Credit Sesame is a financial services company based in Mountain View, California, that provides free credit information to users. It was founded in 2010 by Adrian Nazari, who is still Credit Sesame's CEO. The company is backed by Inventus Capital and Menlo Ventures: two large venture capital firms. It is accredited by the BBB and has a B rating. Credit Sesame is one of four companies (Credit Karma, Quizzle, and Credit.com are the other three) that actually provide free credit scores and reports.
Credit Sesame gives users free access to their Experian National Equivalency score, alerts them to major changes in their credit data, provides a complimentary $50,000 identity theft insurance, and consolidates all their debts and income into one dashboard so they can easily track their finances over time. Credit Sesame allows you to create credit goals, and details what steps you need to take to achieve them. It also provides personalized recommendations for loans, credit cards, mortgages and investments. Although Credit Sesame doesn't deny receiving commissions on the sales in generates, it does claim the recommendations are generated by an unbiased analytics engine that only takes into account users' credit profile, financial goals and available products.
Credit Sesame does not offer users access to their credit reports. This has to be bought separately. It doesn't include their FICO score either. Although the Experian National Equivalency score will help you get a feel of your credit health and is usually similar to your FICO score, it is not the score lenders use. To be fair none of the free credit score and reporting companies provide a FICO score. However, Credit Karma does include full access to the Experian's credit report and their VantageScore, which is used by some lenders.
Credit Sesame provides credit scores and credit monitoring for free. They don't even require a credit card, so there's no way for them to charge fees by “mistake.” As with any other credit reporting company, Credit Sesame users must confirm their identity and register an account before they get access to their credit score. This requires users to provide personal information, such as their name, their date of birth and Social Security Number.
Credit Sesame provides advice on mortgages, CDs and credit cards, as well as credit reporting and identity theft insurance. The way it combines key financial products and information in one place is what differentiates it from similar services.
Credit Sesame is truly free. This doesn't mean there aren't strings attached. You have to agree to Credit Sesame using your financial information to generate personalized ads, which are plastered all over the site. The only website that offers no strings attached access to all three credit reports is annualcreditreport.com.
Credit Sesame gives users free access to their Experian National Equivalency score, includes credit monitoring of Experian's credit data, and also manages to include a $50,000 identity theft insurance. At the price of free, Credit Sesame is an excellent way to monitor your credit score for free. The company has been in business for five years, has all the right security certificates required to manage confidential financial information and is an accredited BBB business.
However, it doesn't provide users with access to their credit reports or their FICO scores. These have to be bought separately. This means you don't get access to the underlying factors that are affecting or benefiting your credit. The score it does offer (Experian National Equivalency score) is not used by lenders, so although helpful, it doesn't provide a precise picture of the credit profile lenders use.