Unclaimed Money, Tax Returns, What’s Next for Credit Karma?

EXCLUSIVE — Could personal finance management be the next chapter in free credit-score provider, Credit Karma growing business? Could it leverage its consumer data to branch out into the popular PFM space?


“We are not engaged in it right now,” Greg Lull, Chief Marketing Officer at Credit Karma, told Bank Innovation. “But I wouldn’t take it off the table,” he said, referring to PFM or “anything in the financial space that would be in the natural progression of what we do.”

The idea does in fact, fall into the company’s natural progression. Credit Karma, which has built itself a solid reputation for providing free credit score to individuals (a majority of which are millennials), already provides users with budgeting tools to help improve their credit scores. It also recommends credit cards and other financial products as well as generates loan leads for its customers based on their credit score.

Since its inception in 2007, the company has grown exponentially with about 75 million users till date. Additionally, it has branched out into channels in the financial space such as tax returns (Credit Karma Tax) and more recently unclaimed money, as it continues to amass expansive data on its customer.

“Over the past year, the goal has been to add more value to our users,” Lull said. “Our Unclaimed Money Product is a great example.”

The Unclaimed Money feature was introduced in April, and helps customers collect money owed to them by a business, but is turned over to a state government. (Typically when a business owes a client money and is unable to send it to the respective person, it turns over those funds to the state.

“We have your data. We know your name and address,” Lull said. “So we check if your name is on any state list, and if so, we go after those claims.”

Credit Karma doesn’t file an automated claim for the customer…yet. But instead advises the user on how to procure those funds.

Its Credit Karma Tax business is also doing very well, Lull said. In fact, back in June, Bank Innovation reported that Credit Karma’s 2016 revenues had exceeded $500 million, partially – thanks to its new and free products like its tax return business.

But regardless of the services Credit Karma adds, charging its customers is not an idea it will entertain.

“We have been free, and will always remain free,” Lull insisted.

The company makes money on commission when a customer buys one of the products and services it recommends.

When it comes to partnerships, Credit Karma applies its philosophy of being a trustworthy source for its customer to that department as well.

“We’re pretty strict with the people we partner with. We’ve turned people down before that don’t align with our values. We want to be an impartial platform and we want our users to trust us.”

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