Credit Karma Reviews | Glassdoor

Credit Karma Reviews

Updated April 22, 2018
138 reviews

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3.4
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Credit Karma CEO and Founder Kenneth Lin
Kenneth Lin
108 Ratings

138 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Generally a very good work-life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • Coffee bar, events squad, and workplace services in general all do a fantastic job (in 15 reviews)

Cons
  • s happening is not growing pains (in 11 reviews)

  • There are some growing pains as the company is growing incredibly quickly but most groups are working hard to address these issues as they come up (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Excellent company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time

    Pros

    - Smart, funny, and helpful people all around. Almost everyone here is a pleasure to work with. There is a special culture at Credit Karma: the abudance of clubs, organizations, and events encourage people to form friendships that span beyond the workplace.

     - A mission you can be proud about. It's rare that a company has an honest and proven dedication to helping its users like Credit Karma does. Countless times while wearing my CK swag, I've had random people on the street stop me and tell me how much they appreciate the help Credit Karma has provided them. This provides a ton of motivation to wake up on Monday morning or put in that extra work to get your features launched.

     - Top talent. Many of the engineers here could work for almost any tech company, and most of them will go out of their way to teach you new things.

     - Executive committee are mostly humble, approachable and willing to listen. There are office hours and a general "open door policy" that provide opportunities to provide your feedback to the top dogs.

     - Generally a very good work-life balance. There are times when you're expected to put in the extra hours required for the good of the business (yearly rush to launch big new stuff in January), but for the most part schedules and deadlines are empathetic toward individual contributors.

     - Willingness to change and adapt new technologies. Most of eng leadership regonize the abudance of tech debt, and encourage us to tackle issues creatively and with new (infrastructure approved) technologies like Docker, Scala, Typescript, and React.

     - Coffee bar, events squad, and workplace services in general all do a fantastic job.

     - Those snacks though

    Cons

    - Unclear and inconsistent promotion requirements. The guidelines for Senior level and above promotions continue to change throughout the years. There also seems to be inconsistency in these requirements across teams and departments.

     - Work From Home policy is generally non-existant. Some teams allow people to WFH several days a week, while others strictly forbid it or only allow for the occasional WFH day with advanced notice.

    Advice to Management

    - Get back to the meritocracy of years past -- I think everyone used to feel that if they worked hard and continuously accomplished their goals, then recognition would come on its own (in the form of promotions/bonuses/salary adjustment). Now it feels like the most important factor for these recognitions is how much of a fuss you make about it in your 1:1 with managers.

      - Have some sort of consistent Work From Home policy.


  2. Helpful (11)

    "Mixed feelings"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good perks. Awesome company events. The business model is still good. Lots of big data use cases in important domains. Good enough infrastructure supports. Can potentially be a great place for a data engineer to learn and to grow.

    Cons

    I only focus on data engineering and advanced analytics, as I do feel I have the technical authority to comment.
    There are lots of tech debts. Quite a few managers at some very important positions are clueless about the future, as they have been struggling to just prevent things from falling apart, and to maintain the status quo. They are not good enough at telling the quality of data engineering work to reward the right people accordingly. This is the basic requirement for a healthy environment to make things improve over time, but it takes a lot to have it right.

    Engineers initiated data projects with good visions are almost nonexistent, because there are not that many experienced and good data engineers who have stayed long enough to get to the bottom of the debt infested systems. Even if they do, they are blocked from knowing the broader context due to the heavy management involvement aiming to address the complicated coordination process. This leads to data systems that are not as simple/elegant as it can be, which reinforces more complicated management process and the practice of micromanaging. And this is a vicious cycle. Suboptimal data systems may work ok when the company was at smaller scale by resorting to more manual processes, but the same level of quality can easily push things beyond return at the current scale. This is yet a another less recognized scaling problem specifically for data engineering.
    There have been major confusions in important data projects not resolved for a long time, and the managers just started working on something else. Over time, data engineers are increasingly shielded from the real problems but only exposed to the managers' limited and confused perceptions. As a consequence, some important but hard problems are left unsolved forever. And it will keep dragging down the quality of the entire system. This can be a major roadblock for new business partnership, and revenue expansion.

