Always Know Your Credit Score With These 11 Free Tools

free credit score

Getting free credit score updates on a regular basis can help you see how effectively you’re building up your credit. And, it can alert you to anything that’s dragging your score down.

Fortunately, there are a number of free credit score tools that consumers can use to regularly access their score.

In fact, Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) estimates that as many as 100 million Americans have access to free credit scores through their bank or credit cards, an executive told AP News.

From banks to credit cards to online tools, here’s a rundown of some options you have to get your credit score for free.

Banks and credit cards with free credit score access

Many major banks and credit card issuers have started offering customers free credit score updates in recent years.

So before you decide to switch banks or get a new financial product just for a free credit score, check with your bank. You might already have access to these free credit score tools through an existing account or product.

And if you don’t, consider asking if your bank or credit union has plans to start offering this benefit in coming months.

Free credit score reporting, even if you’re not a customer

Two credit card issuers, Discover and Capital One, offer a free credit score tracking platform that anyone can use — even if they’re not existing customers.

1. Discover Credit Scorecard

Discover launched a Credit Scorecard tool earlier this year that offers free credit scores to everyone. Registration is free.

Once you’re logged in, the Credit Scorecard gives a preview of your current FICO credit score, then tracks it over recent months.

The Discover Credit Scorecard also includes some analysis into what’s affecting your score most and suggests some actions you could take to improve it.

2. Capital One CreditWise

Capital One recently launched a similar tool with its CreditWise mobile app. You can download the iOS or Android version of the app to sign up for the free credit score service.

Current Capital One customers can use their existing credentials to log in. And through their login account, users can see their current credit score and how it’s calculated.

Capital One CreditWise also offers credit simulation tools for users.

Banks offering free credit scores to customers

Some banks are giving their customers access to their credit score and other credit information, just for being a member.

3. U.S. Bank CreditView Dashboard

U.S. Bank customers only need to login to the online platform and select “Check MyCredit Score for Free.” This takes you to the “CreditView Dashboard” which displays your current credit score, updated monthly from TransUnion.

4. USAA Credit Check

USAA is another bank that offers free credit scores to all members. Members of USAA will need to enroll in its free CreditCheck product.

However, they don’t need a credit card or other loan with USAA to qualify. Members will also get a monthly VantageScore update from Experian.

5. PenFed

PenFed offers free credit score tracking to members with a checking account, installment loan, line of credit, or credit card.

Additionally, customers can be notified when this FICO score is updated, and view it by logging into a PenFed account online.

Credit cards with a free credit score benefit

Many popular card issuers include free credit scores in their credit card benefits.

6. Chase Slate 

Chase Bank provides free FICO updates to its Chase Slate cardholders. They can sign into their Chase accounts and view their FICO scores online, based on data from Experian.

7. Bank of America 

Bank of America credit card customers can view their free credit score online or through the mobile app. This monthly FICO score is provided in partnership with TransUnion.

8. Citigroup

Citigroup also provides free credit score monthly updates to customers with a Citi credit card. This credit score is based on a FICO model, using credit information from Equifax.

9. Barclaycard Ring

Barclaycard Ring card members can view their FICO scores by logging in to the account servicing website.

The credit card issuer will also include two factors affecting the credit score, and will even send email alerts if there are changes.

10. American Express

American Express provides access to FICO scores for customers with select cards. Users can check this credit score online through their American Express account.

Online tools that offer free credit score tracking

In addition to banks and credit card issuers, there are several sites and online resources that provide credit score tracking with a free membership.

VantageScore.com has a helpful page that lists a number of sites with a free credit score feature.

11. Credit Karma

The most popular of these is Credit Karma. This site offers free credit scores and reports from TransUnion or Equifax.

All you need to do is complete a quick registration with your key info. Then, you can see your VantageScore credit scores through the Credit Karma mobile app or website.

Members can also see explanations of items on their credit reports. And, Credit Karma tools can also provide personalized suggestions for improving credit. It also provides useful tools like credit monitoring and alerts.

Competitors of Credit Karma that provide similar services include Credit Sesame, Credit.com, and LendingTree. These sites usually require a free membership or free subscription for users to view their credit scores.

What to watch for with free credit scores

Not every “free” credit score site is actually free — or even provide an official credit score. Watch out for these red flags to ensure the source for your free credit score is legit.

Don’t provide your credit card information

Make sure you carefully review all the user agreements of any bank, credit card or site that is offering free credit reporting.

Many services and websites will use free access to credit scores and reports as an incentive to get customers signed up for a service or subscription that costs money.

However, be wary of sites that advertise free access to credit scores or reports but also require your credit card information. That’s a red flag that you could face charges down the line.

Know which credit score you’re viewing

There are three main bureaus that collect and compile credit information into reports: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Credit reporting and information can differ between each of these.

Additionally, there are different credit models or formulas that turn the information on your credit report into a three-digit score.

The two main credit score models are the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, score, and VantageScore. Both of these scales rate credit based on three-digit numbers that range from 300 up to 850. However, each weighs credit factors differently.

Credit cards, banks, and sites that offer free credit scores will likely all use different score models from different companies. And while some use FICO, the model most commonly used by lenders to evaluate creditworthiness, Credit Karma, and similar sites use VantageScore.

Therefore, keep in mind that your free credit score might be different on these sites that what a lender would see when checking your credit.

Official credit score vs. credit score estimate

In addition to understanding which credit score you’re viewing, it also helps to double check that what you’re viewing is an actual credit score.

Some sites and credit score tools appear to offer free credit scores. In reality, what they actually provide is a credit score estimate. A questionnaire might collect information similar to what’s on your credit report and generate a credit score estimate based on that.

Or, the tool may access your credit history through an official credit bureau, but then use its own formula to calculate your credit score — instead of the FICO or VantageScore models.

Most users should take free credit score reports with a grain of salt and recognize they might not always be accurate. Still, when you’re trying to improve your credit score, it’s important to get regular feedback on your efforts. And, most importantly, these tools can provide that for free.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print, understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.