Credit Karma, the online service for keeping track of your credit score, has launched a new feature: free credit monitoring. Within the first day of its existence (the option became available just yesterday), the company has managed to enroll an impressive 100,000 users for the opt-in credit monitoring service. The move brings Credit Karma’s total user base to over 4 million.
The number is, in some ways, that much more impressive, given that Credit Karma requires users to provide personal information including their name, address and partial Social Security Number in order upon sign up – information that many consumers still balk at sharing online.
But users are drawn to the service through word-of-mouth recommendations, coupled with lots of mainstream media coverage over the years, including The Today Show, The Wall St. Journal, MSNBC, and others. This has allowed the company to reach a wide swath of the American population, from those looking to improve their credit all the way to those who need to maintain their already healthy score.
However, until now, users would have to login to the website to check on their score’s status. With the new monitoring option, an email is sent to you alerting you of any changes. Credit Karma now monitors scores on a nightly basis, letting you know of anything derogatory that may impact your credit, or even just a change in your personal information at the credit agency.
This same level of service is something that less reputable firms have tricked users into signing up for in the past, offering “free*” credit reports which come with a bunch of fine print suckering folks into ongoing monthly fees. But Credit Karma is completely free. Not freemium, free. There are no monthly services or paid upgrades. Instead, it’s entirely ad-supported, thanks to banks and financial service companies in need of better ways to target specific demographics based on their credit scores.
Says CEO Kenneth Lin, Credit Karma is now on pace to register over 500,000 users this month thanks to the launch of the new monitoring service. It had previously been growing at a rate of 300,000 users per month, for comparison purposes. This fast pace led the company to acquire half of its user base (2M out of the 4M total) over the course of 2011.
In every metric, from user acquisition, to revenue (up 3x) to engagement, Lin says Credit Karma is seeing at least two to three times year-over-year growth. Users visit the site around once per quarter (4x per year), and in total, the service has provided around 20 million free credit scores to date.
As for what’s next, Lin says they’re going mobile. An iOS app is planned for Q1 2012, with an Android app soon to follow.
Credit Karma launched in 2008, and has $3 million in funding from QED Investors, SV Angel, Founders Fund, FF Angel and Aydin Senkut. It has been profitable for the past two years.
Credit Karma is the consumer’s advocate for demystifying credit and has a range of tools and information resources to help them monitor and manage the credit aspect of their financial health. Credit Karma’s goal is to help consumers easily digest the contents of their credit report and understand what makes up their credit score. Credit Karma works with a range of partners, including mortgage lenders, credit card providers, banks, and wireless providers.