Is Credit Karma Safe To Use?

Credit karma Inc. in its bold announcement last year claimed to have a consumer base of more than 50 million users. The services provided by this company are used by one in every five citizens of the United States. The company issues free credit reports for people who avail their services. To get the free credit report, a user needs to enter their personal information including Social Security Number. Due to the fact that it asks for personal information to give your score, Credit Karma is supposed to maintain a high level of security and privacy. But this is where things get tricky. And that gives rise to the question, is credit karma safe?

Is Credit Karma safe to use?

Is Credit Karma safe

What kind of Security Measure does Credit Karma use?

The company puts in use a 128-bit encryption in order to secure sensitive data. At the company’s end, the access to individual account information is read-only. The security guards physically protect the servers used. Preventives measures like a secure network and firewalls are used for its website. The desktop users are automatically logged off if there is no activity or five minutes or the site is closed. For mobile application users, they must re-enter the password every time they reopen the application. When a new user wants to register, they are asked a number of security questions in relation to their financial history.

What are the company’s Privacy Policies?

Credit Karma’s website policies and its terms of use differ from each other greatly. The website states that no personal information collected from the users is sold to any third party. And no credit score information of individuals is shared with an external party. But the terms of service differs as Credit Karma reserves the right to access, use, preserve, transfer and disclose information to fulfill governmental requests and uphold its terms of use. The company reserves the right to protect the safety, integrity, or security of their members, services or equipment or a third party. They can access, transfer or disclose, at any time, personal information of the user without notifying them.

The Data Breach of 2014

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2014 claimed that Credit Karma was unable to secure its mobile application and this left delicate user information unsecured from July 2012 to January 2013. For the development purpose of its mobile application, the company used outsourcing. The in-house developers failed to detect the lines of code disabled during testing phase which carried on into the final product. This came to notice only when a user discovered that he can break into the application. The same problem continued in the Android version which was released after resolving the iOS problem. Credit Karma received flak for their inability to execute proper testing procedures and security measure as the Android application showed the same issue.

This led to a settlement between Credit Karma and the Federal Trade Commission. However, according to the company, there was no loss of sensitive data and the issue was reported in its mobile program only. This settlement made the company redefine its security programs and soon underwent a biennial independent security assessment. In addition, Credit Karma was also asked to have security transparency by forbidding them from misleading the level of privacy in its products.

Credit Karma’s FAKO Score

Credit Karma

Credit Karma provides a user with a FAKO score instead of real FICO credit score. A user’s personal information is collected to give an estimated credit score known as FAKO score. This is done by accurately using different algorithms. The company never mentions that is not providing the true FICO credit score and this raised eyebrows.

Conclusion

Credit Karma is a factual organization that provides free estimated credit report closer to your actual credit report. The company did go through a security issue and it was resolved effectively. As the company provides FAKO score instead of FICO score, one should prefer to use it for reference purpose only.

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