Getting a free credit report is relatively easy (for help see: What is in your credit report and why should you care?). Getting your credit score on the other hand can be more challenging. Agencies may be promising to show you your credit score for free but is it your FICO score or a FAKO score? Read on to find out how to get your FICO and other credit scores for freeee!!
(If you are not familiar with the terms FICO, FAKO, Vantage score, PLUS scores and others, please check this article : Credit Score types, what they mean and what matters)
FICO scores are the mostly widely used and most difficult to get for free. The only real place you can get your FICO for sure is myFICO (a division of FICO, Fair Isaac Corporation, the developers of the FICO score). They sell only FICO scores (Equifax & TransUnion FICO scores). myFICO’s cheapest option in $4.95/month but there are some limited free/cheaper options:
- If yor credit score has had an adverse effect : Under the new financial overhaul bill consumers have the right to a copy of their credit score if they were turned down for a loan, or if they were offered a rate other than the rate that the lender gives its best customers.
- myFICO promotions : This is the best way to get free or discounted FICO scores. Follow myFICO on twitter to get these. In fact if you enter the code FT44284 you can get your TransUnion FICO score for FREE. There are usually 20-40% off promotion codes floating around (code: SW94608 for 30% off Equifax FICO, or FICO25 for 25% off).
- Credit Unions (very very limited) : Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offers Equifax FICO scores for free to their customers, so does Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union. Unfortunately, these are the only credit unions (as far as I am aware of) that offer FICO scores for free, but it is worth checking with your credit union/bank/credit card, they might offer some kind of score for free. [Note: Even if you are not near a DCU served community it is easy to join, a $10 one time donation to "Reach Out For Schools" will make you eligible to join DCU]
- Estimate Good Enough? : If you are happy with just an estimate instead of the actual score, use the FICO® Score Estimator from myFICO.
FAKO Scores – Totally free (no kind of trial offer involved)
The scores that are not FICO scores are referred to as FAKO (FAKe – O) scores. They are developed by the credit reporting agencies and other third parties to compete with the FICO scores (hence the name). These include scores like Vantage Score, PLUS score (Experian), TransRisk score (TransUnion), industry-enhanced scores, etc. FAKO scores should give you a ball park estimate of your FICO score. I will start with my favorite place to get FAKO score for free – Credit Karma.
Credit Karma [TransUnion TransRisk] : Gives TransUnion TransRisk score for free. You can get your score as often as you like and track it using a very user-friendly Credit Karma interface. Link : Credit Karma
Credit Sesame [ Experian] : Similar to Credit Karma but draws the data from your Experian report rather than your TransUnion credit report, Credit Sesame runs a credit scoring algorithm over your credit history and spits out a score. As compared to the FICO score, it’s on a scale from 360 to 840, rather than 300 to 850. Link : Credit Sesame
Equifax Score Card [ Equifax] : Score card based on Equifax data.
[Note: If you get the Credit Karma score, Credit Sesame and the Equifax score card score, you can your scores based all your credit reports Transunion, Experian and Equifax. All these are free and put together should give an excellent indication of what your real FICO score will be]
Quizzle [CE Score – Community Empowered Credit score]: Quizzle.com provides a free CE score along with a free credit report from Experian.
American Express [Experian PLUS score] : American express card holders can get complimentary credit score from Experian. You can use this link to get it or log in to your account and under card options (or in some cards under card benefits) look for “View your complimentary credit score and report now” link. Note : This is not complimentary for ever, it is free for 30 days. After 30 days if you want to still get your score you have to enroll in one of their identity monitor programs.
Credit Cards/Banks/Credit unions[Multiple FAKO scores] : Sears Solution Master card offers free TransUnion TransRisk score to its customers. Some Citi cards offer Identity Theft monitoring for free, which also includes credit scores from all three credit bureau (they are not FICO scores though). Alliant Credit Union customers can get Vantage score for free. offers Washington Mutual card used to give PFICO scores (based on TransUnion data) but after it became Chase it no longer offers it for free.
Free with a trial (please make sure to cancel before the trial ends)
Equifax [FICO] : Equifax offers a 30 days trial for getting free credit reports from all 3 bureaus along with your credit score. Here is the link to sign up for the 30 day trial or try this alternate link. $14.95 a month if you want to go beyond the trial.
TransUnion [Vantage Score] : TransUnion offers a 30 day trial as well. This service provides the Vantage scores based on data from all 3 bureaus. Here is the link to sign up. If you do want to continue it is $14.95 a month.
Experian [PLUS Score] : Experian offers a 7 day trial to get PLUS scores from all 3 bureaus. Here is the sign up link. It is $14.95 a month if you don’t cancel within 7 days.
Identity Guard [CreditXpert Score] : Credit.com offers a 30 day trial for Identity guard. Identity Guard provides credit monitoring and CreditXpert scores using data from all 3 bureaus. 30 day trial link from credit.com If you want to keep using identity Guard it will be $14.95 a month, but if you are a Costco member you can get it for $9.49 a month using this link.
As I mentioned in my previous post, if you are shopping for any type of loan and would like to make sure you are getting the best deal, get a FICO score as that is what the lender would be seeing. If you just want to make sure you are maintaining good credit, just keep checking your credit reports and use one of the free FAKO score providers (my recommendation : Credit Karma) to get a ball park estimate of your score. If you don’t see any errors in your credit reports and you are “excellent” according to your FAKO score, you are good to go.
This post was included in the Festival of Frugality #243 hosted by SimplyForties.