Trying to make sure you have good credit can be confusing these days with so many credit score companies. Do you pay for a service or are the free score companies viable?
In this review of Credit Sesame, I will review the good, the bad and the ugly to see if this credit score company is the right fit for you.
Credit Sesame believes that by helping consumers with every aspect of their financial planning – whether it be investing, borrowing, and credit monitoring, it can offer a full-service financial package to a wide variety of consumers who are in all sorts of different stages of financial planning.
Free to sign up
Identity theft protection
- Free to sign up
- Free information
- Identity theft protection
- Membership fees
- Basic for beginners
What is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame not only pulls your credit score, but it also gives you your credit report card for free.
The site also contains a host of tools that can help you improve your credit and your overall financial situation.
Lastly, Credit Sesame has upgrade options to help protect your credit record and provide other benefits as well.
How Does Credit Sesame Work?
Credit Sesame has a variety of features that can help you better your financial situation.
You’ll start by signing up for free and seeing your credit score and your credit report card (i.e., your credit grades). From there, Credit Sesame works to educate you on how credit works.
You will learn what factors affect your credit score and what steps you can take to manage those factors.
Lastly, you can use the Credit Sesame toolbox to improve your credit and get better deals on financial products you use every day.
Credit Sesame matches you with products you can take advantage of (or not take advantage of) to better your credit score or save money.
You choose which steps and other tools you use and which you don’t use. Credit Sesame just gives you options to choose from.
How Much Does Credit Sesame Cost?
Believe it or not, Credit Sesame is free to you as a consumer. They don’t charge any money at all for their basic services.
That fact may leave you wondering how Credit Sesame makes money. Simple: Credit Sesame gets a small commission when you take advantage of recommended products.
That’s how the company makes money, pays expenses, and stays in business.
Note: Credit Sesame does offer some paid subscription plans:
- Advanced Credit: ($9.95 per month) daily credit score updates and premium credit reports
- Pro Credit: ($15.95 per month) credit monitoring alerts and 24/7 customer service
- Platinum Protection: ($19.95 per month) Black Market web monitoring, Social Security number monitoring and public records monitoring
Whether you have a paid Credit Sesame plan or a free plan, you can cancel your account at any time.
If you have a paid subscription, you’ll need to cancel your subscription before you can close your Credit Sesame account.
See the Credit Sesame website to learn details about cancelling and closing your Credit Sesame account.
Next, let’s go over some key features of Credit Sesame.
Key Features of Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame has several features that can help you monitor your credit, improve your overall credit score and improve your financial situation in general.
Here is information on some of those features.
Credit Report Monitoring
As mentioned earlier, Credit Sesame helps you monitor your credit score by giving you free credit monitoring alerts.
You can check your report card and score as often as you’d like, whether it’s to keep abreast of changes or keep an eye out for incorrect information.
Sesame Cash is Credit Sesame’s free digital debit account. The Sesame Cash account comes with features such as:
- No minimum balance requirement
- Free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs worldwide
- No monthly maintenance fee1
- No foreign transaction fees1
- Direct deposit up to two days early2
- Cash back on purchases3
The Sesame Cash account is FDIC insured through its partnership with Community Federal Savings Bank.
Any U.S. resident age 18 or older can sign up. No credit check is performed on applicants.
Credit Builder is an additional feature of Sesame Cash offered by Credit Sesame that’s designed to help you build credit.4
You start improving your credit with Credit Builder by opening a free Sesame Cash debit account.
Once you have your Sesame Cash account, you request a Credit Builder account and then designate a certain amount of money to be set aside for credit building.
Then you can start using the Sesame Cash debit card to make purchases at stores. Credit Sesame reports some of those purchases to credit bureaus as on-time payments.
You can get credit for on-time rental payments as well. Bonus: Credit Sesame will reward you with cash for improving your credit.5
You could earn up to $100 in the first 30 days for improving your credit score.
There are no fees or interest charged and no credit check performed to get this free account. And you’ll get free credit monitoring and daily credit score checks so you can see your credit score rising.
Essentially, Credit Builder acts as a secured credit card when you set aside funds to secure purchases with. However, there is no need for a separate card.
Just use your Sesame Cash debit card as you normally would. Credit Sesame will help determine which purchases are reported to the credit bureau and will help you build a good credit score.
Credit Card Comparison Shopping
In addition, Credit Sesame can help if you are looking for a credit card with a lower interest or with a better rewards program.
The site has easy-to-use search tools based on a variety of credit card categories such as:
- Best Cards
- Balance Transfer Cards
- Low Interest Cards
- Rewards Cards
- Cash Back Cards
The comprehensive search tool allows clients to customize their credit card search without having to browse the Internet for days on end looking for the best credit card for their needs.
With Credit Sesame’s easy search tools, the best available credit card deals are listed in one convenient place, making your search for the best credit card infinitely easier.
Find the Best Deal on Auto Loans
If you’re in the market for a new car, Credit Sesame can help by offering services such as auto loan rate quote comparisons with top companies around the nation.
It will search for auto loan interest rates from national and local lenders in your area and to help ensure you can get the best rate for your new car.
Paying interest is often a part of holding an auto loan; however, it’s never wise to pay a higher interest rate than you have to – based on your individual credit situation.
