Always Know Your Credit Score With These 11 Free Tools

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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.

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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!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.255% APR to 12.555% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2018 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. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.255% APR assumes current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 4.425% 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.

    To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.See Consumer Licenses.
  2. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  3. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  4. 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 Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan of $15,000 with a term of 24 months, and qualify for at least two of the following discounts: (1) add a co-borrower who has sufficient income; (2) use at least fifty percent of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt; or (3) show proof of having at least forty-thousand dollars in retirement savings – contact FreedomPlus for further details.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), 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 us 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, our 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 Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan 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. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.49% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.16% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.


7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
6.26% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
6.99% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%2$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
4.99% – 29.99%3$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%4$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%5$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
6.16% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
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.

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