Credit Sesame Review: Can You Boost Your Credit With This Service?

couple looking at credit score

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So you’ve heard about Credit Sesame.

And you’re wondering:

Is it free? Is it safe? And what does it offer?

Those are all good questions. Because in the credit world, there are dozens of credit monitoring services to choose from.

So for this Credit Sesame review, we want to give you our honest opinion of what we like – and didn’t like about the service.

Ready?

Let’s begin!

 

What does Credit Sesame offer?

woman typing on laptop

Credit sesame is a company that offers free resources for building your credit and monitoring it. They offer 3 main services:

1. Free Credit Score + Scorecard

Your credit score is your credit history expressed as a number. You can see it as a “grade” for how responsibility you’ve managed your debt and finances.

Credit Sesame advertises that no credit card, trial, or commitments are required. You can check your credit score completely for free.

We found that to be true. And personally, I feel better when I don’t have to add a credit card or sign up for a trial – because I usually forget to cancel before the trial ends.

 

Overall, the sign-up process was easy. From start to finish, it took me about 2 minutes to complete. I did struggle, however, with the security questions at the end.

They asked me several questions to verify my identity. The only problem was that none of the questions applied to me.

For example, one question asked what the make and model of my car was, and well…none of the answers provided matched my car. Another question asked me to verify what company my gas credit card was with. Those choices were incorrect too.

So most of the answers I chose were “N/A” or “None”

For the most part, this isn’t a big deal, until it is.

 

When my friend tried to check his credit score with Credit Sesame, none of his “identity” questions applied to him, either.

So he chose answers like “N/A” and “None” and ended up on this screen:

error credit sesame screen

Credit Sesame couldn’t verify his identity, so he wasn’t able to get his free credit score. Bummer.

He’ll have to try again later to see if it works. But I digress. Back to the credit sesame review. 

Once I finished signing up, they pulled my credit information. I received a credit scorecard that looked like this:

credit sesame scorecard

The set-up is nice. You’re automatically able to see your credit score on the left. On the right, you’re given a grade for each of the credit score factors.

In case you didn’t know, there are 5 credit score factors:

  • Payment History (35%) Measures how well you make timely payments.
  • Amount Owed (30%) The smaller balances you have, the better. It shows that you’re focused on paying off your debt.
  • Credit Age (15%) Lenders like to see long, established credit history. Generally, accounts opened for 5 years or longer are considered a good credit age.
  • Credit Mix (10%) Having a mix of different types of credit – student loans, credit cards, a mortgage – shows that you can handle many types of credit.
  • New Credit (10%) Have you applied for new credit lately? When you apply for credit, lenders put an inquiry on your credit report. When you have fewer inquiries, it shows that you’re not getting yourself into a lot of debt.

You can click on every letter grade on your scorecard to get a description.

Here’s how that looks:

credit sesame scorecard

 

2. Free Daily Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring lets you track changes to your credit report and score. When change occurs, they’ll send you an email alert or push notification to your app.

I think that credit monitoring is a great feature. While it can’t prevent your identity from being stolen in the first place, you can quickly put an end to it. Even though you aren’t responsible for the fraud, it’s still a mess to clean up. 

The sooner you’re able to report the hacker for identity theft, the less financial damage they can do to you and other people 

 

But in this credit sesame review, I want to point out:

You get 3 credit reports from the 3 major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Credit Sesame’s free monitoring service only checks your TransUnion credit report.

But, you can join their premium service that allows you to track all 3 of your reports. The premium service also monitors your Social Security number, public records, and the use of your personal info on black market websites.

 

3. Free Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft is when a criminal gets a hold of your personal information, like your Social Security number, Driver’s License Number, credit card number and other financial information.

In most cases, you don’t even realize you’re a victim until you pay your credit card bill and see suspicious activity.

…or receive notices in the mail about new accounts you didn’t open. You may even be contacted by debt collectors about charges you didn’t make. 

There are a few common ways you’re identity can get stolen:

  • Data breaches
  • Credit Card theft
  • WiFi hacking
  • ATM skimmers
  • Internet hacking

With Credit Sesame, you’re covered with $50K identify theft insurance. That comes with live support to help you with identity restoration, in case your identity gets stolen.

 

How to get the most out of Credit Sesame’s free services

man using laptop

Want to get the most out of their free services?

Me too.

Here’s what you do:

Go to the “Alerts” center on your account. You’ll see a feature that alerts you when your score rises or drops below a certain amount.

The best part?

The amounts are set by you. So if you want Credit Sesame to alert you when your score increases above 800, you can do that. If you want them to alert you when it decreases below 760, you can do that too.

You’ll also want to tick the boxes next to credit monitoring and identity theft.

Here’s how that looks:

credit sesame alert center

Those are handy features to have. And overall, I’m very happy with Credit Sesame’s free services.

I might sign up for the paid plan in the future, just so I can get my credit reports from all 3 bureaus. I will update this credit sesame review when I do.

As you may know, you’re entitled to a copy of your credit reports once every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com

According to the Federal Trade Commission, almost 40 million people currently have an error on their credit report.

The worst part?

Many of them don’t even realize it.

So here’s the deal:

Check your credit reports at least yearly through AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for incorrect hard inquiries and duplicate paid collections. Also, check for suspicious behavior.

The reason I’m considering upgrading to Credit Sesame’s paid plan is because I find their credit scorecards and reports easy to use. From a quick glance at the app, I can instantly tell if there are any changes to my credit history.

While AnnualCreditReport.com is free, it’s not as simple to use. But hey, free is free, right?

Here’s a look at what you get with their paid memberships:

credit sesame paid memberships

Credit Sesame Review – The Pros & Cons

The positives

1. You get a lot of stuff for free.

Free credit score, free credit monitoring, and free identity theft protection. Plus $50,000 Identity Theft Insurance.

