Since the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act was passed in November 2003, any American has been able to get their credit report for free at least once a year. However, free credit scores have only recently become so commonplace.
In November 2013, FICO started it’s Open Access Program, thanks in part to some encouragement from the government. The channels through which you can get credit scores for free have been expanding ever since.
And that’s great news for consumers as it’s a well-known fact that lenders use credit scores to help determine your creditworthiness.
Continue reading and I will explain how you can get your 3 credit scores from major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) for free. I will also share the best way to check your FICO scores.
What is a credit score and how it’s calculated?
The first thing to know is that credit scores are based on your credit report. In essence, any credit score is an interpretation of your credit report.
Simple enough right?
However, there are hundreds of other credit scoring models out there. So you don’t have just ‘one’ credit score.
I will note here that not all scoring systems are not necessarily equal in the minds of lenders, as the industry has trusted FICO for over 25 years. While many of the alternative credit scores do a great job of approximating lender behavior, a FICO score is the most valuable – 90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores. So that’s where we’ll start.
How to Get a Free FICO Credit Score?
The Open Access Program is set up to offer consumers FICO credit scores for free through their credit card company.
Depending on your bank, you can see your scores on monthly statements or inside your online user account.
Here’s a list of popular banks offering free FICO scores with their credit cards:
Denied for a loan? You have the right to know your score.
Getting a new credit card isn’t the only way to get your score for free. You have the right to see your current score free of charge whenever you a offered bad loan terms or are denied completely. Simply ask your lender to show your score.
Otherwise, you’ll need to buy your FICO scores from myfico.com. You can choose a score based on one of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—or you can get your scores from all 3 with myFICO 3-Report View – it will cost you $59.85 total.
If you don’t want to pay that much there are also other alternatives that won’t cost you a thing and still offer high-quality credit rating information.
Where to Check Your Triple Credit Scores Free?
My go-to place for free credit scores is FreeCreditClick.com. They offer 3 bureau credit scores. Though these scores aren’t FICO, the scores still range from 300 to 850, so they are a really good approximation of where you stand.
This service is 100% free and secure. I’ve been using it since 2013.
To get started, you will need to provide few details about your identity (this should take you no more than 2 minutes). Enter all required information and submit the form. Your 3 credit scores will be available for you instantly.
If you ask me, FreeCreditClick is a great deal. Unlike other free credit score websites you get with them your all 3 credit scores- not just one. This gives you a much better understanding of your credit and it helps you spot errors faster.
Free Credit Score Without Credit Card
If you want to check your score elsewhere, there are many options available. To make your life easier I prepared a detailed comparison of the most popular credit scoring websites in the USA.
Don’t get scared if they ask you for your social security number, credit card number or other personal details – this is all for security reasons and your own safety.
|No||Name||Score Type||Cost||Credit Card||Editor’s opinion|
|1||FreeCreditClick||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the ScoreSense model||Free 7 day trial, then $29.95 per month||Yes||I use this service every few months. Why? Because it gives me an excellent idea of my scores across all 3 credit bureaus (not just one, as with other free service). It’s a great FREE alternative to expensive FICO scores ($60). You receive your all 3 credit scores instantly. You can cancel anytime during your 7 day trial. FreeCreditClick gets my best recommendation!|
|2||FICO Standard||FICO score based on Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion||$19.95 each||Yes||FICO is the credit score used by a majority of lenders and banks. It’s not free. 3 credit scores from each bureau will cost you almost $60 bucks! However, there is a way to save some money. Simply ask your lender which credit bureau data they’re using when calculating your FICO score. Once you have this information, go check FICO score for that one specific credit bureau.|
|3||Credit Karma||TransRisk||Free||No||Credit Karma is the leading free credit score website. You get free online access to your TransUnion score. Even if this scoring model is not used by many lenders it is still a good indicator of your credit status. You can also use free credit monitoring (TransUnion only) and take a look inside your credit report card. They’re using information about you to recommend credit related products that you may want, such as loans, mortgages, credit cards, and more. They make money when you sign up for the credit related products.|
|4||Quizzle||VantageScore 3.0||Free||No||When you sign up with Quizzle you will receive your Vantage Score and Equifax Credit Report every six months. Vantage 3.0 has a credit score chart similar to FICO (300 to 850) and it’s now used by many lenders. Quizzle is very user friendly and easy to use. Try it!|
