With so many credit score platforms and algorithms out there, many consumers are not sure which is the best route to go. Some companies charge a fee to see your credit score and report and few companies offer a free service. So the question is, can I really see my credit score for free? The answer is YES! I will explain the top free ways to check your credit score.
1. Your Current Credit Card Benefits
Depending on your current credit card provider and when you were approved for the card, your current company may offer a free credit score. There is one thing to keep in mind though as you must proceed with caution. 90% of lenders use the FICO Score, and not many credit card providers offer this score for free. Discover, Chase Bank, American Express, Citi Bank, & Bank Of America currently offer free FICO Scores, but it does not come from each credit bureau which is better than paying $19.95 for that score directly from FICO. There are many other financial institutions and card companies that provide other formulas to check your credit score but understand that most lenders may not use their scoring method and you will be in for a rude awakening once you see your score at a dealership or mortgage company.
2. Credit Karma
By now, you have probably seen or heard the popular commercials from Credit Karma. If not, you are missing out big time! This company has put together a way for consumers to view their credit score and report for FREE! Yes, you can check your credit score 100% FREE. Whats the catch you say? Well, remember when I was talking about FICO earlier? Here’s the deal, Credit Karma uses an algorithm powered by Vantage 3.0. Vantage is FICO’s #1 competitor and has a market share of a little under 10%. So why use Credit Karma? Simple, they provide you with your Transunion and Equifax (Not Experian) Vantage 3.0 Score and Report with weekly free updates. How are they able to get this service for free? They have agreements with the advertisers and credit card companies which pays the bills between CK and Vantage 3.0. This is a great route to go and I recommend it to all of my clients all the time. Of course, there is a 90% chance you won’t see your current lender using it but the scoring methods are extremely close. Also, the logic is about the same. For example, if your score increases, or decreases, then chances are your FICO score has done the same. The scores may not be the exact same but the habits which the scoring method is looking for will be similar.
3. Getting “Denied For Credit” Letter
In a perfect world, everyone is approved. Since this is not a perfect world, lol, there will be times in which some consumers will not get approved. If this does happen, each American citizen can request a Free Credit Report and sometimes you can check your credit score from the company that pulled your credit report. See the financial institution that pulled your credit for more information.
4. Getting Your Credit Pulled By A Financial Institution
I saved this option as the last option simply because this will result in a Hard Credit Pull. A Hard Credit Pull is anytime you DO NOT pull your credit report on your own and may result in a credit score decrease as well. The good news is that Hard Pulls only last for two years and they are worth less than 5% of what makes your credit score. More good news is that you will get a detailed report and be able to check your credit score from the financial institution and if you do not, you can always request one. Normally with mortgages, the consumers can see all three credit reports and scores based on the FICO Mortgage Score but, it will be detailed and updated.
The Bottom Line
Now you know the best free ways to check your credit score! If you are looking to get your credit report for free and not the score, every American citizen can go to www.annualcreditreport.com and see each report from each bureau at no charge. Keep in mind, this will only show the report and not the score. Your credit score and report is important, but viewing the report is a start.