Insurance Comparison Shopping
Another service Credit Sesame offers is to help you do comparison shopping on your auto, home, and life insurance policies.
Credit Sesame users report saving hundreds of dollars per year on all types of insurance policies, simply by using the insurance comparison tool.
Credit Sesame can get you quotes from top insurance companies from around the nation all in one place.
This helps you save time as well as money.
Find the Best Mortgage Lender
Credit Sesame also has a similar search page for helping consumers find the best deal on mortgage loans.
Simply use the Credit Sesame mortgage loan tool and enter in the purchase price of the home you want to buy along with the following:
- Amount of your down payment
- Zip code in which the home resides
- Your income
- Your credit score
Then their system will help find the best interest rates for your particular mortgage needs.
This is great because you will get a more accurate picture of what interest rates and closing costs can be too.
Because each customer’s mortgage needs are different, it is important to search for a variety of mortgage lender companies.
Doing so will help ensure you choose the mortgage that helps put your best financial foot forward.
Keep Your Credit Score and Identity Safe
Keeping consistent track of your credit score and your credit report information goes a long way in preventing long-term damage from credit reporting errors.
It also aids in helping to deter would-be credit thieves from doing serious damage to your credit and your identity should a thief get access to your credit reporting information.
Image credit: CreditSesame.com
Recent studies show at least 1 out of every 20 people are victims of identity theft and credit fraud and as much as 25 to 50 billion dollars are stolen every year through various identity theft methods.
That is cold hard cash leaving the pockets of credit card companies, banks, and yes, consumers like yourself as well.
By helping clients keep tabs on their credit score and on their credit report, Credit Sesame provides front-line protection from credit reporting errors and potential identity theft.
Credit Sesame’s offers its free members $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance coverage.
You can also access more with their Premium membership.
Some features include:
- Identity Restoration Services
- Credit Dispute Resolution Services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Stolen/Lost Wallet Resolution Services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Public Records Monitoring
- Social Security Number Monitoring
Their “Premium ID Theft” program helps protect your credit report and social security number from a growing occurrence of a wide variety of “new wave” identity theft crimes.
These crimes range from social security pension theft, social security disability theft, and other thefts involving the use of a stolen social security number and government benefits.
Note that most credit monitoring features require you to have a paid subscription plan with Credit Sesame.
Financial Education Resources
As mentioned earlier, Credit Sesame has a host of financial education resources that can help you learn how to improve your credit and your overall financial picture.
When you visit the Credit Sesame blog, you’ll find information on subjects such as:
- How to get out of debt
- A guide to credit repair
- How to build credit
- Easy ways to improve your credit score
- What your credit score needs to be to buy a house
- The Credit Sesame guide to your annual credit report
And more. These well-written articles can help educate you on just about any subject or question you have in regards to your finances and your credit report or score.
All blog and other educational articles are free for Credit Sesame members and to the general public as well.
Credit Sesame Customer Reviews
The Better Business Bureau gives Credit Sesame an A+ rating. The company has had just 62 complaints in the last three years.
All in all, the majority of customer reviews about Credit Sesame are positive.
However, you’ll want to take note of negative reviews and comments so that you’re fully aware of what the company can and cannot do for you.
Alternatives to Credit Sesame
We have two alternatives to Credit Sesame that you may want to look into.
Credit Karma offers many of the comprehensive features that Credit Sesame does.
It will let you get your credit scores (although not FICO scores) from Equifax and TransUnion.
Credit Karma will also give you access to your TransUnion credit report and shares credit building tools with you.
In addition, Credit Karma helps you comparison shop on insurance, banks, credit cards and more.
Extra Debit Card
The Extra debit card is a debit card that helps you build credit¹. Note: ¹All transaction and account activity is subject to review and approval by both Extra and the Issuing Bank. See Extra Terms and Conditions for more details.
Simply use it to make everyday purchases and Extra will report those purchases as trustworthy to Experian and Equifax.
Purchase amounts are paid off via checking account debits²I on the following business day.
Note: ²In order to transact with your Extra Debit Card, you must have an active, Plaid-compatible bank account linked to Extra’s services (“Partner Account”). In the event your Partner Account is disconnected from Extra services for any reason, you will not be able to use your Extra Debit Card. Within 30 days of the date of each transaction made using your Extra Debit Card, Extra will initiate one or more ACH debits to deduct equivalent funds from your Partner Account. These ACH debits typically deduct funds from your Partner Account within 2 to 3 business days after initiation by Extra. You are responsible for keeping track of your available Partner Account balance. If the ACH debit is successful, Extra will report positive payment history to the credit bureaus. If the ACH debit fails and remains unpaid for 30 or more days as of the last day of the month, Extra may report negative payment information to the credit bureaus.
You aren’t subject to a credit check when you apply for the Extra debit card.
See the Extra debit card website via the link above for more information.
Bonus: You’ll earn up to 1% back in redeemable reward points with purchases made with your Extra debit card.
Credit Sesame believes that by helping consumers with every aspect of their financial planning.
Whether you are investing, borrowing, and credit monitoring, it can offer a full-service financial package to a wide variety of consumers who are in all sorts of different stages of financial planning.
However, premium features will require you to subscribe to an upgraded plan that charges a monthly fee.
Research all of the options available through Credit Sesame to decide which one is right for you.