Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring following Equifax hack

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Credit Karma Inc is launching a new free service that will alert customers if their identity data has been compromised in hacks, the San Francisco-based fintech company said on Friday in the wake of massive breach at credit monitoring agency Equifax IncEFX.N.

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

The new ID monitoring service is being tested and will be available in October, the company said on Friday.

Similar to services offered by Symantec-owned SYMC.O LifeLock Inc, CreditKarma will keep track of data breaches and tell customers if they are one of the victims. Customers can then check to use the company’s credit monitoring services and flag suspicious activities.

The company said it was accelerating the launch of the new service in response to the large data breach at Equifax, where thieves may have stolen personal information of 143 million Americans.

CreditKarma saw a 50 percent spike in sign-ups to its platform in the weekend after the hack, it said.

While the ID monitoring will be free, the company hopes it will drive more people back to its services.

“When they come back not only can we help them make a decision on what to do,” Nikhyl Singhal chief product officer at CreditKarma, said in an interview. “It also gives us an ability to ensure they can check on other parts of their financial life.”

Founded in 2007, CreditKarma is best known for providing free credit scores and helping users find credit products such as personal loans and credit cards. It gets paid from the product providers for helping generate leads.

The company, with more than 75 million users, is among the most well-funded fintech companies globally. It has been expanding beyond its flagship free credit score tool, to offer other services such as free tax filing.

“All of this is a way to bring people back to the product,” Singhal said.

This week the company announced it will be adding Equifax to its free credit monitoring service, which notifies members of significant changes to their credit report. It previously offered the service for competitor TransUnion TRU.N.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by David Gregorio