How to Get Your Totally Free Credit Score

Not too long ago, the only way to get your free credit score was to sign up for a seven or 30-day trial. You had to enter your credit card, and if you forgot to cancel the membership, they started charging your card.

Today there are several ways to get your credit score for free without a credit card and without worrying about a trial membership expiring. My personal favorite is Credit Sesame, which I’ll talk about first. But there are several great options.

How to Get Your Free Credit Score

Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame is my favorite credit score website. In addition to being totally free (and no credit card required), it offers a wealth of information about your credit score and finances. Here’s a snapshot of my credit score from Credit Sesame:

Credit Sesame Credit Score

Beyond the score, it provides details on what factors are affecting your score. These factors include payment history, credit usage, age of credit, account mix and credit inquires. Beyond your score, Credit Sesame also gives you insights into your debt, including mortgages and school loans.

Go to Credit Sesame

Credit Karma

Credit Karma offers a totally free credit score. You don’t need a credit card, and you can get your score in minutes online. Because I’m a bit crazy when it comes to my credit, I track my score with Credit Karma, too. It’s always a few points higher or lower than Credit Sesame, but usually in the same ballpark. Each member is allowed a free credit score every six months and Credit Karma is kind enough to email you when it’s time to check your credit score again for free.

Credit Karma Scores

One great feature is that you get instant access to your score. Credit Karma also gives you insight into what’s helping your score and what’s hurting it.

Go to Credit Karma

How to Get Your Official FICO Score

There are several ways to get access to your FICO score, some free, some with a small fee.

To get your official FICO score, myFICO is the place to go. It costs $29.95 a month. Yes, it’s expensive. But here’s what you get:

  • Access a new 3-bureau credit report and 28 FICO® Scores every quarter—including the 19 FICO® Scores most widely used in mortgage, auto and credit card lending, and the newly released FICO® Score 9
  • Track your FICO® Score 8 from each of the 3 credit bureaus on a historical tracking graph
  • Monitor changes to your credit reports from all 3 bureaus and get FICO Score 8 updates
  • Detect threats to your personal information with intelligent identity theft monitoring
  • Restore your identity with expert identity theft features

Another options is Experian. For $1, you get access to your FICO score based on your Experian credit data.

Finally, there are several credit card issuers that provide free access to your FICO score. You can find a list here.

Side By Side Comparison

If you’re still not sure what’s the best option for you, here is a side-by-side comparison of the free credit score offers. I’ve used several of them, so you may want to try more than one to decide which one is best for you.

Credit Score OfferWhat You GetFree Trial Period and Cost After Trial
Editor's Choice
Your official FICO® Score from each of the 3 credit bureaus$29.95 per month.
Credit Sesame
Editor's Choice
Free credit score, report and report card
No cost
Credit KarmaFree credit score without a credit card
No Cost

The above offers provide your credit score as reported by one or more of the three major credit bureaus.  But some of those scores do not use the FICO formula. This can be a bit confusing, and is worth a few moments to explain.

The credit bureaus have your credit information on file that they use to generate credit scores. Think of your credit report as containing all of the data that they put into their credit score formula to calculate a score.

Here’s where it gets a bit complicated. The credit bureaus don’t have just one credit score formula; they have many of them. Some of these formulas come from a company called Fair Isaac, better known as FICO. And just to confuse us some more, there is more than one FICO formula.  None of the free offers provide an exact FICO score and unfortunately has discontinued their free trial program, so the only way to obtain your true FICO credit score is to pay for it.

While the credit score programs you see above use different formulas and produce different results, the credit scores from these formulas are still pretty close to one another. You won’t see one formula producing a score of 820 and another showing 530. So do you need your FICO score versus the other types of scores? Frankly, getting your FICO score versus the scores reported by the agencies has become less important. Why? Because the results are about the same, and they all give you a really good picture of the health of your credit.

Published or Updated: July 27, 2016
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.


  1. kasey says:

    I didn’t realize that they would alert you when your credit moved to a certain score. That’s a pretty nice feature.

  2. Vu says:

    all three credit bureaus the only thing they do it’s crew-up or ruin your credit history and bias for lender…one hand took your credit protection other hand ruin your credit history…in facts they said no discrimination on race or color..but it’s lied…i’m a victimize of this sampled !!!!! all equifax,experian,transunion gotten questions go tracing Me now

  3. Louis Laureyssens says:

    I always had a good credit , 2 years ago a heatstroke knocked me out for two months I lose my job and struggeled to make payments on time . with this stupid thing of score the bank cut my credit .overnight and there I was bankrupcy was the sole way out. This score thing should be banned it is inacurate 80 % the time it is a bankers invention to charge more interest and loot your money the fed say the interest rate is so and so % but if your score is
    you pay more and more and more. and this administration did the ultimate….l
    say lend but it is in fact give away our money to this croocks.unbelievable.

  4. Lisa C says:

    I use because I get all three credit scores and all three credit reports. I pull my credit this way every three to four months for a flat fee. I recomend a quarterly exploration of your personal credit, thus more time to address any negative issues on your report.

  5. MK says:

    I was only able to get a score from Experian – can’t give me a score saying I don’t have enough information on file. I haven’t had a mortgage, car payment, or credit card for several years, and my can’t help me figure out where I stand. No help at all to determine if I can get a mortgage or car loan. At least got me a credit report and some kind of score to work with.

  6. DR says:

    MK, I suspect the score Experian gave you was not a FICO credit score. If you have little recent credit history, there just isn’t enough data to input into the FICO score formula to compute a score.

  7. Gordon says:

    Lots of people do not avail the facility to get a free copy of their credit report each year. They can get this from all three major credit bureaus.

  8. DR says:

    Gordan, you are absolutely right, and folks should get the free credit report each year to make sure it’s accurate.

  9. Jessie says:

    In Canada you can go to equifax and to trans unions websites and order your scores that way. I prefer avoiding third party ‘fees’ and just going to the source.

  10. shana says:

    All my bills have been paid off and only one – TransUnion, will NOT delete it from my record even though the creditor has said that it could be deleted and gave me a letter stating it was paid in full. It doesn’t seem fair that a credit bureau can keep poor info on one’s credit for a full 7 years! Now I am having trouble getting a mortgage loan just because of that – have no other bills or mortgage – just trying to get a first time buyer mortgage. It doesn’t seem fair and I am extremely disappointed in TransUnion. Equifax and Esperian have my credit score as being very good.but TransUnion is ruining it all.

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