5 Ways to Check Your Credit Score for Free!
Your credit score is an important part of your financial life, but did you know that you don’t have to pay to get your scores? I’m going to show you five ways to get your credit scores for free.
Before I do that let’s talk about the difference between a FICO and a non FICO credit score. A FICO score is what’s used by most lenders to determine whether you’re a credit risk or not. Each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian have a FICO score for you based on your credit history.
Most of the time the scores from each bureau will be the same or very close. The most popular non FICO score is the Vantage score. While many free websites will show you a Vantage score it’s likely not the number that a creditor will use when they decide whether or not they will loan you money.
Both FICO and Vantage scores use a scale of 300 to 850 but each is calculated differently so they may not come out to be the same number. Knowing both your FICO and Vantage scores gives you a clearer picture of how lenders view you and whether they may extend credit to you.
The higher your score the more creditworthy you look to creditors. Now that you know the difference here are three free and convenient ways to get your FICO score and two places to get your non FICO Vantage score.
The first way to get your FICO score is to use Discover Bank’s Credit Scorecard. You can use the service even if you don’t bank with Discover, but you will need to sign up for a free account. Just provide some information to verify your identity.
Then the FICO score based on your Experian credit report will be available to you immediately. On your Discover Scorecard you’ll also see: the total number of accounts on your report, the length of your credit history, the number of credit inquiries currently on your account, your revolving credit utilization and any missed payments on your report.
All of those factors contribute to the calculation of your FICO score. One of the best things about this service, besides being free, is that they don’t pressure you to sign up for paid products like some other free FICO score websites.
A second way to potentially get your free FICO score is through your credit card issuer. To see if you have access to this perk, log in to your online account or call the toll-free number on the back of your card.
Sometimes the score may even appear on your paper statement as well. The third way you may be able to get a free FICO score is through your bank or credit union. As with credit cards, you may find your score when you log into your account or you can call your financial institution to see if it’s available and if it is they should be able to assist you in finding it.
Now that we’ve covered our recommended ways of getting your free FICO score let’s talk about popular and convenient ways to get a free non FICO score. Team Clark has two favorites when it comes to getting your free Vantage score.
The first is Credit Karma. Signing up for Credit Karma works much like Discover Scorecard. You create a free account and verify your identity to see your information. Credit Karma gives you two scores: one based on your TransUnion report and one based on your Equifax report.
The two scores can be different based on when different creditors report to the bureaus and when your score is updated. One of the big reasons we recommend Credit Karma is because of their Credit Score Simulator.
It lets you see how your score would change if you took certain actions like: getting a new loan, opening a new credit card, transferring balances to a new card, closing your oldest credit card, getting a credit limit increase, increasing or decreasing your balances, letting accounts go past due or having an account sent to collections.
Using the simulator can help you see how your actions affect your score and help you plan your financial life. We’ll link to our full Credit Karma review in the description below if you want to learn more.
The second way to get your Vantage score is from Credit Sesame. You create an account like you would for Credit Karma, but you’ll only be able to get the score based on your TransUnion report. This info is still valuable and your account also lets you access credit monitoring and a debt analysis tool.
Although knowing your credit score is important, don’t obsess over it! Maintaining good money and credit habits will increase your score over time and help keep your financial life healthy. Subscribe to our channel and watch some of our other videos to learn about your money and credit.
And find more money-saving information at Clark.com.