Control your borrowing power by knowing where to check your credit score and keeping an eye on it.
Your financial history as a borrower is documented in your credit report and your credit score is calculated using that information. Lenders can use this score — along with your report — to assess the risk involved in lending to you.
Keeping tabs on your credit score can help keep your financial reputation in check and improve the chances of an application being approved. And by checking your credit report regularly, you’ll have a full overview of your credit history.
How do I check my credit score?
You have a few options when it comes to seeing your credit score.
- Check with your credit card issuer, bank or lender. An easy way to see your credit score is by doing business with a financial institution that provides you with your score each month. You can find your score on your monthly credit card statement or by logging into your online account. Many major providers have begun to provide scores on your bill and online.
- Buy from a credit scoring service. Other options include submitting a request to a credit score service. Some services require that you sign up for a monthly subscription service, while others require a one-time fee.
- MyFICO. FICO provides customized calculations of your credit history to lenders based on loan need, for example mortgages or car loans. You cannot buy these customized FICO scores, but you buy your score calculated with a general FICO model. Access to a one-bureau FICO Score and credit monitoring starts at $19.95 a month, whereas $58.85 gives you access to a three-bureau report and score. Annual subscriptions are also available.
- Purchase from the credit reporting bureaus. You can go direct to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and buy your credit score and report in a package.
- Experian CreditWorks. Experian allows you to view a score based on the FICO Score 8 model — plus your credit report — for $24.99 a month.
- Equifax. You can get access to your credit report and score based on the Equifax Credit Score model for 30 days for $15.95
- TransUnion. For $19.95 a month, TransUnion will provide you unlimited access to you credit score based on the VantageScore 3.0 model and your credit report.
- Nonprofit credit counselors. To assess your credit situation, counselors will have to pull your credit report and credit score in order to go over areas of improvement with you.
Keep in mind that you have more than one credit score and your score will vary by the company you request it from.
Can I get my credit score online for free?
Yes. There are many informational finance websites that’ll be able to provide you with a free credit score, however, the score that most of these websites show are your VantageScore and not your FICO score.
So while getting your free credit score online can give you a ballpark of what your credit rating is, knowing your FICO score is most important because that’s the one most lenders use when weighing your credit application.
Get your FICO score for free
Discover allows everyone to check their FICO credit score which is based off of data from Experian — customer or not.
Get your VantageScore 3.0 for free
Capital One lets anyone access their free VantageScore 3.0, which is derived from TransUnion, and updates your score once a week.
Do I need to check my credit report as well as my credit score?
It’s good practice to review your credit report annually to confirm that lenders see the most accurate picture of your financial health.
Because your credit report is directly affiliated with your credit score, not knowing what’s on your credit report could lead to unknown erroneous information weighing your credit score down.
FICO score vs. VantageScore credit ratings
Lenders and even the bureaus weigh the information in your credit history differently, but they’ve widely adopted two scores: FICO Score and VantageScore. Both weigh the same factors when determining your credit score, including how long you’ve had credit, your payment history, your credit utilization ratio and how many loan and other types of credit you carry.
Today, FICO Scores are used in 90% of credit decisions, which makes it a good barometer of how potential lenders might see you when determining approval.
|Credit rating||FICO Score||VantageScore|
579 or lower
600 or lower