Credit Sesame, a company that monitors users' credit scores and helps them find and manage loans, is extending its unique feature set to a mobile app.
"Mobile fits our overall strategy of giving people a way to manage their credit and loans, and do that while on the move," says Adrian Nazari, founder and CEO of Credit Sesame.
The Sunnyvale, Ca.-based website has launched an iPhone app that gives consumers instant and free access to monthly Experian credit scores (an Android app will be ready soon).
Consumers can also access Credit Sesame's bank analytics engine, which provides information on possible finance options based on the consumer's financial picture and product data culled from financial institutions that have information sharing partnerships with Credit Sesame, including Citigroup, Chase and Wells Fargo and many of their correspondent lenders. Credit Sesame gets a fee from its bank partners for every closed loan; the service is free to consumers.
The mobile app includes updated data on how much consumers owe on monthly credit card, mortgage, student loan and automobile payments and monitors current loans against the user's credit profile and financial goals. Consumers can also monitor and track home value and debt-to-income ratios and set alerts that notify them when a lending product becomes available that will lower a monthly payment or improve their debt situation.
Nazari says Credit Sesame's internal research found that 15 percent of its users access Credit Sesame primarily via a mobile device, and that 84 percent of users said they wanted to access credit scores on their smartphones. A typical use case would be a borrower viewing his overall debt picture, along with a credit score and matching loan options, while shopping for a home. The Experian score is not the official credit score that is typically used by the lender during formal approval, but can serve as a guide for borrowers.
Credit Sesame built the mobile interface internally. Its analytics engine, developed at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, creates about 5,000 scenarios with thousands of lending products — covering most financial institutions in North America — to locate the three best pre-qualified solutions for each user.
"The mobile version of our service is a simplified version of what's on the website. On the web, for example, you can run different scenarios for financial products. On the mobile app, that's limited because of the simpler interface. So you can see all of the information on a prospective product, but [can't do full 'what if' scenarios]," Nazari says.
Nazari also says the web version of Credit Sesame allows more detailed information on debt goals and home information. While Credit Sesame's mobile app can be accessed on the iPad, Nazari says it does not yet have a tablet-specific app to take advantage of that device's larger screen, but tablets are "on the radar."