Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, Mint, and TurboTax, announced yesterday that it’s buying Credit Karma for a touch over $7.1 billion in cash and stock. If you’re not cool with Intuit having the data you’ve shared with Credit Karma, there are other options out there. Just be warned: you’ll need to sign up for multiple services to cover everything Credit Karma currently does.
What Does Intuit Buying Credit Karma Mean for Me?
Before we get into a list of other services, however, we should first talk about what the sale means for users. The short answer, for now at least, is nothing.
According to Intuit, it will continue to run Credit Karma as a “standalone operation,” which is a good thing. Of course, time will tell how well that goes—too often we’ve seen larger companies buy smaller ones with the “promise” of keeping the two separate, only to renege later.
Of course, there’s a chance that everything does, indeed, stay the same. But there’s also the other side of that coin where Intuit does something dramatic with Credit Karma, which may include things like charging for it (unlikely) or killing parts of the service (more likely).
There are certain features offered by Credit Karma that directly compete with other services provided by Intuit. Credit Karma provides a completely free tax-filing service, which directly competes with Intuit’s TurboTax service, for example. It’s hard to imagine a future where Intuit keeps CK’s free filing option and risks hurting its own business as a result.
And that’s just one example. There are a few other areas where the two services overlap, so it’s not unlikely that we’ll see one get swallowed by the other.
So, all that is just to say one thing: at some point, something will likely change. It will probably be a while, so right now we’re just speculating. But in the event you choose to part ways with Credit Karma, you’ll want to delete your account—presumably before the Intuit transition is complete.
How to Delete Your Credit Karma Account
Deleting your CK account is simple.
- Head over to Credit Karma and log in.
- Navigate to the account deactivation page.
- Read through everything you’ll lose if you deactivate your account, then click the big red “Cancel account” button at the bottom.
And that’s that. Your Credit Karma account is no more.
Due to our recordkeeping and information retention requirements, we do not delete information about you upon deactivation. We will, however, disable your account and stop sending you further communications. Furthermore, except to the extent necessary for legal or regulatory recordkeeping purposes, we anonymize the data in your Member Profile two years after you deactivate your account. It may take a little more time for our automated backup systems to fully process the anonymized account, though.
Yeah, so they keep your info. Once you’re in the Credit Karma system, you’re in there. But, like pretty much every other service out there, they say they’ll keep it private and safe.
But now that you’ve gotten rid of your CK account, it’s time to replace the main features with other services. Hopefully, those won’t ultimately get bought out by some bigger company. Heh.
For Credit Monitoring: NerdWallet or WalletHub
If the main thing you use Credit Karma for is to keep up with your credit score (and all the fun stuff that goes along with it), then you’re in luck, because it’s not the only service out there doing the whole credit monitoring thing.
You have a couple of options here with NerdWallet and WalletHub. Both seem to do basically the same stuff, with credit monitoring taking center stage on each service. They offer credit scores, card and loan recommendations, as well as other financial advice.
Both services are entirely free to use, so if you can’t decide which sounds better after a glance, you can give them both a shot to see which one meshes better with your life. It’ll only cost you literally all of your personal info.
Side note: if you already have credit cards and you only want to keep an eye on your credit score (without additional monitor), nearly all cards offer access to your FICO score. Just log in to your online account and look for the FICO button—it’s usually pretty prominent.
For Card and Loan Recommendations: NerdWallet
Man, it seems like it was just a paragraph ago when we were talking about NerdWallet and how it has card recommendations. Well, guess what? If you rely on Credit Karma to find the best credit cards and loans for your needs, you’re not left in the cold here, either—NerdWallet is pretty great at what it does.
You may have seen the cheeky commercial with the users asking all sorts of financial questions, from the trivial “can I afford extra guacamole?” to “how do people just buy a house” with the answer Turn to the Nerds being the apparent answer. (If you haven’t seen this commercial, then it’s just up there.)
Well, that’s these guys. These “nerds” want to help you with your financial woes and put you in the best place to find a credit card or loan that will work for what you need.
Now, before you say it, I already know what some of you are thinking: no credit card is the best credit card! And while I won’t argue that, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or give financial advice. I’m just telling you where to find more of the info offered by Credit Karma if you’ve chosen to move on.
And if that info involves learning more about credit cards or certain loans, then NerdWallet is happy to help.
For Tax Filing: IRS Free File or FreeTaxUSA
One of the best features of Credit Karma is its completely free tax filing service. As long as you don’t have a stupid-intricate return, then it’s easily the best bang for your buck (because there are no bucks involved). To make that deal even sweeter, this year, it added free state filing too.
When I checked other services, they wanted between $65-80 for my federal and state returns. But I filed both of those jokers using Credit Karma Tax for approximately zero dollars with a zero dollar filing fee. So, if my calculator is correct, the total actually came to zero dollars. You honestly can’t beat that with a stick. (Though if you’re beating your taxes with a stick, I honestly can’t blame you—taxes suck.)
But I digress. If you’re into this whole “I don’t want to pay to file my taxes,” then I have good news and bad news: the good news is that there aren’t any other free options for both state and federal that I’ve found. The bad news is that you can still file for very little, though.
Wait—strike that. Reverse it.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to file your federal return for free, then look no further than IRS Free File. This is a filing system offered directly from the IRS—you know, the same IRS you’re filing with in the first place through that third party (like Credit Karma)—and it doesn’t cost a dime.
That said, it’s only for users who make under $69,000/year and is really best for the simplest of returns. There’s also no “maximum refund guarantee!” like you’ll get with some paid services (and Credit Karma Tax). Also, it’s only for federal returns. I know, what a hassle. But you can’t beat the price!
If you need a little help getting through the whole “damn, I should file my taxes with this IRS thing,” our friends over at How-to Geek have a good guide on making that happen. You should probably read it.
If you make more than $69k/year or just want to file your federal and state together, FreeTaxUSA is the way to go. Federal filing is free, and state returns are just $13. Compare that to the nearly forty dollars that most other services want to file your state return, and it’s a pretty good deal.
For Savings: Just Use Your Bank
Credit Karma recently introduced a savings feature that it’s been pushing pretty hard lately, though I’m honestly not sure why you’d opt for that instead of a more traditional savings account in the first place.
Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is if you don’t trust Intuit with your savings, then you’re probably better off moving it over to your current bank account. Honestly, you already trust them with all of your money anyway, so why the hell not, right?
A friendly word of advice, though: at least check the interest rate first. CK currently offers 1.80% APY on savings accounts, so make sure you’re at least getting that from your bank. There’s no better money than free money, after all.
To re-affirm what I said like 1400(ish) words ago, there’s no reason to think that Intuit is up to some nefarious crap with your personal info, and I don’t want to allude to anything otherwise. The whole point here is that you’ll want other options should the company start to get rid of (or charge for) the most useful features of Credit Karma, like its totally free federal and state tax filing.
Plus, maybe you just have ill feelings toward Intuit in the first place for whatever reason. If you’re already ready to boot all aspects of Credit Karma from your life, then there you go. You’re welcome, friend.