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Check Your Credit Score For Free – Here Are Your Options

Checking your credit score regularly is important and essential for every consumer. Here are the best ways you can do it for free – and there are many of them!
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Table Of Content

If you want to be healthy you make sure you keep an eye on your overall health, right? Well, if you want your credit to be healthy you need to keep an eye on your credit score. What’s really great is all three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, are making it easier than ever.

According to Experian data, the average credit score for United States residents was 714 across all age groups. In the table below you can see a breakdown per age:

 

Why Is Good Credit So Important?

If you have a good history and a high score you’re going to get great benefits. You’re going to have low-interest loans and much more. In fact, you’re going to have improvements towards everything you want to do in finance.

  • Reduced Interest – When you borrow money from anywhere you’re going to pay the most in the form of interest. When it comes to how much your interest costs, it’s usually about your credit score. So if you can raise your credit score you lower your interest.
  • Reduced Insurance – Did you know that your credit score can affect your insurance rates? If you have a higher credit score it actually can translate to lower insurance rates of all types.
  • Better Credit Cards – The better your credit the more flexibility you will have when it comes to getting new cards and that’s important. You get a better chance of cards you actually want, like rewards cards and cash back.
  • Better Benefits – Because you have a good or great credit score you get the chance to really double down on benefits. You can negotiate for better rates, higher limits and a whole lot more. Plus you have a better chance of getting an apartment and a job.
Credit score calculation
5 factors included in your credit score: payment history, level of debt, length of credit history, credit mix and recent inquiries (Photo by ReallyKunal/Shutterstock)

Where To Find Your Credit Score for Free?

There are many ways to find your credit score for free – here are the best options:

Each year, (every 12 months) you can get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus. All you have to do is go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

You can choose whether you want all the reports at one time or if you want to space them out to get one every few months. If you order from one company on a specific day though you won’t be able to order a new one from that company until a full year has passed.

If you want to request your credit report you can choose to do it online or by phone or even by mail. Note that you can choose to have them delivered throughout the year if that’s the way you prefer.

When you do log on to AnnualCreditReport.com you’ll need to verify your identity. That means you’ll need to answer a few personal questions. You’ll also be asked about your financial history to make sure you’re the person you claim to be.

Once you get a copy of your report and you take a look you want to report any errors. Start by letting the original creditor know. They’re the ones who can make the credit bureaus make changes.

When you make a request for your report you can get it instantly online or wait for mail. A mailed copy could take up to 15 days to be shipped. You should know you’re not going to get your credit score on this report though. Your credit score costs an additional $8.

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Any credit card company will keep an accurate score for you, so why wouldn’t they share it?

Credit issuers share their internal information, in the form of your credit score, with you. Completely free, they’re purchased by the institution at a commercial rate and for commercial use.

Free Score Open For All Consumers

  • Discover – This service is actually going to give you a totally free FICO score. You don’t even need to be a company customer (though they will try to make you one). For anyone who wants only their credit score and not all those extra features this is the way to go. They don’t provide credit monitoring or theft protection or anything else, but they do have the official score.
  • Citi – All consumers are now will get their FICO Bankcard Score 8 . To be able to give you your FICO Score, Citi collaborates with Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, and FICO. Every month, Citi's FICO Score is updated.
  • Capital One – You don’t need to be a customer at all, though you’re going to have an easier time signing up if you are. Once you do sign up for the CreditWise service, you get a TransUnion VantageScore 3.0. Not only that but you get credit monitoring and emails if there’s ever any kind of suspicious activity. Even better, it lets you update your score every single week.
  • Chase – If you use their system, Credit Journey, you can get a TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 every week. All you have to do is log in. Plus, you can use the simulator to find out what would happen if you do different things with your credit.
  • American Express – Whether you already use American Express or not, you can sign up for the Amex MyCredit Guide. A credit score simulator is included in MyCredit Guide. This cutting-edge program simulates what can happen to your credit score if you do certain things. These cards include Platinum, Premier Rewards Gold and Starwood Preferred Guest cards
Company
Score Type
Credit Bureau
Open For All Consumers?
American Express MyCredit Guide
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
Chase Credit Journey
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
Capital One Credit Wise
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
Citi
FICO
Equifax
Yes
Discover
FICO
Experian
Yes

