CreditCreditCreditCredit SesameSesameSesameSesame ReviewReviewReviewReviewCreditCreditCreditCredit SesameSesameSesameSesame Review:Review:Review:Review: IsIsIsIs ItItItIt Safe,Safe,Safe,Safe, LegitLegitLegitLegit andandandand Accurate?Accurate?Accurate?Accurate?With so many “free” credit score offers being peddled these days, it’s not always easyto know which ones are legit and safe… and which ones are scams. How doesCreditSesame.com measure up?WhatWhatWhatWhat isisisis CreditCreditCreditCredit Sesame?Sesame?Sesame?Sesame?Launched back in 2010, they’re a venture-capital backed website that is touted as afree tool for managing credit.You register by filling out your personal information and Social Security number.Once you do that, they come back and provide some info about yourcreditworthiness (I’ll discuss that in a moment).Is Credit Sesme really free? Yep… You won’t have to provide your credit card numberor pay anything to use the service.Obviously though, they have to pay for the service somehow and they do that beproviding sponsored offers for mortgage refinancing, credit cards, loans, etc.MyMyMyMy personalpersonalpersonalpersonal reviewreviewreviewreview…………After filling out the forms, I was taken to a page with some basic information:
Note: The reason I blocked out the numbers is because payment amounts are actuallyused as security questions to verify your identity when checking your credit.Obviously the first thing I noticed is the credit score of 771. Is that accurate or not?Being that I recently checked my score yet again on MyFICO.com I know exactly whatit is… a 790 FICO. SoSoSoSo whywhywhywhy isisisis CreditCreditCreditCredit SesameSesameSesameSesame tellingtellingtellingtelling memememe itititit’’’’ssss 771?771?771?771?Because Credit Sesame does not use FICO scores!The homepage was silent on the matter, but aftercreating an account the sidebar has an FAQ whichblatantly tells us a “different scoring model” is beingused.It doesn’t specify which model is being used but aquick hop over to Wikipedia answers that question forme: Experian National Equivalency ScoreSoSoSoSo youyouyouyou areareareare gettinggettinggettinggetting anananan imitatorimitatorimitatorimitator totototo FICOFICOFICOFICO, not the real thing. My guess is this is whatlargely makes it possible for the Credit Sesame service to be free, because the FICO
formula costs money to license (one can presume this imitating model is muchcheaper for them to license).The Experian National Equivalency Score runs on a 360 to 840 range, rather than the300 to 850 range for FICO.However beyond the number differences, it’s important to remember that wewewewe arearearearetalkingtalkingtalkingtalking aboutaboutaboutabout twotwotwotwo differentdifferentdifferentdifferent scoringscoringscoringscoring modelsmodelsmodelsmodels, which means the various componentsare counted differently in each.In short, you can’t compare the two as apples to apples.AndAndAndAnd whatwhatwhatwhat elseelseelseelse doesdoesdoesdoes itititit do?do?do?do?I was actually looking forward to doing this review of Credit Sesame, because I washoping I would discover a robust tool chest of free tools to use.But instead, I was left a bit disappointed.The information they give you is very limited. Now in their defense it is free, so Isuppose I shouldn’t complain. But I don’t think this would help me much withmanaging my credit and here’s why…When I click on the “My CreditWorthiness” tab, it presents a screen giving me 4 “keyfactors” that are impacting my score:220.127.116.11. NumberNumberNumberNumber ofofofof CreditCreditCreditCredit InquiriesInquiriesInquiriesInquiries
It shows me that, but tell me something I don’t already know? What I would like tosee here is the number of inquiries, not a definition of what credit inquiries are.18.104.22.168. AmountAmountAmountAmount OwedOwedOwedOwed onononon MortgagesMortgagesMortgagesMortgages orororor LackLackLackLack ofofofof MortgagesMortgagesMortgagesMortgagesI have no complaints on this factor. I live in an apartment and therefore lack amortgage, so I know that’s not the best for my credit score. There’s not much morefor them to say about this.22.214.171.124. AmountsAmountsAmountsAmounts OwedOwedOwedOwed onononon CreditCreditCreditCredit CardsCardsCardsCardsNow this one I got a chuckle out of. As you see in the highlighted text, it says I may beclose to maxing out my credit cards. That’s funny considering that in a differentsection, they show a pie chart stating my credit usage is 3%.
SoSoSoSo whichwhichwhichwhich oneoneoneone isisisis itititit………… 3%3%3%3% creditcreditcreditcredit utilizationutilizationutilizationutilization orororor IIII ““““maymaymaymay”””” bebebebe closeclosecloseclose totototo maxingmaxingmaxingmaxingout?out?out?out?For the record, I have dozens of cards and in any given month I may use 4 or 5 ofthem, depending on the rewards programs which suit my needs. They are alwayspaid in full every month and during any given month, the utilization on a singleaccount typically will never exceed 15-20% between the billing cycles.Also, MyFICO reports my credit utilization on my revolving accounts (credit cards) atbeing 6% and that being “very good.” MyFICO classifies 7% and under as the best tier.So I can’t think of any accurate reason for Credit Sesame to list this as the #3 reasonmy score isn’t higher?126.96.36.199. AverageAverageAverageAverage AgeAgeAgeAge ofofofof AccountsAccountsAccountsAccountsNo real complaints about this one. It tells a basic definition about average age ofaccounts and why they impact a credit score. I don’t really expect them to sayanything else, since there’s not much to say on this matter.However, I suppose it might be nice if they actually told me what the average age ofmy accounts are?
AndAndAndAnd thethethethe finalfinalfinalfinal verdict?verdict?verdict?verdict?Is Credit Sesame really free? Yes, and for that reason my complaints are all relative.Since you are not spending any money, Credit Sesame is safe – it can’t be a scam orripoff since a dime isn’t being paid.ButButButBut isisisis itititit actuallyactuallyactuallyactually useful?useful?useful?useful? ThatThatThatThat’’’’ssss thethethethe questionquestionquestionquestion totototo consider.consider.consider.consider.If you don’t know what your creditworthiness is – then yes – this service is a gooduseful way to check for free how you measure up.But if you want to know your true FICO score (not a FAKO) and want a more in-depthanalysis of what’s on your credit report, than unfortunately Credit Sesame falls shortsince its score accuracy is close but not the same as FICO.I probably won’t do another Credit Sesame review until [if] they make it a morerobust platform. If they ever add more features like telling the number of creditinquiries, average age of accounts, and other useful info, then I would be interested.But for now, I’ll be closing my account.