Startup launches free credit reports -- and it's not a scam

Online credit monitoring startup Credit Karma is now offering consumers weekly credit reports and scores that are “actually free, not free*,” writes TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez.

As someone who plans to apply for a new mortgage soon, Perez says she’s been using Credit Karma’s iOS mobile app to clean up old, negative items on her credit report and gets “a little thrill” when she logs in to see how her credit score increases as a result of the changes.

Credit Karma partners with TransUnion and VantageScore to offer the reports, so consumers technically receive just one of three credit reports available to them. The reports are the kind of “soft inquiry” or “soft pull” that do not negatively impact a consumer’s credit score.

Credit Karma makes money through referrals to related services such as credit cards, loan products or debt consolidation industries, Perez wrote.