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How Does Credit Karma Make Money?

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated December 18, 2023​

2 min. read​

If you want to improve your credit health, Credit Karma can lend a helping hand. You can visit the site to get advice for every step of your financial journey. In addition, there are tools, articles, product recommendations such as personal loan offers and more to help you put your best foot forward.

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What is Credit Karma?

Credit Karma is known for providing free credit reports and free credit scores to consumers. But that’s not all the online platform has to offer for their users. You can also access educational resources and tools free of charge and get personalized recommendations to help achieve your financial goals.

Wondering how Credit Karma makes enough money to provide free services, unlike their competitors? Read on to learn more.

Is Credit Karma Free?

You can get started with Credit Karma for free. No need to put your banking information or credit card on file.

Here’s what you’ll get when you sign up:

  • Weekly VantageScore3.0 updates for Equifax
  • Daily VantageScore 3.0 updates for TransUnion
  • Equifax and TransUnion credit reports
  • Dark web surveillance
  • Identity monitoring
  • Access to the unclaimed money tool
  • A tool to help you achieve your home buying goals

Credit Karma Money is also available if you want a fee-free spend account with no minimum balance requirement that gives you access to over 55,000 ATMs. You won’t pay monthly maintenance fees, annual fees, inactivity fees or withdrawal fees.

Plus, you’ll get a debit card to use for everyday purchases anywhere VISA is accepted. Deposits are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 since the accounts are offered by Credit Karma in conjunction with MVB Bank, Inc.

How Does Credit Karma Make Money?

Credit Karma earns money to support operations through product recommendations. It partners with lenders, banks and insurance companies to feature personalized offers on each member’s dashboard. If a member decides to apply for a recommended product and gets approved, Credit Karma is compensated.

Quick note: Not all compensation is the same. Some partners offer more than others, so Credit Karma may push products that you could qualify for but that aren’t necessarily the most ideal choice for your financial situation.

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Does Credit Karma Sell Your Personal Information?

Credit Karma does not sell your personal information for a profit. However, as mentioned before, earnings are generated when members are approved for product recommendations from partners in the Credit Karma network.

Referral Commissions from Banks and Fintechs

Credit Karma earns referral commissions from banks and financial technology companies for the following financial products:

  • Credit cards for all credit types
  • Personal loans, home loans and auto loans

Interchange Fees

You’ll never pay interchange fees to Credit Karma when using the Credit Karma Money Visa debit card. However, Visa may assess an international card fee of 1 percent if you conduct a transaction in foreign currencies. Also, expect fees if you use an ATM outside of the Allpoint® ATM network.

Interest on Cash

If you deposit funds to your Credit Karma Money Save account, you can earn interest without paying any monthly-maintenance fees. All you need is $0.02 to start accumulating interest.

Should You Pay for a Credit Monitoring Service?

It’s not necessary to pay for credit monitoring service, as evidenced by Credit Karma’s free offerings. But it’s not the only online platform that you can use to stay on top of your credit health.

Experian, which is the largest credit bureau in the US, offers credit monitoring with its free CreditWorks℠ Basic membership. You’ll also get Experian FICO Score and credit report monthly updates, Experian FICO score monitoring, dark web surveillance, and access to the credit card and loan matching tool. Another major perk of the membership is Experian Boost, which may improve your credit score instantly by giving you credit for qualifying payments to eligible phone, utility and streaming service providers.

You can also pay for premium services through Experian, like three-bureau (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) credit reports and scores, industry-specific FICO scores (for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards), identity theft insurance, lost wallet assistance and Experian CreditLock. Plus, there are services to help small business owners build and manage their company’s credit profile.

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