Credit Karma, a credit management website, last week started offering on-demand access to credit reports from Equifax.

This is the second credit report Credit Karma users can view as much as they like. The site began allowing users to check their full report from TransUnion, another of the big three credit-reporting firms, in July.

"Historically, getting your credit scores or reports from more than one bureau for free on more than an annual basis can be complicated, yet access to this information is critical for consumers" said Ken Lin, Credit Karma's chief executive.

The reports on the Credit Karma site will be updated weekly to reflect new credit activity, such as new credit cards consumers open, adds Lin.

Consumers can use the reports in several ways. They can check for erroneous or fraudulent information, such as if a fraudster opens an account in their name. They also can strategize before applying for a mortgage.
 

For example, they can pay off their credit card debt, which could help them land a lower mortgage rate, and wait until that information is reflected on their credit reports to apply for the loan.Credit Karma, whose website launched in 2008, has more than 30 million registered users in the U.S., according to Lin. Users must provide their name, address and Social Security number, and other pieces of information, to register.

Along with their credit reports, users also have free access to their credit score from VantageScore Solutions, a number used in a relatively few consumer-lending decisions.

Historically, only lenders had unlimited access to consumers' complete credit files, while consumers were generally restricted to obtaining just one free credit report a year from the major credit bureaus.

Credit Karma is making that data even more accessible so that consumers can better understand how lenders evaluate their creditworthiness. For years, consumer-facing sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and Quizzle have published free credit scores, helping to push card issuers like Free Bankcard and Discover to also distribute credit scores to their customers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has urged more issuers to follow suit.

 

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