Get a free credit score. That is the topic of many websites and ads today but it is often misleading. Before you invest in any service claiming to offer one, or offering any opportunities for you to view your score, you need to know how this process works. It is up to you to find the right source for your free score. This page starts with a definition of a good credit score. Then comes the reasons why you should check your credit score and why does it matter, and finally there’s a list of the companies that provide free credit score along with the reviews of their whole processes.
You Have to Have a Good Credit Score
One of the most disheartening things for people is knowing that they have to have a good credit score but not knowing what their score is. However, you can know this.
A FICO score is the three-digit number that is given to a credit user, which gives a numerical estimation of the creditworthiness of an individual. In short, it is generally a number between 300 and 900 based on the data included in an individual’s credit report.
There are three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. The data on each file can be a bit different. That means that most people have three FICO scores, usually all within a small range of difference. The following is an example of Experian’s credit score range.
Experian Credit Score
|Rating||Score by Number|
|Very Good / Excellent||901 to 990|
|801 to 900|
|Average to Good||701 to 800|
|601 to 700|
|High Risk / Poor||501 to 600|
Equifax Credit Score
|Rating||Score by Number|
|Excellent||720 to 850|
|Very Good||700 to 719|
|Good||675 to 699|
|Fair||620 to 674|
|Poor||560 to 619|
|Very Bad||500 to 559|
TransUnion Credit Score
The TransUnion credit score is not as fully outlined as other credit agencies.
|Rating||Score by Number|
|Good||720 and above|
|Bad||620 to 675|
|Very Poor||620 and below|
- The range is between 150 to 934
- Anyone with a score above 720 is considered to have a “good score”
- Anyone below 620 has a very poor score and is therefore unlikely to receive much credit
You can improve credit score ranges from all three of the creditors by making good financial decisions, such as paying down your debt and making payments on time. Your credit score range is not a permanent number but one that will change with your decisions.
Why Check Your Score?
When you need to check credit score, government laws do not help you. This information is not required for companies to share. However, if you want a free credit score, Equifax and other bureaus will provide it to you through trial memberships.
Why do you need it?
- You need to know where you are
- You need to know what areas to work on to improve your score
- You need to know what your financial actions are doing to your report
- If you plan to obtain a loan, this information aids in knowing if the lender will approve it
Keep in mind that to get a free credit score, Transunion and other companies often require your personal data. Always check your free credit report to make sure that your information is accurate before and 30 to 60 days after you check your score. Leaks of your personal information are rare, but they can happen.
Why Does It Matter?
Consult the following chart to see why your credit score matters. If you borrow $250,000 to purchase a home, here’s what you’ll pay:
|Score||Likely APR You’ll Pay||Monthly Payment|
|Very Good: 760+||4.36 percent||$1246|
|700 to 759||4.58 percent||$1279|
|680 to 699||4.75 percent||$1305|
|660 to 679||4.97 percent||$1338|
|640 to 659||5.40 percent||$1404|
Getting a Free Credit Score
For those who wish to get a free credit score, government laws can tell the agencies to provide you with a free score. However, they must provide you with a free credit report one time per year.
Below are some of the websites and organizations that promise to give you a free credit score. We’ve reviewed them for you, providing information you can use to determine which is the right site for you to receive your score.
AnnualCreditReport.com provides individuals with a free credit report for their use. No credit scoring information is available at the site. Rather, you can sign up, verify your identity and then be transferred to one of the three credit bureaus. The credit bureaus provide a copy of your credit report. If you wish to purchase your credit score, you can do so through the credit bureau itself.
Credit Karma is different from other companies. If you want a free credit score without credit card requirements, this is the place to go. Here’s what our review tells us:
- There’s no obligation or automatic renewal
- You do not sign up for credit monitoring services as a requirement
- You can receive your score quickly after verifying your data- it took about five minutes
- You can get a free score sent to you each day. There’s no limitation or trial period
- The credit simulator tool allows you to see how changes to your credit data will impact your score – this is a nice tool to have for those who want to improve their credit score
Quizzle.com is another free credit score tool. It is similar to Credit Karma. Here’s the important data.
- There’s no credit card information required
- It provides your Experian credit score
- It offers some interesting tools including a home value estimator and budget planner
- You do not have to provide your Social Security number
- There is no charge or trial membership
- The process was simple, but since they do not require Social Security Number, there are other verifications you must go through to get to your information
With Credit Sesame, you can check credit score information fairly easily. The goal with this site is to help you to manage your credit score and finances. Here’s some information:
- It offers a free credit score each month
- The goal of this site is to help you to qualify for a loan – it offers advice for just that
- The drawback here is that you don’t pay for your credit score but you do get encouragement to obtain various loans
It took a bit for this company to fix a login problem I had initially. If you don’t mind the emails and offers, this is a good site.
FreeCreditReport.com is through Experian, one of the three credit bureaus. The company does not offer a free credit score.
- You place an order for a credit report and score (the current price is $1 initially)
- You have access for seven days as a trial membership. You must cancel within seven days if you do not wish to continue
- If you do not cancel, you are billed $16.95 per month on the credit card you used to sign up
- It’s easy and straightforward to use
Also an Experian product, this one focuses on credit scores.
- You get a free credit score with an initial seven-day trial (you do have to provide your Social Security number and credit card information)
- If you do not cancel in seven days, you are billed $14.95 per month
- It was easy to use and offered good services including a credit score estimator
When it comes to getting a free credit score, federal laws do not require this to be provided. FICO, which is the organization that manages most credit scoring, does offer a free trial.
- Get your FICO score free after signing up with credit card information
- You get a 10-day trial membership
- If you do not cancel within those 10 days, you are charged $14.95 per month for the service
- The company has a three-month minimum subscription requirement.
Does it matter which service you use?
In most cases yes since you need to know how accurate the service is and what it can offer to you specifically. Be aware that some companies offering free services do charge a fee for additional advice. Some are paid a fee by the promoters on the site.