Everyone likes the idea of an online PFM, but relatively few will take the time to enter the necessary account numbers and passwords. Fewer still will keep it running smoothly by coming back periodically to update passwords, provide security question responses, and so on. That friction means it’s not benefiting as many people as it could.
But Credit Karma removes the friction, at least on the credit side, with its latest feature, My Accounts (see first screenshot below; see fourth screenshot for today’s email announcement). The startup parses credit bureau data to automatically present each user with an aggregated look at their debt over time. The service requires ZERO account info from the user, they simply sign up with Credit Karma to get free credit report info.
Historical data is captured each time the user updates their credit info at Credit Karma. Since it’s new, there’s just a single data point on my account (see second screenshot).
To earn advertising and referral income, Credit Karma integrates card offers into My Accounts with a Recommended Cards tab in the tertiary navigation (third screenshot). Cross selling is also woven into other areas as well (first screenshot). Credit Karma also covers home loans, auto loans, and personal loans. Each has their own tab in the secondary navigation.
The company has 3.5 million registered users and is adding 500,000 every quarter.
Bottom line: Keeping closer tabs on debt has huge benefits for many households. Credit Karma’s "no data input" method makes it easier. The last remaining hurdle is integrating the data into online banking so it’s not forgotten (see UW Credit Union post).
Credit Karma "My Accounts" (7 Nov 2011)
Balance history is tracked for each card
Note: Only one data point, since this was my first time using the new feature
Integrated offers drive revenue
Email announcement of new feature
Note: We’ve have written a number of reports on PFM and related issues in our subscription service, Online Banking Report.