Does Checking myFICO, Credit Karma, or Credit Sesame Hurt My Score?

By Expert Contributor

Contracted writer for Credit Knocks.

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Summary: Checking your credit score through myFICO, Credit Karma, or Credit Sesame is a responsible way to keep up with your credit.  But does it hurt your score?

Nowadays, many different resources allow people to check their credit score online. Sites like myFICO, Credit Karma, and Credit Sesame have gained popularity in recent years for these accessible services.

These services pride themselves on giving customers the ability to quickly and effortlessly open a window into what an insurer or credit card company may see. 

But how do these sites work? 

Do they impact your score without telling you?

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While each site works differently, we're going to break down the three major ones and explain how they might impact your credit score.

We'll also dive into the inner workings behind the systems. 

Once we have demystified the process, there will be no secrets about what kind of information and the impact each service will have on your credit score in the future.

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Does Checking myFICO Hurt My Score?

MyFICO deals solely in providing its customers with a look at their FICO score. This score is comparable to a report card on your credit score. 

It gives you an understanding of the industry analysis of a credit score. While this service may help people trying to find out where they stand, it still is not a 100% accurate estimate of your score.

MyFICO can provide its users with FICO scores from both TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three top credit reporting agencies. These agencies evaluate a credit score, and the level of risk someone may possess. 

The information that myFICO provides from TransUnion and Equifax is excellent. It's reliable, accessible, and accurate. However, myFICO cannot provide you with an Experian report as the latter no longer sells its model to consumers.

Checking your credit at MyFICO or the credit bureaus is known as a "soft inquiry" and does not harm your credit.

Understanding where these websites get their information is half the battle. 

But the question remains: 

Will checking your FICO score on myFICO impact your score moving forward?

The quick and easy answer is no.

Checking your score or signing up to receive email reports from the service has no impact on your score at the end of the day.

MyFico is an excellent resource to get an estimate of your current scores. However, it is essential to understand that the myFICO score may differ from the scores used by an insurer!

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Does Checking Credit Karma Hurt My Score?

As one of the most popular credit checking services available, Credit Karma has made a name for itself. It provides free score checks as well as other tools for its users. 

The catch for this service? 

You can only check your score once a year for free. Any additional requests will require a service fee.

This type of service falls under the category of a "soft-credit inquiry." Similar to myFICO, it will not negatively impact your score by checking it.

The counterpart to soft-credit inquiries is hard-credit inquiries.

A hard credit check will drop your score anywhere between one to five points. Credit Karma provides you with valuable information without that threat.

Quick Note:

Credit Karma offers a VantageScore, known as an "educational score."  If you want to know the score most lenders use, you need to know your FICO Score.     

Hard-credit inquiries are necessary in the specific case that you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage.

Due to the more severe nature of these checks, they not only impact your score but also remain on your record for up to two years.

Although the impact is small, too many hard inquiries will be detrimental to your overall score.

Credit Karma's service is free and will not damage your score. However, these services do come at a cost. The information that Credit Karma can provide to its users is comparable to the report you may get through myFICO. 

You will get the TransUnion and Equifax scores in their entirety, but you still will lack a completely accurate check.

The significant difference in using this service than the others? 

Credit Karma also provides a set of tools to its consumers. It allows people to use tax preparation assessments, solicit recommendations for credit cards, and track credit as it raises and lowers.

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Does Checking Credit Sesame Hurt My Score?

Credit Karma and myFICO are both services that center around providing their users with credit score reports.

Credit Sesame is different.

It's a financial management tool that also allows you to check a score. This service caters to a more comprehensive financial assessment that doesn't just focus on a credit rating.

The quick answer to if using this service will impact your score is the same as the other two options.

When using Credit Sesame, you will invoke a soft-credit inquiry. It will not impact your score at all. 

The difference, again, comes from the kind of information that you receive with the service.

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The two previous websites compiled scores from at least two different sources. They gave a report that allows you to understand where you stand.

In both cases, these scores are not 100% accurate but a reasonable estimate of where you stand. Credit Sesame only pulls information from TransUnion, making it a less comprehensive report.

Credit Sesame sets itself apart from the crowd by using information from other financial sources to give you different kinds of information. This information includes account balances and purchasing history. 

While this may not be the most critical information when it comes to credit scores, the combined total gives a detailed report on your entire financial situation and how you can improve it.

Check Your Credit Score Worry-Free

While each service is different and provides its users with a diverse array of information, the most important takeaway is that using one or all will not negatively impact your score. 

You can have confidence when using myFiCO, Credit Karma, and Credit Sesame. Although the information may not be the same as what an insurer will see, it is a reliable estimate, and you will not receive a penalty for using it.

This comprehensive guide may not outline all the services you can use to check a credit score. Still, it does dive into the most popular and gives you the power to understand credit score management.

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