Five Questions With Kenneth Lin, CEO & founder, Credit Karma
Credit Karma, a web-based credit and financial management service for U.S. consumers, was one of the first sources of VantageScore credit scores provided directly to consumers, and just before New Years, Credit Karma became the first company to offer free VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from two of the national credit reporting companies. In addition to the VantageScore credit scores based on TransUnion data it had offered for several years, Credit Karma began offering its more than 35 million users VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on Equifax data as well. These scores are provided as part of a free service, via registration at CreditKarma.com. In light of this significant milestone, The Score posed five questions to Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin to learn more about Credit Karma and its role as a provider of VantageScore credit scores.
What was the reasoning behind Credit Karma’s decision to offer VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from Equifax in addition to those from TransUnion?
Credit Karma’s goal is to bring more transparency and access to consumer credit and finance, and offering VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from two major bureaus is an important step toward giving consumers a more complete understanding of their credit.
How do you recommend Credit Karma users work with their separate VantageScore 3.0 scores from Equifax and TransUnion?
Credit Karma displays both scores side-by-side for easy comparison, plus the context of the various factors impacting your scores. The two scores should be similar from the start, and they should trend in the same direction, so having access to both is a valuable checkpoint for consumers to monitor any issues that need to be addressed.
Did you take any precautions to prepare your members for the transition to VantageScore 3.0 and its more-familiar 300-850 scale range, from the 501-990 scale (with letter grades) used by VantageScore 2.0? How are consumers adjusting to the change?
Information on Credit Karma’s transition was addressed by a series of blogs that talked about the many credit scores and models out there, and more specifically VantageScore 3.0. We found that consumers in general were already more familiar with the 300-850 score range than with the previously used 501-990, so the larger adjustment has been understanding there can be fairly large differences in scoring.
After all the exciting improvements you added in 2014, are you and your team planning to just sit back and relax in 2015? If not, can you hint at some of the enhancements planned for Credit Karma in the months ahead?
Credit Karma is continuously looking for ways to give consumers more information and better tools to make the most of their financial health. Our team is working to improve members’ experience when it comes to transparency, completeness, and efficiency surrounding their credit, so definitely be on the lookout for exciting new enhancements throughout the year—particularly focused on data accuracy.
What’s your top recommendation for consumers who have resolved to improve their credit health in 2015?
Start by assessing your financial situation, and access your credit score and report for free. Set obtainable goals—small changes can have a large impact over the course of a year. And always pay your bills on time.