Many banks, credit card issuers, credit union and financial websites offer free credit scores. Not all provide FICO scores, the most commonly used credit score by lenders. Some offer VantageScore, a newer credit score available to lenders. Both kinds are still useful because they give an indication of your creditworthiness and what terms and interest rates lenders may offer when you apply for credit. Credit scores are not fixed, but rather change as new information is added to your credit report. So, it’s beneficial to see where your score stands before applying for new credit.
Free FICO Scores for Everyone
FreeCreditScore (part of Experian) and Discover both offer free FICO scores to anyone who signs up. You just need input your personal information, including name, current address (previous address if you’ve lived at your current residence for less than six months), email address, date of birth, and Social Security number to get your score. In addition to a free FICO score, FreeCreditScore also provides your Experian credit report at no cost every 30 days. You also get credit-monitoring and alerts for your Experian credit report and a free dark web surveillance report. Discover provides a one-page scorecard that is updated every 30 days along with your FICO score The Discover scorecard includes:
- A comparison chart of your score versus the U.S. average by age
- Lists of what’s helping and what’s hurting your credit score
- A summary of the five categories that affect your credit score: credit mix, length of credit history, new credit, amount of debt and payment history
Banks That Offer Free FICO Scores for Customers
Several major banks and credit card issuers also provide a version of the FICO credit score for free on a monthly or quarterly basis for their customers, along with educational credit articles, key factors hurting your score and historical trend of your score. It’s important to note there is not just one FICO credit score and the free one that you receive may not be the same on that other lenders use. There are over 25 FICO versions, and each FICO score varies depending on which credit report it’s calculated from. In general, FICO scores range from 300 to 850, but certain scores designed for specific types of lenders—such as auto lenders and mortgage lenders—have a range of 250 to 900. Despite the many score variations, any FICO score offers a good measure of your creditworthiness.
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Chase (for Slate cardholders only)
- Commerce Bank
- First National Bank of Omaha
- Wells Fargo
- 1st United Credit Union
- Harvard University Credit Union
- Polish and Slavic Credit Union
- Premier America Credit Union
- Star One Credit Union
Other Free Credit Scores
FICO scores are not the only types of credit scores that are available. For instance, U.S. Bank customers can get their TransUnion credit score each month for free for educational purposes. But this score—sold to lenders by TransUnion—is not the same one U.S. Bank uses for credit decisions. You can also easily get your VantageScore, a credit score first introduced in 2006 and now used by more than 2,400 lenders, including the 20 of the top 25 financial institutions. The three most recent VantageScore versions use the same score range as FICO—300 to 850—while the original version ranges from 501 to 990. Even though it’s not as widely used as FICO, a free VantageScore is a helpful tool in understanding where your creditworthiness stands. Here’s where you can get your free VantageScore:
Neither VantageScore nor FICO offers its scores for free directly to consumers. FICO provides a credit score estimator on its consumer-facing website MyFico.com. The estimator will ask at least 10 specific questions about your credit habits and will generate a range for your credit score based on your responses. But the range is not as accurate as getting your actual score and in some cases, be a poor predictor of your score. FICO also sells access to its credit scores on its website. For $29.95 a month, you can get access to your TransUnion, Experian and Equifax FICO scores plus industry-specific FICO scores for mortgages, auto loans and credit cards—up to 28 different FICO scores at once.
Free Credit Reports
You can also get your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax for free once every 12 months, by law. These free reports are available at annualcreditreport.com. It’s important to review each report for any errors because your credit score is based on the information in the report, whether or not it’s accurate. Some errors—such as wrong name, address or employment—won’t affect your credit score, but they still should be corrected. Other incorrect information—like accounts that are not yours, inaccurate account details or collections, and outdated information—could damage your score if not corrected. All three bureaus have an online form to start the correction or dispute process.