|5||Credit Sesame||Experian National Equivalency Score||Free||No||Credit Sesame uses Experian data for both credit score and credit monitoring, and you can check it every month. When you sign up and check your credit score they will show you personalized and objective savings recommendations on home loans, credit cards, auto loans, and more.|
|6||Credit.com||Experian National Equivalency Score and VantageScore 3.0||Free||No||You get two free credit scores which are updated every month. They have a great user interface that is simple, and website is very easy to use, however, they’re very aggresive with advertising.|
|7||Wise Piggy||TransUnion Credit Score||Free||No||This is another place to get your free credit score without entering credit card information. They also give you a credit report card similar to Credit Karma’s, where you can see the most important information from your credit report (TransUnion file). It’s a good service and a great alternative to Credit Karma.|
|8||TransUnion||TransUnion||$1 trial for the first 7 days, then you’re billed $17.95 per month||Yes||The best place if you want to check your TransUnion score and credit report at the same time. When you sign up you will be enrolled into their credit monitoring service. You should contact their support and cancel your subscription within 7 days if you don’t want your credit card to be charged.|
|9||Experian: Vantage Score||VantageScore 3.0||$7.95||Yes||Maybe $8 dollars is not that much, but you could better spend it on a good coffee. Why pay for this credit score when you can get it free from other websites?|
|10||Experian: 3 Credit Scores||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the PLUS Score model||$39.95||Yes||This service gives you 3 credit scores and reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Scores are calculated using the PLUS score model, an educational scoring model not used by lenders. Consider buying this only if you really need to access your credit reports and can’t do so with the Annual Credit Report website.|
|11||Experian||Experian PLUS Score||$14.95||Yes||You get access to your Experian credit report and score. You have an option to pay $14.95 or use $1.00 for a 7-day trial. Be smart, chose the second option and cancel your trial within 7 days.|
|12||Equifax Complete™ Advantage Plan||3 bureau credit scores based on Equifax Credit Score||$19.95/month||Yes||Although the Equifax Credit Score™ model is commercially available to lenders it’s almost nonexistent in the marketplace and should be used only for educational purposes. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports are included in this service, but you can access them only once every 12 months. You are immediately charged $17.95 when you sign up.|
|13||Equifax Credit Score||Equifax Credit Score||$15.95||Yes||This scoring model is not popular among lenders and the $15.95 fee is not refundable. I’d stay away from this service.|
|14||Equifax:Credit Score Watch®||FICO score based on your Equifax credit file||$14.95||Yes||You get your Equifax credit report twice per year and your original Equifax FICO score when you enroll in this credit monitoring service. You will be charged $14.95 immediately when you sign up. You need to contact their support in order to cancel this service. This is actually worth ordering, since it’s cheaper than your Equifax score from the official Fair Isaac Corporation website.|
|15||Equifax: Credit Report with FICO® Score||FICO score||$19.95||Yes||Similar to the service above, except this one has one payment of $19.95.|
|16||FreeCreditScore.com||Experian PLUS Score||$1 for 7 days, then $9.95 per month||Yes||Heavily advertised on TV, this website gives you nothing but your Experian PLUS score. Not only that they charge you $1 up front for the trial period. How is that free?|
|17||CreditReport.com||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the PLUS Score model||$1 for 7 days, then $24.95 per month||Yes||This is a monthly credit monitoring service. You will get 3 credit reports and 3 PLUS scores.|
|18||FreeCreditReport.com||Experian PLUS Score||$1 for 7 days, then $19.99 per month||Yes||Another credit monitoring service giving you useless Experian score and credit report information but this one’s cool to use! Cancel anytime during the 7 day trial period.|
|19||FreeCredit.com||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the CreditXpert model||$Free 14 day trial, then $19.99 per month||Yes||Use this credit monitoring service only for educational purpose, their scores are not used by financial institutions. Credit score simulator and identity fraud service included. You have a full two weeks to cancel. This offer redirects to privacyguard.net subdomain.|
|20||FreeScore.com||3 bureau credit scores. No information about the scoring model used.||No information||Yes||Can’t even register on this website as of now. They probably make registration pages visible only through paid ads OR their website is not active at all.|
|21||Go Free Credit||TransUnion Credit Score||$1 for 7 days, then $17.95 per month||Yes||Go Free Credit relies on TransUnion data only. They will give you access to your credit report along with your TransUnion credit score. They also give you credit monitoring, but only after the trial period ends.|
|22||Smart Credit||ConsumerDirect Credit Score||Free 7 day trial, then $29.95 per month||Yes||They’re using their own scoring model to calculate your credit score, auto score, insurance score, and hiring risk index. Read more in their FAQ. Keep in mind that this score is for educational purposes only and is not used by lenders. The cool thing about this service is that you can interact with your creditors by using “action buttons”. You can use this to correct credit reporting inaccuracies or settle debt. There are many limitations on a non-premium membership.|