2. It’s quick and easy.

The sign-up process took me about 2 minutes.

3. The scorecard is great.

Credit Sesame gives you letter grades for each of the 5 credit score factors. For example, if you have a letter grade “B” in one area – you can click to read details to improve it.

4. Helpful alerts.

I like that I can customize the settings to alert me if my score rises or drops below a certain amount.

 

The negatives

1. The identity questions can throw you off when you’re signing up.

Like I said earlier, both me and my friend struggled with the identity questions.

They’re multiple choice questions and you can mark “N/A” if they don’t apply to you. That did the trick for me.

For my friend, on the other hand, they rejected him saying that they couldn’t verify his identity.

2. Promotional emails.

When you sign-up, you’ll start receiving promotional emails like these:

credit sesame promotional emails

This is really not that big of a deal, but I added it here for reference. If you don’t want their promotional newsletter, you can opt-out like I did.

3. No customer service number.

This isn’t a negative for everyone. For me, I’m perfectly fine with contacting their support via email.

But if you take a look at their online forum, you’ll see that there are a few unhappy customers that were disappointed they couldn’t contact support over the phone.

So I knew I had to mention that in this credit sesame review.

Anything that can be resolved over the phone can be resolved over or through their FAQ center. But, the main benefit of phone support is that the answers are immediate.

How Do I Join?

man using cellphone at coffee shop

The sign-up process takes about 2 minutes. You enter your email, provide a few pieces of important information, and answer the security questions.

Does Credit Sesame have an app?

Yes, there’s a Credit Sesame app for both Apple and Android users.

Just like the website, I find the app to be user-friendly. You can go there to access your credit score and check for alerts.

1. Does Credit Sesame hurt your credit score?

No, checking your own credit score will not hurt your score. It’s safe and smart to check it often so you can stay up-to-date on any changes.

2. How often does Credit Sesame update?

For credit scores, Credit Sesame updates your TransUnion once per month on the free plan. On the paid plans, your credit score gets updated daily.

For credit monitoring, both free and paid plans update daily.

3. Is Credit Sesame safe?

Yes. Your information is encrypted by a 128-bit SSL encryption and a 256-bit AES encryption. This is safety encryption that is used by banks and the government.

They don’t sell your information for marketing purposes and they’re backed by sites like McAfee.

I won’t go into full detail about their security policies in this credit sesame review, but you can read more about it here.

Safe and Secure

You can also read customer reviews on Credit Sesame. They have over 300 reviews on Consumer Affairs with an average 4.6 star rating.

4. What credit report does Credit Sesame use?

The free plan uses TransUnion. The paid membership uses all 3 – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

5. Are Credit Sesame scores accurate?

Yes, they’ve been accurate from my experience.

Credit Sesame provides your TransUnion score with the free plan. This score falls under the VantageScore 3.0 model. It’s important to note that most lenders check your FICO score before lending you money.

So if you’re looking to apply for a new card or take out a loan, you’re probably wondering how close the Credit Sesame VantageScore is to FICO.

The truth is, your VantageScore and FICO score won’t always match up perfectly. But they won’t be vastly different, either. There’s only a 6 point difference between my FICO and VantageScore.

They both use similar credit score factors to determine your score, so they’re both built on the same foundation.

6. Is Credit Sesame free?

Yes, Credit Sesame gets your credit score, monitors your credit and identity for free.

As I said earlier in this credit sesame review, if you do decide upgrade, they offer paid plans with more benefits:

Advanced Credit ($9.95/mo)

  • Daily credit score updates
  • Get your credit score from all 3 credit bureaus
  • Get your credit report from all 3 credit bureaus

Pro Credit ($15.95/mo)

  • Daily credit score updates
  • Get your credit score from all 3 credit bureaus
  • Get your credit report from all 3 credit bureaus
  • Credit monitoring for all 3 reports
  • 24/7 live experts to help solve mistakes on your credit report

Platinum Protection ($19.95/mo)

  • Daily credit score updates
  • Get your credit score from all 3 credit bureaus
  • Get your credit report from all 3 credit bureaus
  • Credit monitoring for all 3 reports
  • 24/7 live experts to help solve mistakes on your credit report
  • 24/7 experts for stolen/lost wallet protection
  • Black market website monitoring
  • Public records monitoring
  • Social Security Number monitoring

7. Can I invite a friend?

Yes, if you log into your account and click under your name you’ll see an “Invite a Friend” link.

Several years ago, Credit Sesame ran a promotion where if you invited 6 people, you’d get a $150 Amazon gift card. Unfortunately now, there is no such promotion. It’d be nice if they’d bring that back.

But, Credit Sesame does offer some great services so if you want to help a friend out, then you should invite them.

8. How do I contact Credit Sesame?

Credit Sesame directs customer to reach out through their online request form. If you have questions that need answers, you can check out their support center.

Their support center covers a variety of different topics:

  • Signing up
  • My Account
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Email
  • Mobile App
  • Credit Sesame Premium
  • Billing & Payments
  • Privacy and Security

But if you want to reach them directly via email, you can try these:

For help:

[email protected]

For feedback:

[email protected]

Currently, Credit Sesame offers email support. There is no customer service phone number.

According to their website:

At Credit Sesame we are all about using technology to help our members. Email allows our support team to be more efficient and respond more thoroughly with helpful links, screenshots and articles.

Final Thoughts

Let me turn a question over to you:

Have you tried Credit Sesame? What did you think?

If you have any additional questions about this Credit Sesame review, comment below. And check out our debt tracker for improving your credit score and becoming debt-free.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT

Get your free credit score with Credit Sesame. Checking takes less than 2 minutes and will not affect your score.

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