Checking your credit score keeps you up-to-date on your creditworthiness and also helps you to see if there’s been any fraudulent activity on any of your accounts.
AnnualCreditReport.com is the main way to obtain your full official credit report for free every week. But there are other options like apps and sites that offer a way to check your credit score for free – but it might be an educational score and not your official one.
Will getting my free credit report hurt my credit?
You can check your credit score without penalty as frequently as you’d like. Doing so won’t negatively impact your credit score.
When you request free educational credit scores — which are unofficial and sometimes referred to as “soft inquiries” — your requests for these scores won’t be visible to lenders nor negatively impact your creditworthiness.
5 ways to get a free credit report
There are three places you can go to get your credit report for free:
- AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the best way to get your free credit report from all three major credit bureaus. It’s safe and authorized by the federal government. You can call or visit the site to obtain your weekly report. If you choose to visit the site, follow these steps:
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Go to Request your free credit reports.
- Click on Select your credit reports.
- Input your personal information, including your name, Social Security number and address.
- Choose whether you want an Experian, TransUnion or Equifax report.
- Answer some questions related to your past residence or finances.
- Experian. When you sign up for your free Experian account, you can get a free official FICO Score 8 as well as your official credit report. Your FICO Score 8 is created specifically for credit card issuers to help them understand if a borrower might be over 90 days late on a credit card payment in the next 24 months.
- Equifax. When you sign up for a free myEquifax account, you can get six free official Equifax credit reports each year. Equifax offers you a score based on the VantageScore 3.0 model, which scores your credit in a range from 300 to 850 like FICO.
- VantageScore. VantageScore is is the alternative credit-scoring model to FICO. Your VantageScore factors in data such as payment history, depth of credit and balances, which comes from your credit reports with the three main credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Providers such as Credit Karma, CreditWise and Credit Sesame offer you a free credit score using this model.
- FICO. Your FICO score is a number within the range of 300 to 850 that signifies your credit worthiness. FICO is the most widely used credit scoring system in the US. You can get your FICO score from Equifax every month for free.
Watch out for free credit report alternatives
You’re legally allowed a copy of your credit report for free, so be wary of apps and providers that make you pay for it. And keep in mind that some providers only offer an educational credit score, which isn’t official, and uses a soft inquiry to make the calculations.
Keeping up with your score not only helps you get an idea of your creditworthiness, but it can help you spot inaccuracies in the reports and even show you where you might be forgetting to make certain payments.
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