    Advice to Management

    At this point and after some hard lessons, there seems to be good enough alignments about what was not good enough, and what should be the goal. However, the much harder problem of how to get there is far from being clear.
    At its current scale, it is not possible to incrementally and gradually improve the overall data system's quality. Major improvements are needed for multiple subsystems, and some important subsystems have been missing entirely. The existing heavily centralized management model has not been working efficiently enough to scale things with enough quality, and it will not suddenly work with all the carried over debts, and without some structural modifications. This can be a serious risk for a data driven company.
    C level should have started feeling the urge, but seems not decisive enough yet to make stronger moves other than keep giving new data leadership the benefit of doubt.
    The effectiveness of the data system is many years behind companies with similar profiles, which is a lot in the tech world, and the gap is widening. Time is against us. This is urgent. The trial and error cost of the high level leadership in an all-in data engineering organization is too expensive.
    Please try some alternative strategies in parallel, such as allocating some resource under strong technical leaders with light weighted management structure. Put data engineers and product teams work together directly in smaller and autonomous groups, and focus on making high quality end-to-end vertical solutions first.
    Spread the data engineering risk across multiple organizations at higher level. The centralized structure works only when the center is proved to be solid, not when itself has been in doubt.

  3. Helpful (14)

    "Dishonest and short sighted business"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Credit Karma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice office
    Large user base/scale
    Some cool people

    Cons

    It's a lead generation site for credit cards and loans, mostly in the sub prime space.

    They surface advertisements for financial products framed as advice or offers. They talk all about how it's pro consumer but they lack the sophistication to make this true. They spam users with ads for products that aren't always to their benefit.

    Short term revenue dictates most decisions. Long term decisions are based on data hoarding. The business model needs to change or consumers will catch on. Not sustainable.

    Some departments are toxic, some seem good. Entire org is very political. It's difficult to move up unless you are willing to play politics. They preach values but treat employees as disposable goods.

    Take the job if you're desperate, then move on. That's what most seem to do, turnover is rampant.


  4. Helpful (9)

    "Positive mission, good place to work. I’m happy!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Positive mission (making financial progress possible for everyone) is genuinely supported by the C-level executive team. I really do feel like I'm working at a company that helps people.

    Ken Lin is an excellent CEO with the vision to keep CK growing.

    The work is challenging and interesting, I have experienced a lot of professional growth during my time at CK.

    Many companies of CK's size require a long commute down the Peninsula or to the South Bay, but HQ is right downtown next to multiple transit options. You can even bike to work (there's a bike room and showers).

    Beautiful office with free (Eat Club) lunch if you have a meeting during the lunch hour. Perks like a coffee bar, massages, mani-pedis, yoga classes, and social events.

    Cons

    Unevenness in promotions. Type-A self-promoters who play politics rise quickly, while those who focus on quietly turning out good work and helping people across the company make progress on less high-status initiatives will find themselves rising slowly, if at all.

    Certain execs are permitted to tyrannize not only people within their own working group, but across the company. They bark orders, demand constant attention, and insist that employees treat their pet projects as the #1 priority, encouraging them to de-prioritize projects for other execs. Luckily, they’re in the minority, and as long as you don’t work in their group you should be fine.

    Meeting-heavy culture sucks up too much time. My presence is frequently demanded at hour-long, weekly recurring meetings, for months, called solely to move someone’s pet project along. 30 to 60 minute meetings are scheduled for conversations that could have been resolved over email. Face time is good but there are only so many hours in the day.

    Typical Silicon Valley “open office“ seating cuts productivity with noise and distraction, and good luck finding a place to make a phone call or have a quick discussion you don’t want overheard by 10 people.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring people from Google. They are some of the worst contributors to the change in company culture over the past couple of years.

