Did you know that the average credit score in the U.S. has been continually rising? Surely not be coincidence, the number of free credit monitoring sites has been increasing as well. Among them is WalletHub, which not only gives users insight into their credit scores but also provides many other educational resources for bettering your finances.
So I decided to take WalletHub for a spin and see how it compared to competitors Credit Sesame and Credit Karma.
Like with the other two sites I just mentioned, WalletHub’s sign-up process is pretty straightforward. First the site will prompt you to enter your name, followed by an e-mail address, and then more personal details such as your address and last four digits of your social security number. Additionally the site may request more information like your annual salary and your credit card payment habits, which they’ll use to customize parts of the site for you.
One thing they don’t ask for: a credit card number. Yes, WalletHub is another credit monitoring site that keeps its word and is completely free to use. It should also be noted that, like similar sites, signing up for and using WalletHub will not affect your scores.
What WalletHub Offers
Once you’re all signed up you’ll be presented with a credit score number as well as visual of a meter ranging from 300 to 850. This score is provided by TransUnion — one of the three major credit bureaus — but is calculated using a VantageScore model as opposed to one of the FICO models that most creditors rely on. Still this score should give you an overall idea of where you stand (unless, of course, you have major issues with another bureau that isn’t reported to TransUnion).
Elsewhere on your dashboard you’ll find a list of credit cards you currently have. Clicking on each will give you a look at your payment history, balance, and credit limit. It even includes more detailed information such as the highest balance ever carried on the card. But it’s not just data that they’re supplying you — these card profiles can also be edited with your spending habits so that WalletHub can make suggestions about new credit cards that could save you money with their rewards.
Along the navigation bar at the top you’ll find “Credit Analysis,” which takes a closer look at the factors that make up your credit scores. Like with Credit Sesame, you’re provided with a grade for each category, including Payment History (along with a Collections Accounts grade carved out), Credit Utilization, Account Age, Account Diversity, and Hard Credit Inquiries. While my grades were about where I’d expect, one in particular stood out to me. For “Account Age” WalletHub graded my 6 years, 1 month average as a ‘C’ while Credit Sesame had the same data but gave it an ‘A.’ While I’m not saying that WalletHub is definitely wrong on this one, I respectfully disagree with their assessment.
To the right of “Credit Analysis” is “Credit Report.” In this section you’ll find past addresses and employers that show on your report as well as open credit accounts. It also features Collections, Public Records, and Credit Inquiries that could be affecting your scores and/or report in general. Lastly clicking on your current accounts will give the same information as accessed via the main dashboard, although you can also get similar data on closed accounts in this area.
While other Credit Karma and Credit Sesames offer a number of articles on personal finance, WalletHub seems to offer a greater breadth of content. For example the site also looks at topics like life insurance and financial advising that the others don’t really touch on. In that vein the site also offers directories and suggestions for everything from credit unions to attorneys. Similarly you can view offers for car loans, CDs, home equity loans and more.
Another interesting aspect of the site is their Answers section where you can ask various finance related questions. Like Reddit these questions show up as threads and can be upvoted or downvoted by users as can answers presented by others. In my brief search through some of these threads, many were getting responses from financial professionals offering their best advice. Although Credit Karma’s “Community” section offers a similar idea, I have to say that WalletHub’s execution wins out.
As mentioned WalletHub also offers a number of finance articles that users may find helpful. These can be found by clicking the “Tools” pulldown and going to “Article & Studies.” Alternatively the “Future Plans” section on your Dashboard allows you to select a topic and easily access content on that subject. Also helpful is the “Calculators” section under “Tools” that can come in handy when thinking about debt repayment, mortgages, or other large purchases.
Finally there’s WalletHub’s WalletLiteracy quiz. Like the site itself, this test asks you questions on a variety of subjects that all relate to personal finance. I ended up with an A- (I’m kicking myself over a couple of missed answers), which is apparently better than 96% of respondents. This just goes to show you that, even if you do know a lot about finance, you might still have something to learn.
Alerts and Advisories
After having the chance to use WalletHub for many months now, one area where I feel the site stands above the others is with its various alerts, including their WalletFitness Tasks. In addition to messages of congratulations that might show in your dashboard when your score rises, the WalletFitness Tasks section could also draw your attention to important matters. For example, I recently got an advisory that my credit card balance was significantly higher than it had been for the past six months, which would be a sign that something was wrong. In reality, I had just booked a lot of travel and put it all on my Uber Visa card to snag that 3% cash back, but it was nice to know that WalletHub was paying attention.
I should also note that, when I froze my credit reports after the Equifax hack, WalletHub was the only one of the three sites I use that sent me an alert saying the freeze had taken effect. While I do wish they offered more customizable alert options a la Credit Sesame, I have to say that I’ve been impressed with how helpful WalletHub’s notifications have been.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I really like WalletHub. For one I found the look of the site and its navigation to be slicker than Credit Sesame, putting it closer to Credit Karma. That said Credit Karma does still offer more scores (two compared to one from WalletHub), which may still put it on top. Additionally WalletHub doesn’t have anything similar to Credit Karma’s Credit Score Simulator, which I consider to be a star feature.
Where WalletHub does excel is in the amount of helpful info and content it provides. From articles to calculators and even the credit card and service recommendations (which is how they monetize the site), there’s a lot be learned from the site. With that in mind, WalletHub has been among my go-to credit monitoring sites and is a great additional resource for Credit Karma users.