If you already have a Discover credit card, there’s nothing that you have to do to get your score. It automatically comes as part of your statement each month. This now applies to all Discover credit cards. If you don’t have one of their cards, you need to decide whether signing up for another credit card is worth getting a free credit score on a monthly basis. For Credit Karma you must sign up on their website. The question becomes whether or not you’re willing to give sensitive financial information to a third-party website on the Internet. Both companies will require similar information upon sign-up.
It really is a toss up as to which of the two is more secure. Each time you use your credit card, there is a chance that your information might be stolen. The whole Target data breach is a good example.
Credit Karma would seem to be more secure since you aren’t using it in multiple places like you do a credit card, but it’s had some security issues of its own. It recently had to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to lax security on its mobile app. The security issue had the potential to reveal all kinds of sensitive financial information, including social security numbers.
Which is More Accurate?
Credit Karma gives a FAKO score which is a derivative number, and not a true FICO score. Discover gives you your FICO 08 Bankcard Enhanced version based on the TransUnion report. This report is close to what a creditor would pull for a credit card application, so Discover should be closer to that type of credit pull. The problem is that there are close to 50 different types of FICO scores that are weighted slightly differently depending on who is asking for them. For example, there’s versions such as a auto enhanced FICO score and a mortgage enhanced FICO score. So while the Discover score should be close to the credit card score, it might be off to some degree to the other weighted scores.
Credit Karma has a similar problem, but it’s not clear if it’s close to any of the different true FICO scores, since it is isn’t drawn directly from them. It would seem that that Discover card score would be more accurate (and if I was going to make a guess which would be closer to what a lender was pulling, I would go with Discover), but there could be instances when the Credit Karma score was closer depending on which FICO score the creditor was pulling.
Credit Karma comes with a lot more tools that you can use to lay out a plan to improve your credit score and finances. With Discover, you get your score each month and that’s about it. Credit Karma provides tools that can help you figure out ways to reduce debt and get your finances in better order so that you can raise your score.
If you are following your credit score and trying to actively improve it, Credit Karma offers some tools and safeguards such as credit monitoring, that Discover doesn’t. If, on the other hand, you are more passively keeping an eye on your credit score and simply want to confirm that nothing out of the ordinary has happened to your score each month, Discover offers a good option.