|23||Mint||3 bureau credit scores||Free 14 day trial, then $16.99 per month.||Yes||Zero information about what scoring model this service is using. Most likely these are PLUS or CreditXpert scores. There’s a 14 day trial so you can feel free to give this credit monitoring service a try.|
|24||Escore.com||TransUnion Credit Score||$1 for 7 days, then $16.95 per month||Yes||For $1 you get unlimited access to your TransUnion credit report & score. If you don’t need credit monitoring then call them to cancel during the first 7 days. Their number is (855) 703-0259. Use this service only if you need to get access to your TransUnion credit report, you can get your score free of charge elsewhere.|
|25||Score Mio||Experian’s Scorex PLUS® score||$17.95 per month||Yes||Credit monitoring that bills your credit card instantly for $17.95 in exchange for your Experian credit report and score. I’d stay away from this website.|
|26||MyScore.com||TransUnion Credit Score||$1 for 7 days, then $29.95 per month||Yes||This is an expensive credit monitoring service. Yes they give you a free TransUnion credit score, but you already know better places where you can get it free of charge. You need to call them to cancel your membership at(855) 331-9531.|
|27||eFreeScore.com||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the TransUnion model||$1 for 7 days, then $29.95 per month||Yes||You’re buying 3 educational purpose scores only. Contact their support at (800) 934-1938 during the 7 day trial period if you want to cancel. This website belongs to MyScore LLC.|
|28||Trans Union Plus||VantageScore® by TransUnion||Free 7 day trial, then $29.95 per month||Yes||Unfortunately you can check an old version of Vantage Score here which scales from 501 to 990. Various credit tools are included, so ultimately you can give it a try. You have one week to cancel your trial. This website does not belong to an official TransUnion company.|
|29||Identity Guard® Total Protection||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the CreditXpert model||Free 14 day trial, then $19.99 per month.||Yes||This is an identity theft protection service which offers your credit score as an extra feature. These scores use the CreditXpert model, used for educational purpose only. You have two full weeks to cancel.|
|30||Trusted ID||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the Equifax Credit Score model||Free 14 day trial, then $27.99 per month.||Yes||This service will alert you when there are changes to your credit file. You get triple bureau credit scores and your unique Identity Threat Score, an easy to understand way to gauge your risk of identity theft.|
|31||Life Lock Ultimate||TransUnion credit score||$25.00 per month||Yes||LifeLock helps you get your free annual credit reports, and they use it as their service “benefit”. Obviously you can do this easily for yourself. They also say you will get 3 credit scores, but when you’re on the order page you see you will get only one credit score per month from TransUnion. Too much confusion and too many false claims from this website. Not even a free trial period available. Stay away!|
|32||Privacy Guard||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the CreditXpert model||$1 for 14 days, then $17.99 per month||Yes||Nothing special about this service. They give you scores and reports based on the data from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These scores and reports are designed to help you understand your credit and are not used by lenders.|
|33||Identity Force||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the TransRisk model||Free 14 day trial, then 19.95 per month||Yes||You get 3 TransRisk scores, and these are not even TransUnion scores. They hide this information from you and make it very unclear what exactly you will be getting. But hey, there’s a free two week trial so try it if you want!|
|34||Privacy Matters||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the TransLink model||$1 for 7 days, then $19.95 per month||Yes||This website won’t even let you register as of April 2014. Stay away.|
|35||True Credit||TransUnion credit score||$17.95 per month||Yes||This page redirects to the official TransUnion credit monitoring offer.|
|36||ReadyForZero PLUS Credit||Vantage 3.0 from Experian||$15.00 per month||Yes||Ready for Zero is a web based financial tool that helps you get out of debt faster. They update your Vantage 3.0 score once per month. Buy this only if you’re in debt already, their tools are actually good.|
|37||MyFreeScoreNow.com||3 bureau credit scores calculated using the CreditXpert model||Free for 7 days, then $29.95 per month||Yes||They don’t say strictly what credit scoring model is used to calculate their scores. They say it ranges from 300 to 900, so it’s most likely the CreditXpert formula used for educational purposes only. To cancel you must call their support at (888) 548-2008 or send a letter. Sick!|
You Know Your Score, So What Now?
Once you’ve obtained a credit score from a reputable source, match your score up with the credit score range you fall into.
Now, that you know exactly where you stand you can begin to take action to improve your score if it needs it. Or you may find out that you have a wealth of opportunity available to you that you did not know you had before!
Keep track of your score. But don’t forget to get your free yearly credit report as well. Here’s my step-by-step tutorial for this:
Credit scores are not a substitute for your full credit report. And it’s free too, so there’s really no excuse.
If you know of another great way check your credit scores, leave them in the comments below. I may just add them to this post if they are up to snuff. Please share this pageif you find it useful. Thanks!