    Adopt a zero-tolerance approach for managers who repeatedly fail to treat others with respect. Executive coaching can help, but doesn’t always solve the problem.

    Recognize that some of the founders and early employees are not good managers or executives. They need to be moved to more "advisory" roles while others actually manage their teams and run the company.

    Create more quiet space for people to get work done without being interrupted or surrounded by chatter.

    To CEO Ken: Remember that our growing pains are not unusual for companies moving through this stage and try not to take it personally or as evidence you’re doing something wrong — you’re doing a great job.


  5. Helpful (25)

    "Great perks, nice people, poor management especially on MarComm."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    What’s not to enjoy. Spa, coffee bar, bar, free food and drink, arcade games, PDP, companies events, and health benefits. There are plenty of perks. It’s easy to move up and shine if you rub the right people the right way and the pay is solid. People at team level genuinely seem to like each other.

    Cons

    This is not a jaded or one of “those” employees. It just is what it is. There is a total lack of communications on the Marketing and Communications team. Even when you try to communicate you are met with run around and disingenuous answers.

    The CMO lacks true experience. This is just a fact. New leaders have come in and caused so much confusion that team morale has collapsed and people are quitting left and right. At some point the CEO is going to have to ask, is this genuine turn over or is something going on with the new leaders he brought in. The entire PR team quit. The whole social team has been replaced. Creative is losing people left and right. People are being hired based on friendships and connections, not actual talent or experience. So many secrets, dishonesty, and shadiness. (Not to mention all the other people that have left recently. It’s actually sad at some serious loss of talent in other parts of the company for similar reasons.)

    What’s happening is not growing pains. It’s power struggles, mismanagement, lack of communication, everyone needing their voice to have a seat at the table, and disregard for people not in the inner circle. Many are afraid to even say anything in fear of retribution or being coached out.

    From a team level the people are great but there are real problems happening and if you’re looking to come somewhere amazing CK may be that place, but you’re certainly not trading away management issues, and miscommunication.

    Advice to Management

    Advice to the CEO....deal with your management. You have real issues happening. Credit Karma can get back on track but morale is down and it’s because of upper management.

    Advice to upper management, don’t intimidate your employees and expect honest feedback. People are fearful if you’ll cut them next. The MarComm team has serious concerns. I’m not sure how you’ll get people to ever open when they are too afraid of retribution but you’ve gotta try.


  6. Helpful (18)

    "Toxic is putting it mildly for Marketing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time

    Pros

    Great perks. Massage, coffee bar. Closed during end of year holidays. Engineering focused culutre

    Cons

    Toxic management hires in marketing who were told by CEO she could do whatever she wants has driven off about 15 people in a few short months to be replaced with inner circle from previous employers, even hiring people who failed miserably during interview process. People live in fear daily for their jobs to be lost even if they perform. Cliques, gossip, lies and disgusting behavior are the norm. Someone said to me today, ‘I guessed the me too movement passed by this department’ because of the openly misogynistic comments endured regularly by one of the inner circle new hires hitting in young girls openly in office.

    Advice to Management

    Have some respect for what your teams have built and don’t let it be destroyed unchecked by toxic leaders. Especially when there are no business results to make it worth the trade offs.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Strong culture and investment in employees, aggressive roadmap"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Awesome culture around experimentation. We A/B test nearly everything in order to make data-informed decisions. We are also getting bolder and more mature in how we experiment, and are willing to test crazy things with a small exposure in order to find new mountains and opportunities to tackle.

    - People have an open mind. As someone who loves process improvement and feels there's always a better way to do something, I appreciate that my colleagues and leaders are open to trying new things. I don't have to fight an uphill, bureaucratic battle to have an impact. Usually the consensus is, "let's try it and see if it works." +1 for testing and experimentation culture.

