PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Credit score apps like Credit Karma, Experian Credit Report, and others promise instant access to credit scores, along with other features like score monitoring. Sounds great until you dig a little deeper. A Consumer Reports investigation of five of these apps revealed they all have significant drawbacks and few upsides.
“Our investigation showed that the apps can pose serious privacy risks, and what’s worse, our survey of consumers who have used them revealed that in some cases they didn’t even provide an accurate credit score,” said Lisa Gill with Consumer Reports.
In fact, four of the five apps Consumer Reports investigated often charge users for access to their credit reports, which consumers are legally entitled to for free while really not providing you access to the type of credit scores that most lenders use.
“Several of the apps use the VantageScore 3.0, which really has limited value because many lenders don’t use it,” Gill said.
Syed Ejaz, a policy analyst at Consumer Reports, says all consumers should have a legal right to obtain a free, accurate credit score, and there’s a bill in Congress that would require it, but it hasn’t been so far scheduled for a vote.
“We’ve got a petition going on right now on action.consumerreports.org, where we’re collecting 40,000 signatures to send to Congress to ask them to work on this issue a little harder and a little faster,” Ejaz said.
Consumer Reports asked all five credit app companies about their consumer privacy, data collection, and data sharing practices. Each responded, saying they take consumer privacy very seriously and that consumer trust is paramount to their business.
Remember, there are ways to get your credit score without using a credit score app. Try checking to see if your bank or credit card offers you access. And you can also check your credit report weekly for free through AnnualCreditReport.com