Credit Sesame to Demystify Personal Credit, Offer Alternatives

Thumbnail image for CS_Logo_Circle.pngFinovateFall 2010 alum Credit Sesame has shown promising growth in the nine weeks since launching in public beta. The startup helps consumers make smarter decisions about their loans and debt. The company is already monitoring $375 million in loans and has generated $18 million in lifetime savings for users. And during the last two months, the company has averaged 60,000 monthly unique website visitors.  

(Image credit:
Credit Sesame monitors credit scores and debts, free of charge, with targeted advertising providing the revenue. Users must register with their Social Security Number, and once registered, input the interest rates of their debts. Otherwise, all of the data is provided from the credit report. 
I recently gave Credit Sesame a try, and was impressed at how exhaustive the information was. Unlike other user-reported tools for determining debt strategy, the service provides a full report of an individual’s credit utilization 
All open debt accounts are visible, as well as credit score and credit use percentages.  All charts are clear and easy to read.  If needed, relevant product recommendations are made based on the data. And the startup doesn’t try to steer you to something you don’t need. For example, Credit Sesame marked my mortgage as “competitive” and gave me a green light without any advertising.  The only advertising displayed was geared toward helping me save money on  my consumer debt, a credit card and a Lending Club loan.  In addition, Credit Sesame weeds out offers that you don’t qualify for, making the research process much simpler. 
When I first toured the site a few weeks ago, recommendations offered by Credit Sesame indicated that I should include refinance my remaining consumer debt into a second mortgage to obtain a lower monthly payment.  This is not practical to me, since I’ll have the balance of the consumer debt paid off this spring,but  if I was shopping for the lowest payment, this would be a reasonable solution.  
Another visit to the site this week confirmed that the data is refreshed regularly, with options changed based on the latest numbers.  In my case, after a few payments on my credit card, Credit Sesame stopped recommending a second mortgage as an alternative. 
Users will see a new option, now that Credit Sesame is partnering with Lending Club, offering peer-to-peer loans within the debt optimization recommendations see screenshot below).



Credit Sesame believes the Lending Club partnership is a win-win for consumers, who can be introduced to this emerging financial product when they’re looking for an alternative to high-interest credit cards. The Lending Club term loans, both the three and five year options are offered, help meet the needs of those consumers looking to eliminate debt altogether. [See our earlier coverage on the five-year notes from Lending Club.]
Lending Club benefits from the direct link to consumers who are looking to refinance debt. Chief Marketing Officer Scott Sanborn reported to Credit Sesame that over 60% of the Lending Club’s borrowers are borrowing to refinance higher-interest debts.
Credit scores on the site are provided by Experian.