Finovate alum Credit Karma recently started providing a private-label version of its credit reporting service to Sears cardholders (see note 1). The service includes free credit scores and other data to help put those scores in an understandable context (see FinovateStartup 2009 video here).
The new service, launched Sep. 2009, is delivered through a dedicated site, searscreditscore.com. Since Sears cardholders must make a purchase each year to use the site, it provides an ongoing usage incentive.
The Credit Karma-powered service is clearly branded as a Sears and Kmart offering (note 2, screenshot #1). Interestingly, Sears also takes the opportunity to offer targeted advertising space to financial companies (screenshot #3). It also markets the credit-analysis service on its own credit card site (screenshot #2).
While Credit Karma traditionally derived revenue from advertising on its site, this move into the private-label channel provides additional growth opportunities. The Sears private-label site had nearly 140,000 unique visitors in February, about one-third the total at Credit Karma (see table below). It’s a good deal for Sears, too: Offering credit-score analysis differentiates it from other retail card providers and conveys concern about its customers’ financial well-being.
Website traffic at searscreditscore.com vs. creditkarma.com
Source: Compete.com, March 2010 (link)
1. The Sears credit score site, powered by Credit Karma
2. Sears promotes the credit score service on its website
3. Sample page from Searscreditscore.com
Note ads for Citi and ING Direct
1. Sears cards are issued by Citibank, one of the advertisers in the private-label site.
2. Kmart acquired Sears in 2004.