Free Score Only For Bank Customers

  • Bank of America – This one gives FICO Score 8 results, based on TransUnion, to just about every cardholder.
  • Wells Fargo – If you have any kind of credit with this company you get the FICO Score 9, though Score 8 is still the more common.
  • Barclaycard – Just about any cardholder gets access to FICO Score 8, which is based on TransUnion.
  • USAA – Finally, all USAA members can take a look at their Experian VantageScore.
  • U.S. Bank: . To use  free score from U.S. Bank, you must have a U.S. Bank credit card and sign up for online banking. Your free credit score is updated monthly starting from the date you sign up for the service for use with U.S. Bank mobile and online banking. 
Company
Score Type
Credit Bureau
Open For All Consumers?
Bank of America
FICO
TransUnion
No
Wells Fargo
FICO
Experian
No
Barclays
FICO
TransUnion
No
USAA
VantageScore
Experian
No
U.S. Bank
VantageScore
Transunion
No
  • Credit Karma – The most popular of the free credit sites is actually Credit Karma. This one gives you a VantageScore 3.0 and it even gives you income tax preparation for free and credit monitoring. All of these things are great benefits, especially when you pay nothing. That’s why they have over 60 million people using the site over the last 11 years. What you’re going to get is an Equifax and TransUnion credit score that’s updated daily. That lets you monitor everything that’s happening on your credit report.
  • Credit Sesame – Here you’ll have lots of free options for your credit information. You can even get financial information about more than just your credit report. What you’re getting here is a TransUnion VantageScore 3.0.
  • Quizzle – If you’ve never heard of this one it gives you a new score every three months. It’s based on your TransUnion VantageScore as well. Part of Bankrate, you’re going to have even more bonuses, like free credit monitoring and analysis.
  • Credit.com – This system gives you an Experian VantageScore, which is one of the less common ones you’ll get from the free sites. Not only that but you can get expert advice and credit management from here.
  • Mint – You may already be using this one to budget but it also provides you with a free credit score. What’s really great is you can link all of your accounts right to this system and it’s free. You can budget your income and monitor your credit all at the same time as well. What’s great is you get an update every month and it happens automatically. You can even see what’s affecting your score and check what it takes to improve it the next time.
  • WalletHub: The only website that offers free daily updates to your entire credit report information as well as a rundown of significant changes to your credit information is WalletHub. Based only on your credit data, WalletHub also offers tailored credit advise. You will get access to both your free credit score as well as your free credit report.
  • Nerdwallet – If you sign up for NerdWallet you’ll get free access to your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0. You can update every single week and you get free monitoring. You can even sign up for alerts and goals and check out the simulator to see what things can do to your score.
Company
Score Type
Credit Bureau
Open For All Consumers?
Credit Karma
VantageScore
TransUnion and Equifax
Yes
Quizzle / Bankrate
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
Credit.com
VantageScore
Experian
Yes
Mint
FICO
TransUnion
Yes
Nerdwallet
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
Credit Sesame
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes
WalletHub
VantageScore
TransUnion
Yes

Banks are now starting to jump on the bandwagon. They’re starting to look at credit score monitoring and offering it to customers. They’re also doing this free of charge.

  • First National Bank is one of the options. They let you see your FICO score 24/7 through their online portal and they let you know what factors are most important on your report.
  • Synchrony Mastercard cardholders can access their free credit score by logging in to their accounts. When you sign up for Synchrony's free credit score program with VantageScore, you can learn your score as well as strategies for raising it.
  • While it's not a bank, Upgrade also offers a free credit score via Upgrade’s Credit Health tools. With a data-driven application that uses information from your credit report, you can access your VantageScore® 3.0 at any time, understand the main elements that affect it, and use a simulator to see how certain situations and activities might affect it.

Like we mentioned, with CreditWise from Capital One or Credit Journey from Chase, you get free access to check out your score. 

For those who aren’t quite sure if they can get this type of service form their bank, just contact them. Check the online account and talk to someone. You’ll be able to find out if this plan is currently available or if it’s going to be available soon.

What Is The Difference Between FICO and VantageScore?

FICO and VantageScore are two different credit scoring models. The main differences between them include:

  • Creator: FICO is developed by Fair Isaac Corporation, while VantageScore is developed by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).

  • Formula: FICO uses a proprietary formula to calculate a person's credit score, while VantageScore uses a more simplified model that considers factors like payment history and utilization.

  • Score range: FICO scores range from 300 to 850, while VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850 as well, but in some cases from 501 to 990.

  • Adoption: FICO is more widely used in the lending industry, while VantageScore is used by a smaller group of lenders.

  • Credit factors: Both models consider similar credit factors like payment history, credit utilization, and length of credit history, but the weight given to each factor may differ.

FICO and VantageScore: Which One Should I Use?

It depends on what you want to use the credit score for. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Lending purposes: If you're applying for a loan or a credit card, it's more likely that the lender will use your FICO score as a factor in their decision-making process. FICO is the most widely used credit scoring model in the lending industry.

  • Personal education: Both FICO and VantageScore can provide valuable information about your credit history and help you understand your credit standing. You can monitor both scores to get a better understanding of your credit and to see if there are any discrepancies.

  • Free credit score: VantageScore is often used to provide consumers with free credit scores. So, if you're looking to get a free credit score, it's more likely that you'll receive your VantageScore.

In conclusion, it's a good idea to be aware of both your FICO and VantageScore, but for lending purposes, it's best to focus on improving your FICO score.

Credit Report vs Credit Score: How They Compare?

Your credit report is a compilation of your credit history. It’s based on your credit, and it’s used by a lot of different people. It can be used by potential employers, credit lenders, and even landlords.

  • Credit Report: A credit report is a comprehensive record of your credit history that is maintained by credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. It contains information about your credit accounts, payment history, and other factors that contribute to your credit standing.

  • Credit Score: A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. It is calculated based on the information contained in your credit report and is intended to provide lenders with a quick and easy way to assess the risk of lending money to you. The most commonly used credit score is the FICO score, but there are other credit scoring models as well, such as VantageScore.

In short, a credit report provides the detailed information that is used to calculate your credit score. Your credit score is a summary of that information.

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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