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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.
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
Some credit cards provide your 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.
- The home page should indicate if the provider offers complimentary credit score checks. If you’re not sure, call a representative to confirm.
- Verify if you’ll receive a FICO or VantageScore.
- Start the application process online. Complete the application with details such as your name, Social Security number, contact information and annual income.
- 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 provider||FICO score or VantageScore?|
|Bank of America||FICO|
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:
- Visit Discover’s website.
- Find Credit Scorecard under All products menu.
- Click Get my score.
- 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.
- Access your FICO score.
Get your credit score with these paid services
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
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.
|Bank of America||TransUnion|
|Discover||Experian (Discover ScoreCard);|
|First National Bank of Omaha||Experian|
|Synchrony (select cards only)||TransUnion|
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Frequently asked questions
Why is my credit score important?
The better your credit score, the more likely you’ll be approved for products that require credit — for example, mortgages and auto loans. Your credit score might even affect your chances of landing a job or being approved for an apartment.
Bottom line: Your credit score signals to lenders how responsible of a borrower you’ll be.
Why is my FICO score more important than my VantageScore?
Both scoring models gauge your creditworthiness. However, you’ll typically want to weigh your FICO score more heavily because it’s what more lenders use to evaluate you.
Is it more difficult to get a credit card that offers a free FICO score?
Not necessarily. You’ll find this benefit in many accessible cards. It’s more important to focus on your credit score and annual income when gauging your chances of approval.
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