are many personal finance services designed to help you manage or grow your money
in different ways. Free online tool WalletHub focuses on your credit cards,
loans, and other financial accounts. Your WalletHub account prominently displays your
credit score, which gives you an idea of its focus. It’s a good
service, though not as valuable overall as Editors’ Choice winners Mint.com and
Quicken Deluxe, which watch all your financial accounts, right down to
individual transactions on credit and debit cards. That’s fine, because WalletHub is more like Credit Karma in terms of content and tools. Credit Karma offers a much better, more cohesive interface, however.
Much has changed with WalletHub since our last review. The biggest news is the introduction of iOS and Android apps. In addition, the site now offers more proactive monitoring and alerts, detailed advice on improving your credit score, and deeper explanations on why your credit score changed.
and Information Collection
is free to use, although you must provide some personal information for
the service to work. These details include your address, date of birth, and
last four digits of your social security number. All online personal finance
tools require that you provide some kind of personal information if you’re going
to allow them to automatically pull data on your behalf. It’s a huge
convenience and results in fewer human errors than old manual-entry personal
the personal information you provide, WalletHub pulls your credit report from TransUnion.
Your credit report has all kinds of information about your personal finances,
including loans and credit cards in your name, as well as account balances and
any late payments you’ve made. Sometimes, WalletHub tells you it needs
additional information about an account to monitor it well.
you might not expect a website that focuses on your credit score to be very
expansive, WalletHub is. It’s expansive enough that it requires a multi-level
toolbar-and-menu system that’s similar to Credit Karma’s. These navigation tools contribute to WalletHub’s effective, but not exceptional, user experience. It’s not as elegant as Credit Karma’s, in any case, since the interface tends to sprawl.
However, I didn’t have trouble finding what I was looking for once I
understood that the toolbar that opens with the Dashboard contains the site’s real
meat (like Credit Report and Credit Analysis). The toolbar that
appears above it is reserved primarily for financial product shopping and
There’s your credit score, front and center, on WalletHub’s Dashboard. How can you improve it?
WalletHub displays a lot of detail about your
credit report and history, so you probably don’t want anyone else to get their
hands on that information. But because of the way WalletHub works, a hacker who
got into your account could not move or steal money from within WalletHub
directly. That’s good. WalletHub doesn’t display account numbers either, which
is also good.
you wouldn’t want a hacker to be able to know every line of credit you have
open and additional details about those accounts, such as balances or when the
account was opened. As with any online financial tool or service, it’s very
important to have a unique and strong password to protect your account. A
password is, after all, your first line of defense.
spokesperson for WalletHub explained that the site uses the same 128-bit
encryption and SSL that FDIC-insured financial institutions use. Personal data
collected at signup, she said, is anonymized once stored. And that the
registration process only requires the last four digits of your social security
number, not the whole thing. All in all, it’s probably no less secure than
walking around town with credit cards and your driver’s license in your wallet.
most people won’t read WalletHub’s privacy statement and terms of services, you
should do so if you have any doubts about how your data may be used. One
specific piece of information I sometimes seek out with financial services is
whether I can delete my account at my discretion, or whether the company simply
disables the account and continues to store my data. WalletHub’s statement
indicates that the company will disable your account, but that residual copies
of your information may still exist on its servers for five years or longer,
accessible only by authorized personnel. Even after your data has been removed
from active databases, it may remain in backup storage. This policy gives me pause, but wouldn’t necessarily keep me from using the site’s services.
Does WalletHub Make Money?
Mint, and Credit Karma all have similar business models. The primary way they
make money is by showing offers (advertisements) to you for financial products.
When you sign up for one of these products through the site, they get paid. The
advertisements are personalized to you, based on information the site knows
about you from the signup process and your credit report.
WalletHub and other personal finance services know what kind of financial
accounts you have, the interest rates on them, and so forth, they’re pretty
good at finding offers for accounts that will be good for you financially. But
they also let you explore on your own. From drop-down menus, you can choose the
kinds of offers you’re interested in reviewing, such as car loans, mortgages,
CD/savings accounts, prepaid spending cards, and so forth.
can also search for professional services in your geographical area, like
attorneys, credit unions, and car insurance. This gives you a lot of control
over finding a financial product or service you actually need. WalletHub also
gives you filters so you can drill down and find accounts that truly meet your
criteria. For example, you could search for credit cards that offer 0 percent interest
on balance transfers, no annual fee, or rewards.
does a good job of showing you truly relevant ads. For example, there are
several calculators in which you can enter details about financial issues you
need to calculate, such as how long it will take you to pay off a mortgage, car
loan, or credit card balance. WalletHub does the calculations and shows you,
for example, what your new payoff date would be and how much money you would save
in interest if you made a specified extra payment each month. It also provides
tips on additional ways to pay off your financial obligation earlier. And
there’s a lot of helpful educational content on reducing debt.
WalletHub provides good educational resources in addition to credit and credit score information, like these calculators.
