Credit Sesame is a free consumer credit monitoring service, whereas Experian is primarily a credit reporting agency that also provides credit monitoring to consumers for a fee. Experian reports the FICO score that lenders usually use, however, Credit Sesame uses a different scoring system. Additionally, the analysis tools provided by Credit Sesame are limited, and the advice provided is qualitative and too general, according to the Credit Card Forum.
The Credit Sesame service remains free after sign-up, as of 2015, and the company does not even ask the subscriber for any payment information, hence there is no risk of any hidden charges. Credit Sesame makes money by directing advertisements to consumers from sponsors, states Doctor of Credit. The Experian credit monitoring service, however, costs $19.95 a month, as noted on the Experian website.
When getting a loan, lenders typically consider a credit score, known as the FICO score, that the Fair Isaac Company developed. Experian, and other major credit reporting agencies, report this score to lenders and consumers. Credit Sesame, however, uses a different score which differs significantly, reports Doctor of Credit.
In addition to other credit monitoring activities, Credit Sesame also monitors the consumer's Experian credit report and reports any major changes observed. This can be useful in catching identity theft, but in some cases, the reporting by Credit Sesame is minimal, observes Doctor of Credit. Consumers looking to view their actual credit reports for free can use AnnualFreeCreditReport.com, which is the official site set up in response to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This site allows consumers to view a free copy of their credit report every year, from each of the three major reporting agencies.