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
I’ll start with how to get your official FICO score. myFICO offers your FICO score for $4.95 when you sign up for a 30-day trial of its Score Watch program. Many of the options below don’t require a credit card, but you won’t get your FICO score. I think they are still very valuable, and I use them myself. But if you need your official score, myFICO is the place to go.
Credit Karma also 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.
These options require a credit card, but do offer a free trial.
Owned and operated by TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, TrueCredit offers consumers a look at all three of their credit scores (not just TransUnion) as well as all three credit reports, during the 7 day free trial. Once the free trial period has expired, the cost to maintain the TrueCredit is $14.95. That amount is in line with the other free credit score providers we’re showing in this post and the TrueCredit.com interface is a cinch to use.
Credit Sesame is a new service that offers a free credit score without your credit card. The free score comes from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus and it’s updated anytime there is a change to your credit history. Credit Sesame also offers free tools to help consumers build their credit and provides it’s users a badge to showcase their credit profile.
I use Credit Sesame to track my score. Perhaps the best feature is just how easy it is to use and understand your credit information. Here’s a screenshot showing a snapshot of my credit score:
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 Offer||What You Get||Free Trial Period and Cost After Trial|
|Your official FICO® Score from each of the 3 credit bureaus||$4.95 for the first month,
then $14.95 per month.
|Free credit score, report and report card|
|Credit Karma||Free credit score without a credit card|
|TrueCredit||3 Credit Scores with Credit Monitoring and Alerts|
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 trial offers provide an exact FICO score and unfortunately myFICO.com 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.