The offers, of course, follow naturally from
there. If you tell WalletHub you want to pay off a credit card that has a 16 percent interest rate, you’re going to see offers for credit cards with a lower rate
and probably also balance transfer deals.
Report and Score
you log into your WalletHub account, you see a dial with a credit score. That
score comes from TransUnion and is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model. It is
not the same as a FICO score, which is the one most lenders pull when they decide whether to take you on as a credit risk. One’s VantageScore
3.0 is often very similar to one’s FICO score, but it isn’t guaranteed to be
the same. It’s usually best to think of your VantageScore as being a ballpark
guess of what your FICO score will be.
credit score can change all the time based on different factors about your
credit history and use. For example, charging purchases to credit cards, even
if you later pay it back in full and on time, can cause small day-to-day fluctuations
in your credit score. Larger changes usually take months or years because they
are based on long-term factors, such as your consistency in paying back lenders
and the length of your credit history.
updates your credit score daily; it’s the only free site that does so. Credit
Karma updates weekly, as does Mint. It may seem like you’re getting the best
deal with WalletHub, but do you need to know your credit score every day?
Probably not, but that’s up to you to decide.
addition to showing your credit score from TransUnion, WalletHub also pulls
your full credit report, the same way Credit Karma does. And Credit Karma pulls
not just one credit report, but two (from TransUnion and Equifax). Looking at
your credit report doesn’t affect your credit score because it’s considered a
soft inquiry. A hard inquiry, which occurs when you apply for a new account or
financial service, does affect your score.
WalletHub offers multiple ways to work with your credit, including alerts, analysis, a simulator, and suggestions for improvement.
U.S. law, adults are entitled to receive one credit report from each reporting
agency for free each year. These three credit reports originate from TransUnion,
Equifax, and Experian, although you have to get them via
AnnualCreditReport.com. USAGov (usa.gov/credit-reports) is another good resource
for learning about credit and credit scores. This is all to say that you don’t
need any of these credit apps, like WalletHub or Credit Karma, to get your
credit reports for free. But they are useful in that they let you watch for
changes that show up on your credit report all year long. They also providing
monitoring services, alerting you to activity (suspicious or otherwise) and
tools for analyzing and improving your credit.
benefit of WalletHub is its Credit Analysis, which is meant to help you
understand why your credit score is what it is. The Credit Analysis is a list
of different factors that affect your credit—such as payment history, account
age, and hard credit inquiries—plus an explanation of each of these and a letter
grade in each. Credit Karma similarly explains different factors that affect
your credit score, although instead of giving a letter grade, it explains
whether each factor has a high, medium, or low impact on your score.
helps you understand credit scores further through its Credit Simulator. This
tool answers several questions about the consequences of taking specific
actions. For example, what would happen to your credit score if you opened or
closed accounts, missed a payment, or your credit limit changed? Credit Karma
has a similar tool that deals with more scenarios than WalletHub does.
You can ask WalletHub to determine what the outcomes would be if any of several events occurred.
you have questions about your financial situation, you can ask them on
WalletHub’s forum. Anyone can ask questions, and they can either be generic or
very specific to your situation. Finance experts in the online community
provide answers, and the community votes up answers that they think are best.
has added iOS and Android apps since it was last reviewed here, and they’re similar
if not identical. They’re also quite good. In fact, I prefer using them to the
desktop version because of their superior user experience They don’t appear to
contain absolutely everything from the browser-based version, but they do include all of the most critical tools and data.
apps open to your Dashboard, with your credit score displayed at the top. A
toolbar along the bottom opens four additional sections. One is devoted to personalized
offers for credit cards, personal loans, and car insurance. Another contains
links to credit tools: alerts, analysis, simulator, and suggestions for
improving your score. The fourth explores all your debt. And the final one
offers links to housekeeping tasks. That’s a lot of useful information.
Would consolidating debt improve your credit score? WalletHub provides personalized options for you.
and Free Credit Report and Score
WalletHub is a very good tool for getting your credit report and score from TransUnion for free, updated daily. It offers a wealth of educational information about personal credit, and the targeting advertising is useful and relevant. WalletHub is fairly comparable to Credit Karma. Credit Karma only pulls credit scores weekly, but its updates come from two credit bureaus as opposed to WalletHub’s one. Credit Karma also provides a superior user experience.
actually managing your personal finances, we still recommend Mint or Quicken
Deluxe, our Editors’ Choices this year, because they provide clear insight into
the nitty gritty of what’s happening in all your accounts all the time. Plus, they
have tools for budgeting, setting financial goals, and more. WalletHub
certainly has its place; it provides more tools for analyzing and improving
your credit score than Mint or Quicken Deluxe do. There’s no reason you can’t use WalletHub in
addition to one of them. Still, you’ll find yourself turning to Mint or Quicken
Deluxe much more often, whereas WalletHub’s practical uses come up less
While you are thinking about your personal finances, take a look at our roundup of the best tax software. Although the deadline for filing your state returns has likely passed, the federal filing deadline has been extended to July 15.
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