    - CK invests in it's employees. From surface-level perks (free coffee bar with the best coffee in the area, full bars, spa, video games, ping pong table (that people actually use on a daily basis)), to impressive events ("field day" is epic, holiday events, company celebrations: the events team goes all out), to employee growth and learning (for example, Credit Karma University, where internal employees and external guests teach classes that are free to employees; also each employee gets a substantial budget to pursue learning outside of CK for conferences, classes, certifications, etc. For example, I'm using my budget to pursue a PMP certification). CK makes it clear that they believe in their employees' long term success and are willing to go above and beyond "superficial" perks.

    - Related to the above, work/life balance is great. With the exception of a few teams, I think the vast majority of folks are able to have a flexible schedule to allow for doctors appointments, picking up kids from school, staying home to get a delivery, etc. As long as you aregetting your work done, everyone is very supportive and flexible.

    - Executive leadership has not compromised on company mission. Our mission is to make financial progress possible for everyone, which is why all of our services are free. At multiple company town halls, people have asked "will we ever charge for our services?" and the answer is always a passionate "no". CK leadership does an excellent job of balancing the need for revenue and to drive business with their morals and mission. It's really motivating and makes me feel good about what we're doing. When people ask me my favorite thing about CK, this is number 1. I've never seen another company that is this committed to doing what's right.

    Cons

    Credit Karma is still learning how to operate at scale. There are a lot of dependencies across teams which creates overhead. The roadmap is aggressive so there are extensive conversations around priorities and alignment, and the coordination can sometimes slow us down.

    CK is also transforming in many ways at once - we are upgrading technology while trying to build features on top of it, creating new teams, and working to ship a number of large features that are dependent on one another. Sometimes it feels like we are building the plane while we're trying to fly it which can be inefficient and stressful.

    At the end of the day, in my mind, these problems (scale, dependencies, priorities, alignment) are solvable, and we are getting better, we just haven't solved them yet. For me personally, these are the kinds of problems I like to solve so it's difficult and at times frustrating, but engaging.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest in ensuring every employee knows their career path here. Continue to develop features that get us closer to our mission. Consider if there are ways to reduce dependencies or sequence work in a way that gives teams more autonomy. Be picky when hiring.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Great balance of scale and startup"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I joined Credit Karma a little over a year ago and thought it was time to write a review. It's genuinely the best company I've worked for and is a great balance of a company with scale and yet still has some of the startup vibe.

    People are generally smart and collaborative. The company can be a little too "nice" which slows things down sometimes but seem to be trying to correct that. There are rumors of politics but I've not seen any evidence of that.

    Benefits are good, free lunches, amazing snacks, great perks like an onsite spa etc.

    Comp is pretty competitive for SF.

    Leadership is pretty good. It's a company that's going through growing pains but has a new Chief People Officer and seems to be pulling it together on that front. The CEO is great and I've been pretty impressed by leadership in Product, BD and Engineering. In particular some of the new(er) leadership in data science and marketing seem to be making a difference.

    Cons

    There's definitely an issue with people being too nice and critical feedback is harder to give and receive vs other places I've worked.

    There's not been a huge amount of clarity on strategy and goals for the company but they do seem to be working hard to fix that.

    Lots of meetings. Almost everyone is in the same office and so they haven't really figured out the whole remote working thing.


  9. "Great people! Lots of places to make impact"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Credit Karma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Really great culture with friendly people. Considering the scale and speed of growth everyone is friendly and willing to help. I've been at companies where someone feels you're a threat making suggestions or offering to contribute to something they own. This is the opposite at CK.

    There is lot's of opportunity to make a big impact. With the speed of growth and decisions made in speed (lack to diligence or experience) there are many areas someone can jump in and help move the needle.

    Cons

    Things have moved quickly and there needs to be time put aside to stabilize and document.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Gut Punch"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Credit Karma full-time

    Pros

    Base salaries are crazy high.
    Coffee bar.
    If you're in the right org, you can live out Office Space and do about 15 minutes of real work each day.

    Cons

    Finance department has more turn overs than Russell Westbrook.


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