In this article, we ’ ll take a look at the versatile options, explain the differences between them and tell you where money adept Clark Howard gets his scores .
Where To Get Your Credit Score Anytime Without Paying a Dime
credit scores have been around for around 30 years, but it ’ mho never been easier to check yours. That said, not all credit scores are created equal. Before we get into the websites where you can find your credit score at no charge, let ’ s make sure you know what you ’ ra looking at when you get there .
Understanding FICO vs. non-FICO scores
When you check your credit rating score, you ’ ll see a number between 300 and 850. This is the number that lenders use to determine how bad of a credit gamble you are. The lower the phone number, the bigger the gamble. The higher the number, the more likely it is you ’ ll be extended recognition on full terms.
Reading: 4 Ways To Get Your Free Credit Score
somewhere around that count, you should see linguistic process that tells you whether that grudge is a FICO score or a VantageScore, which is a non-FICO score. While both types of scores operate use the 300-850 range, there are some big differences between them .
“ There is one source and one source only for your truthful credit grudge : the Fair Isaac Corporation, ” Clark says. “ That would be your FICO grade, the one that most lenders will use when they ’ re deciding to loan you money or not. ”
You have a FICO score with each of the three major credit chest of drawers — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — but they all should be reasonably similar .
however, you ’ ll find that the most democratic places people are getting their loose credit scores these days are showing a VantageScore alternatively .
“ The three independent chest of drawers hate that FICO dominates the credit grade market, so they started selling their own imposter score called a VantageScore, ” Clark says .
FICO scores and VantageScores are calculated using slenderly different methods, so you might find that your score varies quite a bit when you pull it from more than one of the free sources below. For that reason, Clark likes to get both his FICO score and his VantageScore when he’s checking on his numbers .
Options for Getting Your Free FICO Score
There are a count of ways you can get your FICO score for rid. hera are the most convenient. ad
A count of credit batting order issuers now offer free citation scores as a perk up to their customers. As of May 2022, hera are some of the bigger card issuers that offer free scores with some or all of their cards :
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Commerce Bank
not all cards issued by these banks will have a free FICO score offer. If you carry a wag from one of these banks, you can sign in to your account on-line to see if you have access to your credit score or call the toll-free numeral on the rear of your circuit board. sometimes your score will appear on your paper affirmation .
Banks & Credit Unions
In many cases, you don ’ thymine even need a citation tease to get access to your FICO score for dislodge. Simply having an report at some banks and credit unions will get you that fringe benefit .
again, you may find this when you log in to your score on-line, or you can call your bank to see if it ’ mho available .
Options for Getting Free Non-FICO Scores
once you ’ ve gotten your FICO score, you probably want to do what Clark does and check your non-FICO score as well. even though most lenders use FICO scores, getting your non-FICO score can give you a more all-around word picture of where you stand credit-wise.
team Clark has tested multiple options for getting your VantageScore for free, and we have two favorites .
citation Karma is a site that will give you two different scores for free : one based on your TransUnion credit reputation and one based on your Equifax credit report. Credit Karma calculates your score using VantageScore 3.0, which it explains like this :
“ VantageScore 3.0 is a credit scoring model. It takes the information in your credit report and turns it into a score. There are many scoring models out there, including ones from FICO and other companies. Each one calculates your grade a piece differently, but they all use data from your report. ”
You might notice that the two scores can be different. That ’ randomness because the credit reports from the two agency can contain slenderly different information at any given clock time depending on when creditors are reporting to them .
We recommend Credit Karma for a variety show of reasons — not the least of which is its robust “ Credit Score Simulator. ” ad
With the Credit Score Simulator, you can see how your credit score would probably change if you were to take any number of actions, including :
- 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
- Having an account sent to collections
Playing around with the simulator can give you a good sense of how much these activities affect your credit score deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as which actions you could take to improve it — and by how much .
Signing up for Credit Karma is much the same as signing up for Discover Credit Scorecard. All you have to do is create an account, give some basic data and confirm your identity by answering a few security questions .
Read our full review of Credit Karma hera .
While not quite a full-bodied as Credit Karma, Credit Sesame is another option for getting your spare non-FICO grade. Credit Sesame besides uses VantageScore 3.0, but you entirely get one grade, and it ’ s based on your TransUnion credit report card .
Signing up for Credit Sesame is similar to the early services we ’ ve mentioned. Your free subscription will besides get you access to credit monitor, a debt analysis joyride and a nominal amount of “ identity larceny insurance. ”
Read our full moon review of Credit Sesame here, and check out our comparison of Credit Karma and Credit Sesame hera.
Clark uses the fringe benefit that comes with his Citi credit batting order to check his free FICO score and Credit Karma to get his VantageScore sporadically to make certain nothing is awry with his credit, but he doesn ’ t want you to spend besides much of your meter thinking about it .
“ Your goal is from wherever you are justly now, to try to move that number up, ” Clark says. “ But once you get to 760, barely give it a rest, ” he says .
not quite there even ? Check out our article on 5 Sneaky Ways To Improve Your Credit Score .