creditsesame.com – the best free credit score tool?

Credit Sesame's website, iPhone app or Android app lets you view your Experian credit score and monitor your finances for free. The company believe that the consumer has the right to their personal financial information at no cost.

There's no credit card required for sign-up but, like other free credit score sites, your SSN is needed in order to retrieve your financial information. One difference here, however, is that you have the choice to not provide your SSN and instead enter your credit and loan information yourself instead. This is likely to be a lot of work as you need to give Credit Sesame original signed documents and the resulting credit report may not be as accurate as with your SSN.

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Once signed up to Credit Sesame, you can simply use the site to get your free automatically-updated credit score every month, but you also have the option of free daily monitoring alerts that you can personalize to suit your financial needs.

You can manage all your credit and debt in one place, track your credit score, loan payments and interest rates every month and get unbiased recommendations based on your credit profile – your individual situation is assessed using their patent-pending analytics engine. They will show you what is impacting your credit score and compare your financial picture with others.

Is Credit Sesame the right choice for you?

One thing you need to know about Credit Sesame's free credit score is that you are not accessing your FICO score. They use Experian's National Equivalency score (ENES). While the scoring criteria are the same as FICO, it's not quite as accurate and it's often called FAKO by consumers…

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The Equivalency score ranges from 360 to 840 (while FICO is 300 to 850) and few if any creditors use it as part of their lending decisions. The score can be unreliable and vary from your actual FICO. Keep this in mind and don't necessarily let it put you off a free credit monitoring service. A free 'educational estimate' score and monitoring service is much better than no score or monitoring service at all.

If you're concerned about identity theft, Credit Sesame offer $50,000 identify theft insurance and fraud resolution assistance for free. Now that's interesting. It was the first-ever no-cost identity theft protection service and since its April debut, millions of consumers have signed up. It's a limited service and the company cleverly advertise premium protection as well.

Talking of advertising, this is of course how Credit Sesame generate revenue, but you can choose not to accept offers from them. One paid service that is frequently mentioned is the Full Credit Report for $9. If it isn't required, just ignore the ad.

Credit Sesame seem to be one of the better choices when it comes to a free service, if only for the complimentary monthly credit score and ID theft cover. Plus they are surprisingly upfront about their services. CEO Adrian Nazari, when talking about their basic service, is reported to have said, "We give you a free Toyota. If you want to drive a Mercedes, you have the option to pay for that".

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