Do you want to know your credit score but are not sure where to look? This article will walk you through the three main ways you can check your scores for FREE. It will also touch on why you cannot get free scores from AnnualCreditReport.com (you can only get free credit reports) and explain the different types of scores. Whether you plan to borrow money or not, your credit scores are important and you should know where you stand. Luckily, you can check them for free without giving away your credit card number.
There are three main ways that you can check your credit score for free:
- Free Credit Score Sites – There are several specialized sites that give you access to your score for free, with no credit card requirement. These sites include Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, and Quizzle.
- Lenders – Peer-to-peer lending sites like Prosper and Lending Club give you access to your credit rating if you apply to become a borrower. You can also access your credit score whenever you apply for a loan.
- Credit Monitoring Service Trials – Many credit monitoring services offer a free trial. As part of the trial, you can experience their services, including instant access to your credit reports and scores. Generally, I don’t recommend this because too many people fail to read the fine print and ended up paying something in the process.
Free Credit Score Sites
Each of the major credit bureaus offers its own credit score. Here are the ways to obtain your free credit scores from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (the three major credit reporting agencies).
|Credit Sesame and Quizzle let you access your Experian score for free (no credit card required) in about 5 minutes. These sites also provide you with other information about your credit situation. This information is gathered from the Experian database and is a very accurate reflection of your current financial picture. For more details on Credit Sesame, please read How to Get Free Experian Credit Score from Credit Sesame.|
|Unfortunately, there is current no free option to obtain your Equifax score. You can access your score through one of the Equifax offers (for a one-time fee of $19.95).|
|Credit Karma gives you access to your TransUnion score for free without credit card and with no hidden costs or obligations. For more detail about Credit Karma, please read How to Get Free Credit Score from TransUnion.|
In addition to the methods outline above, you can gain access to your credit scores when you apply for a loan. While the information is free, accessing your scores this way will show up as a hard pull credit inquiry that slightly hurts your scores. Also, I do not recommend applying for a loan just to see your scores.
- Personal loan – If you take out a personal loan, e.g., become a borrower on LendingClub or Prosper, you will gain access to credit rating information.
- Car loan – When you finance the purchase of your new or used car, the loan officer will pull your credit scores to determine your creditworthiness, as well as to determine what sort of deal you are eligible for. Whether you are approved or rejected, you have the right to know the scores pulled by the lender, so feel free to ask for the information..
- Home loan – When you pre-qualify for a loan, or apply for a loan (a mortgage or refinancing), the lender will pull your credit scores (usually from all three credit reporting agencies). Again, you can request this information and see your credit ratings.
If you don’t know your scores yet, give one of these sites a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I just get my credit scores from AnnualCreditReport.com?
While AnnualCreditReport.com is the best place to get your free credit reports from the three major reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian), you CANNOT get free credit scores from them. However, the fee to get your scores through AnnualCreditReport.com is nominal and you can opt to pay for your scores there.
What credit scores will I get with these services?
These services do not provide your true FICO credit score (you can get it from myFICO). Read carefully about each service and the score(s) they provide. In my experience, the free resources are equally good; I found negligible differences among them.
To learn more about different credit scoring models, please read Different Types of Credit Scores: FICO, FAKO, and Enhanced.
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.