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How to get your credit scores for free

Many banks and credit unions give you access to a free FICO score.

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Knowing your credit score lets you better gauge your chances of approval for certain credit products, such as mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.

There are many ways to check your credit score for free, including:

  • Using a credit card. Some credit cards print your score on your monthly statement, or on your account summary online.
  • Checking with a credit bureau. Each year you’re entitled to a free credit check from each of the three credit bureau— Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Banks. Some banks give you access to your credit score for free, even if you aren’t a member.

Where can I find my free FICO score?

Typically, you’ll find your score through your online card account. Oftentimes, your provider will print your score on your card statements, or you can check your score via the card provider’s mobile app.

How to get free credit score checks using a credit card

Credit cards let you access your FICO credit score at no cost. It’s updated monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. Here’s how to access your score for free using a credit card.

  1. The home page should indicate if the provider offers complimentary credit score checks. If you’re not sure, call a representative to confirm.
  2. Verify if you’ll receive a FICO or VantageScore.
  3. Start the application process online. Complete the application with details such as your name, Social Security number, contact information and annual income.
  4. In many cases, you’ll receive an immediate decision. If the provider needs to review your application further, wait up to two weeks to hear back.

What’s the difference between the FICO score and VantageScore?

These are the top two types of credit scores on the market. Here’s how they differ:

  • FICO Score. This is the main score lenders use to determine your creditworthiness. It’s administered by the Fair Isaac Corp.
  • VantageScore. This is the FICO score’s main competitor, developed by the three major US credit bureaus. However, lenders use it far less often for credit decisions.

If you’re picking a card based on its access to credit scores, look at what type of score you’ll receive. Credit cards from major issuers likely offer FICO scores, but it never hurts to check. Browse a credit card’s landing page to confirm, or call the provider.

Card providerFICO score or VantageScore?
American ExpressFICO
Bank of AmericaFICO
BarclaycardFICO
Capital OneVantageScore
ChaseVantageScore
CitiFICO
DiscoverFICO
US BankVantageScore
Wells FargoFICO

Compare credit cards with free credit score checks

Getting a card with free credit score checks can help you keep an eye on your credit score. Otherwise, you’d have to pay for a credit check every time you want to see where your credit score stands. Compare a few credit card options that offer free credit score checks.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
$200 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$300 after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months (Offer expires 12/10/2020)
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $300. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Citi® Double Cash Card
N/A
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Which providers offer free credit score checks?

If a provider offers free FICO score checks, it probably limits access to customers only. In rare cases — such as with Discover — non-customers can access their credit scores too.

If you find a bank that offers complimentary credit scores to non-customers, pay special attention to which type of score is provided. Free scores are often VantageScores, which may not accurately gauge your creditworthiness among the majority of lenders.

Banks that offer free FICO scores

A participating bank usually updates your FICO score monthly, and you typically must have one of its consumer credit cards. Each credit bureau may calculate your score a bit differently, so we’ve included the credit bureau each bank pulls your score from.

BankCredit bureau
American ExpressExperian
Bank of AmericaTransUnion
BarclaysTransUnion
First CommonwealthExperian
CitiEquifax
DiscoverExperian (Discover ScoreCard);
TransUnion (cardholders)
First National Bank of OmahaExperian
HSBCEquifax
HuntingtonEquifax
Merrick BankTransUnion/Experian
Synchrony (select cards only)TransUnion
SunTrustEquifax
Union BankExperian
USAAExperian
Wells FargoExperian

Credit unions that offer free FICO scores

A participating credit union usually updates your credit score quarterly. Typically, you must have one of its consumer credit cards, but you may be able to access your FICO score if you’re a general member.

Credit unionCredit bureau
1st United Credit UnionExperian
America First Credit UnionExperian
Andrews Federal Credit UnionEquifax
Community Credit Union of FloridaExperian
Coulee Dam Federal Credit UnionEquifax
Digital Federal Credit UnionEquifax
DuPont Community Credit UnionEquifax
Elevations Credit UnionExperian
Fairfax County Federal Credit UnionEquifax
Fortera Credit UnionEquifax
General Electric Credit UnionEquifax
Harvard University Employees Credit UnionExperian
Healthcare Systems Federal Credit UnionEquifax
Interra Credit UnionTransUnion
KeyPoint Credit UnionExperian
Langley Federal Credit UnionEquifax
Listerhill Credit UnionEquifax
Michigan State University Federal Credit UnionExperian
Mountain America Federal Credit UnionExperian
NASA Federal Credit UnionExperian
Navy Federal Credit UnionEquifax
PenFed Credit UnionEquifax
Pennsylvania State Employees Credit UnionExperian
Polish & Slavic Credit UnionExperian
Premier America Credit UnionExperian
Robins Financial Credit UnionEquifax
Stanford Federal Credit UnionExperian
Star One Credit UnionExperian
State Employees’ Credit UnionEquifax
TrueCore Federal Credit UnionExperian
Whatcom Educational Credit UnionExperian

How to get your credit score using Discover

Discover is one of the rare financial institutions that lets non-members access their FICO credit score for free. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit Discover’s website.
  2. Find Credit Scorecard under All products menu.
  3. Click Get my score.
  4. Fill out the form and create an online Discover Scorecard account. Note, this is not a bank account and you don’t need to be a Discover bank account holder.
  5. Access your FICO score.

How to get your credit score by checking with a bureau

There are two ways you can get your free credit score from the credit bureaus:

  1. One-time free credit score in 12 months. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 to get your one-time free credit score every 12 months.
  2. With myEquifax account. Open a free myEquifax account and get six free credit reports each year.

Why does it matter which credit bureau data my score is calculated with?

There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Each compiles data about you from credit providers, which FICO uses to generate your credit score.

While each bureau will largely have the same information on you, their data will differ. For example, some creditors might report your information to just one or two of the bureaus. That’s why your credit score will be different depending on which bureau’s data it was derived from.

Can I get an additional credit report for free?

In some cases, you can get an additional free credit report. However, you have to be eligible first. This means you have to be either:

  • Unemployed with the intention to apply for employment within 60 days.
  • Receiving public welfare assistance.
  • Investigating inaccurate information on your credit report due to fraud.
  • Denied credit or insurance within the past 60 days.

What is a good FICO score?

Generally, a good FICO score is 670 or higher. A number of factors go into determining your credit score and the benefit of having a great score extend beyond just nabbing a great rewards card. Read more about how your credit score works.

Do authorized users get access to free credit score?

As the primary account holder, you get access to the free credit scores. If you have an authorized user who’d like to check their score, consider pointing them to a service open to non-customers, such as the Discover Credit Scorecard.

Bottom line

Now that you know how to check your credit score for free, make sure you keep an eye on it. Getting clear about your credit score gives you a better idea of what you need to work on. If you’re building your credit, for example, it’s helpful to know where you’re starting from and what to do. With a good to excellent credit score, you can safely apply for many types of loans and get relatively low-interest rates.

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