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.
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.
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.
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