An integration between two of Intuit’s top acquisitions, consumer financial technology platform Credit Karma and TurboTax tax management software, will help put the former’s new U.S. checking account – Credit Karma Money Spend – in the hands of more consumers.
The integration will provide a seamless process for getting refunds to eligible taxpayers when they file their taxes with TurboTax – and then turn those taxpayers into Credit Karma checking accountholders. Filers on TurboTax will have the ability to open a Credit Karma Money Spend account and have their refund sent directly to that new checking account. Users then can access the full Credit Karma Money experience – for example, setting up direct deposit and adding debit cards to their digital wallets – from within TurboTax. The checking account’s Instant Karma feature also encourages users to make payments with their Credit Karma Money Spend accounts by offering monetary rewards for actions like on-time credit card bill payments and automating direct deposits.
“We believe consumers should have a checking account that helps them make financial progress, which is why we created Credit Karma Money Spend,” Credit Karma founder and CEO Kenneth Lin explained. “We’re starting 2021 off by leveraging our relationship with Intuit to bring Credit Karma Money to millions of tax filers this tax season.” Lin referred to tax refunds as “the biggest paychecks” many Americans receive, and added that getting taxpayers the refunds they are owed and helping them put that money to work “(maximizing) their day-to-day spending and billpay” is a critical role the new integration will play.
Acquired by Intuit in a deal just completed in December, Credit Karma is among Finovate’s earliest alums, demonstrating its consumer credit score monitoring platform back in 2008. Now with more than 110 million members in the United States, Canada, and the U.K., Credit Karma offers a wide range of financial wellness solutions for individuals including identity monitoring, credit cards and loan shopping, insurance, high-yield savings accounts and, most recently, its new checking accounts backed by bank partner MVB Bank.
The integration news comes in the wake of a flurry of recent criticism that Credit Karma’s credit scores varied from what users were expecting when engaging with credit card companies or prospective lenders. The differences have since been explained – Credit Karma uses a credit score model, VantageScore 3.0, that not only examines factors other than those traditionally considered for FICO scores, but also can weigh like factors differently. But the issue may reflect a growing trend of popular annoyance with some of the ways fintechs are able to provide the services they do. This “Robinhood Syndrome” is a challenge that is only likely to grow as more customers – with varied expectations and financial sophistication – continue to migrate to fintech platforms.