Free credit report sites like Credit Karma have been feeling competition from a number of fronts over the last couple of years. Some credit cards began to offer free credit scores to their members with their monthly statements, and the free credit score sites needed to find a way to differentiate themselves. Credit Sesame did this by offering free identity theft protection, while Credit Karma went the free credit report route. Last year they introduced a free credit report from Transunion to all their members.
This past week they announced that in addition to the Transunion credit report, they would also be offering members their Equifax credit report at no cost. Does it really matter having access to two credit reports rather than one? It could, especially since the different credit agencies’ credit reports aren’t identical.
An extra credit report will give users another tool to keep track of their credit. It can also help them spot inaccuracies which may have made their way into only on report or the other, and there are still a lot of errors in those reports. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 25% of consumers have found innaccuracies on their credit reports which had the portential to negatively impact their credit score.
Another benefit of the two reports is the potential of spotting identity theft in a more timely manner. Signs of identity theft taking place may not show up on every agency’s credit report, so having access to two is better than just one. If a report shows activity the account owner didn’t initiate, the chance of stopping the identity theft early on when not as much damage has happened is good.
How is Credit Karma giving access to two credit reports better than the everyone having access to all three credit agency reports (Credit Karma doesn’t provide a credit report for Experian) as mandated by the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act? While everyone can get a copy of each of their credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com, they can only get access to the reports once a year. Credit karma will be giving its users access to the reports as often as once a week, which can mean they catch fraud much earlier than they would checking only once a year.