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How to Get A Free Credit Score Online

by Ryan Guina

Your credit score is important – it’s the first thing a lender is going to look at when you apply for a loan and it directly affects the interest rate you pay. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan. Your FICO credit score is based on your credit history, which can be found in your credit report. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to get a free credit score. Most companies charge you for it. Note: Your credit score and credit report are different. Your credit report covers credit history and your FICO credit score is a number based on a weighted and proprietary formula.

While it’s good to know your credit score, it isn’t something you can just look up any time you want. You almost always have to pay for it, usually anywhere from $5-$15, depending on where you get it. However, you can get a free copy of your FICO credit score if you are willing to do a little legwork.

How to Get Your Free Credit Score Online

how to get a free credit score onlineThe Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) requires each of the 3 major credit bureaus to provide you with a free credit report once per year upon request. The credit bureaus are not required to provide your credit score,  but they are happy to offer you an upsell.

The good news is that you can get a free credit score online through the credit bureaus, or from one of several third party companies. Many of these companies only provide you a copy of your credit score free if you sign up for a free trial of their monthly credit monitoring service. The credit monitoring service gives you the ability to check your credit score, verify your credit history is correct, and verify that there are no unauthorized items on your report. You can always cancel the credit monitoring service before the free trial period ends if you don’t wish to pay for it. Your credit score will be free as long as you cancel in time.

Get a free credit score with no trials and no credit card required. The good news, is not all of the free credit score offers require you to sign up for a free trial or provide your credit card number. Credit Karma and Credit Sesame both offer free credit scores without restrictions. These scores are only based on information from one credit bureau, however. So you may decide to use another service that offers a free credit score based on all three credit bureaus. We list the top options below.

Where to Get Your Free Credit Score

The FICO credit score is the most commonly used credit score in the US. The following companies either offer a free FICO credit score, or a proprietary credit score that should approximate the FICO credit score. Many of these companies offer a free 3 in one credit score, which relies on the information contained in your credit reports from each of the 3 main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

  • Completely Free Credit ScoreCredit Karma. Credit Karma is a free service which offers users a TransRisk score based on information from your TransUnion credit report. This is not a FICO credit score, but it will give you a good idea of where you stand. Credit Karma does not require a credit card when you sign up for their service, so you can rest easy knowing you don’t need to worry about canceling a free trial. Here is our Credit Karma review for more information, and why we recommend this service.
  • Credit Sesame - free credit scoreCredit Sesame. Like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame is a free credit scoring service that uses credit report data to create their own proprietary credit score. The Credit Sesame credit score is based on the Experian credit report. Again, you don’t need to worry about credit cards or canceling a free trial. This is a truly free service.
  • goFreeCreditGoFreeCredit.com. GoFreeCredit stands out because they offer a credit score and credit monitoring based on all three major credit bureaus. You can get instant access to your 3 credit scores. Simply enroll in a free trial and you will receive 3 free credit scores based on the information found in your credit files with the 3 major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Also get 24/7 Triple Bureau Credit Monitoring with Instant Fraud Alerts. Visit GoFreeCredit.com for more information.
  • Equifax Credit Watch Gold with 3-in-1 Monitoring. Equifax is one of the three major credit bureaus and provides credit scores. Signing up for a free credit score from Equifax gives you a 30 day trial of their service, which includes your free FICO credit score and a 3-in-1 consolidated credit score from the three credit bureaus. The monthly fee is $14.95 if you do not cancel within 30 days.
  • TrueCredit. TrueCredit is owned byTransUnion, one of the 3 major credit bureaus. The TrueCredit credit monitoring service gives you immediate access to your TransUnion credit score, and you can set up alerts to notify you when your credit score changes. TrueCredit also offers $25,000 of identity theft insurance with their service. There is a 7 day free trial period, after which you will be charged a monthly fee of $14.95 if you wish to continue using the service. You will also full credit profile monitoring from each of the 3 credit bureaus once you pass the 7 day trial period.
  • FreeCreditScore.comFreeCreditScore.com. FreeCreditScore.com is famous for their catchy commercials. But if you read the fine print, the only way to get a free credit score from their site is to sign up for the 7 day free trial membership in Triple Advantage, then cancel before the end of the free trial period (you actually have 9 days to cancel without being charged). FreeCreditScore.com’s Triple Advantage service provides you with a Monthly Statement with your Credit Score, Alerts digest, and a summary of the key financial information that lenders use to rate you. The cost is $14.95 per month if you maintain the service.

