page breaks down the cards into different categories based on how Credit Sesame perceives your needs. You might see recommendations on cards that offer the most cash back or ones that offer 0% interest introductory periods. Each recommendation includes a quick break down of the card explaining its fee, interest rate, and any promotions associated with the card.
You can also use Credit Sesame to match with lenders for auto loans, personal loans, and mortgages, based on your income and credit score. You can even get advice on which bank you should choose to get the best interest rate.
Credit Sesame offers free identity theft and protection to its customers. Signing up for this service gets you $50,000 of identity theft insurance, support to navigate identity restoration, and daily credit monitoring alerts so you’ll know almost immediately if there’s anything suspicious on your account.
Credit Sesame App
You can download the Credit Sesame app and check your credit score on-the-go. It’s easy to check your credit score on the app, and you can do it as often as you’d like.
Credit Sesame’s Premium Features
Although its free features are enough for most customers, there are premium services available that will increase protections on your credit and identity. There’s no free trial period for these services, but if you aren’t happy with them, you can cancel at any time by contacting Credit Sesame’s customer service.
If you cancel, you retain your protections through the end of the billing cycle.
Credit Sesame FAQ
If you’re still on the fence about using Credit Sesame, here are the answers to some common questions so you can make an even more informed decision.
How does Credit Sesame gather my information?
In addition to the information you provide when you register, Credit Sesame gets information on your debt, payment history, credit history, and other loans from your TransUnion credit report.
How does Credit Sesame differ from a debt consolidation or settlement service?
Credit Sesame is unlike debt consolidation or settlement services. Instead of offering you loans or other ways to reduce your debt, Credit Sesame provides you with information on managing your credit cards and other loans.
By giving you a clearer overview of your financial situation, Credit Sesame aims to empower you with the knowledge you need to get out of debt and manage your credit wisely.
Does using Credit Sesame impact my credit?
No. Credit Sesame checks your credit score using a “soft pull” on your credit. Soft pulls don’t impact your credit the same way as a hard pull, which is triggered by an application for a card or loan.
How does Credit Sesame make money?
Credit Sesame earns money in two ways. The first is by offering premium services that consumers can purchase. The cost for these services ranges from about $5 to about $15 per month.
Credit Sesame also earns referral fees when customers use one of their unique links to purchase or apply for a loan or credit card from a specific lender.
Credit Sesame Review Summary
Credit Sesame is a trustworthy credit monitoring site that offers free services to help you track, improve, and learn about your credit score. They also provide identity theft protection and monthly credit monitoring to all customers for free. You can upgrade the services you want for a monthly fee, but depending on your needs, you might not need to.
You can also use Credit Sesame to research and apply for loans. Be wary, though. Some of the recommended products come from paid partnerships, and it may be better to look somewhere more objective for your credit card or loans.