Why should you get your free credit score?

Knowing your credit score comes in handy if you plan on applying for a loan or if you have a need for credit in the near future. For most people, it is a good practice to have an idea of your score, but it may not be necessary to know the exact number. However, reviewing your credit history frequently (at least every few months) is a good idea so you can monitor for changes to your credit profile and be alerted to possible changes or unauthorized access to your credit.


Published or updated October 30, 2012.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 fredct

First a quick typo… you meant to say “7 *day* free trial membership” under the freecreditreport description.

Second, while Ryan has made it quite clear, I want to repeat… careful careful careful! While taking advantage of free trial offers is okay if you’re the organized and proactive type, if you’re not, you can cost yourself much more.

You also should consider how much you’re saving versus how much time it’ll cost you to cancel. Chances are you’ll be on hold for a bit, followed by having to say ‘no, just cancel me’ to several different offers from the phone rep whose job is to try to stop you from canceling. Is it worth the hassle to save $20? Maybe, *if* you match the qualities above, but maybe not.

Even though I *am* the organized type (at least when it comes to this type of thing – I’ve taken good advantage of several similar free trial period offers and never been charged a penny), for this, I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle. I’d rather pay ~$20 to the bureaus to get my scores when I pull my free annual reports. Heck, you can even just pay for one score, and as long as the content of your free reports is similar on each site, you can be pretty darn confident that your score would likewise be very similar.

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2 Ryan

Good catch on the typo, fredct. :)

You bring up good points. But there are many people who prefer not to pay anything, so it’s important to get the information out there so people understand how the free credit scores really work.

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3 LeanLifeCoach

If you are concerned about your FICO, myFico is worth every penny (google for a savings code). They have a great feature that simulates your score based on criteria you determine. Pay off a debt… your score is…, take out a loan, your score is…. etc…

Totally enlightning!

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4 YOY

a “credit score” that you get with most of these products is NOT the same as your real FICO score, the only score your creditors are really interested in … save yourself and purchase your FICO score when you really need it .. well in advance of big purchases, etc so you can check for errors and get them corrected before applying for credit

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5 Ryan

Very true – most lenders want to know your FICO credit score. I noted in the article that some of them will give you a copy of your official your FICO credit score, while some of the others will give you a credit score based on a slightly different formula, but it should approximate the FICO score. All of them should give you a copy of your official credit report, which is good to check frequently if you believe you have been exposed to identity theft or a security breach.

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6 Dreamer

Don’t forget creditkarma.com. Not exactly the FICO score, but close, and free without worrying about trial periods and the like.

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7 Victor

I obtained the three free credit reports but I can’t seem to locate the FICO score. Should it be on the report or is getting the FICO a different process and is it really free?

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8 fredct

Your report is just your report. If you want a score, you have to pay for it. You should be offered the option while you get your free report (if you go through the official http://www.annualcreditreport.com anyway).

Note, however, that what you’re getting isn’t necessarily your “FICO” score. Every agency has their own tweaks on the formula, and sometimes more than one. If you really want to make sure you’re getting your ‘FICO’ score, you need to go to myfico.com

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9 krantcents

Normally, I do not pay that much attention to my credit score, because it is the result of acting financially responsibly. If your score changes, you need to pour over your credit report to make sure some erroneous information is not destroying your credit.

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