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How do I check my Credit Score (for free?)

1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I know that I can receive free credit reports online, but never have I seen the score.

I also know that services like "FreeCreditReport.com" aren't actually free. My question is: isn't there a service that I am able to use that is legally required to give me a credit score for free once a year? Or am I stuck with just the reports?

1ddqd on

Posts

  • The Count Of Midget FistoThe Count Of Midget Fisto Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I believe the free service is https://www.annualcreditreport.com. You're allowed to check it once for free ever 12 months.

    In Low Orbit Over Budapest
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I believe the free service is https://www.annualcreditreport.com. You're allowed to check it once for free ever 12 months.

    This is the site, but I actually think you're allowed to get 1 from each of the 3 agencies every 12 months for free, so if you stagger them, you can check your report for free every 4 months.

  • EllthiterenEllthiteren Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Annualcreditreport.com is the website where you can get your three free yearly reports. I'm pretty sure you have to purchase the actual credit score, however.

  • DeebaserDeebaser Alpha Teemo Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    1ddqd wrote: »
    My question is: isn't there a service that I am able to use that is legally required to give me a credit score for free once a year? Or am I stuck with just the reports?

    You have to purchase the scores.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't think annualcreditreport gives a score, just a report.

    I've gotten free scores by signing up for a pay for service that offers a free trial period, and then get the score/report, and cancel before the trial ends, usually the same or next day. You have to give them a credit card number to sign up.

    I've noticed that different "scoring" sites give different scores. For example the scores given me from freecreditreport.com are significantly higher than the scores reported from myfico.

  • OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle and you're not happy, but you're funny and I'm tripping over my joyRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    When I applied for a car loan my bank pulled it and told me. Maybe you could ask them.

    I'm a published writer and have a very unique and interesting writing style. I'm also sharp and witty. My profile is well-written and hilarious. My messages are likewise brilliant. And I've been doing this stuff for...four or five years. I know what "works" in terms of good internet dating writing. "Works" in the sense of leading to a "date" with a human female.
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Daenris wrote: »
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

    Yeah CreditKarma is the main place to get free scores, but it's just an estimate. If you want to buy your score, I use myFICO.com.

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    So I checked AnnualCreditReport.com for anything I could find about scores, but still no luck.

    CreditKarma.com seems like a pretty polished (mint.com-like) site. I think their estimate of my score is probably pretty good, considering my situations. I'm surprised they graded the types of credit I have as an A, since I don't have a mortage (but I do have student loans, car loans, credit card/lines).

    I have 98.99% on-time history, yet that was graded a B. Interesting.

    I like CreditKarma but it seems they only track one company (TU). Not a big deal but it'd be nice to have more. I don't see anything that requires me to to sign up in order to continue monitoring it, so that's nice. Plus, they'll simulate different scenarios to see how it affects your score. Kudos, Daenris.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    FreeCreditReport.com really is, to my knowledge, the easiest way. You just have to take the time to cancel afterward. And, IIRC, they make you do it by phone. But seriously, it's super-easy.

    I don't know if you can do it once a year, though. Nobody's obligated to give you your score anyway, just the report.

  • Rubix42Rubix42 Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Best bet is to apply for a loan at a bank or mortgage lender. They can confirm the credit score, it won't cost you anything but a few minutes on the phone and then you tell them no thanks.

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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Remember that every time you check your score it actually affects your score in a small way. I don't know the exact details but you should bear this in mind.

    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • SoulStalkerSoulStalker Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Actually I don't believe checking your own credit score affects your credit negatively. Applying for additional credit does, however, especially if you get rejected.

    Anyone know how to get a free credit score/report in Canada? The only way I've seen so far involves copies of ID and snail mail. Is there a simpler alternative?

    Misanthropist extraordinaire.
  • LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Annualcreditreport.com is the website where you can get your three free yearly reports. I'm pretty sure you have to purchase the actual credit score, however.

    From my experience, this is true. You can get your credit reports for free, but you have to pay if you want to get your actual credit score.

    That's the rub

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    After messing about with FreeCreditReport, TU, and Equifax, I think the best "free" alternative is using the Karma.

    As for checks of what the credit score is, I can tell you all for sure that they show up as "Soft" inquiries. This doesn't affect your score in any way, just shows up on your history. Companies that want to offer you products can get your information from companies like TU, so every time you get junk mail saying "Pre Approved!" it's a soft inquiry as well.

    The so-called "Hard" inquires are those that have actual intent behind it, like getting a loan for a house/car/etc.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    When you do get your credit score, keep in mind that not every place uses the same scale. Like some places use a scoring system that maxes out at around 850 and other places max out at 900-something. I think Ficos max in the 800s.

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    FICO ranges from up to 850 from Transunion. My estimate from CreditKarma was based on that scale (609 :( )

  • CrashmoCrashmo Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    1ddqd wrote: »
    FICO ranges from up to 850 from Transunion. My estimate from CreditKarma was based on that scale (609 :( )

    Don't feel bad, when I got married my credit score was so low I had to take my name off of our house loan to get it approved.

    polar-bearsig.jpg
  • InkyblotsInkyblots Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I'm almost 23 and my have not done anything to build my credit which is almost worse than having bad credit.

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Inkyblots wrote: »
    I'm almost 23 and my have not done anything to build my credit which is almost worse than having bad credit.

    Exactly why I got a credit card a few years ago. I use it for big ish purchases, and pay it within the week.

    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Willeth wrote: »
    Inkyblots wrote: »
    I'm almost 23 and my have not done anything to build my credit which is almost worse than having bad credit.

    Exactly why I got a credit card a few years ago. I use it for big ish purchases, and pay it within the week.

    This is a good idea. Just make sure you pay it off every month.

    A credit score is like $10. I would rather spend that then do one of those averaging/estimating sites, since there's been some changes with the FICO and the new VantageScore, it might be worth it to get the 'real' number.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

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  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The one thing I use my credit card for is bills - all set up on ACH, credit card pays off on ACH, it's completely automatic but builds credit for me. My score is low because I was stupid in 2006 :(

  • NoobexmachinaNoobexmachina Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Just want to throw a warning. I signed up for Zendough (Transunion's credit monitoring service) and cancelled after a month because I was willing to spend $15 to get a quick and easy credit report + score. I signed up and cancelled in February and realized they were still charging me. They told me last month that they would stop billing me and give me a refund for the months after I cancelled my account, but they haven't done so and even charged me again this month. I just got off the phone with them and they gave me more reassurances that this time for real they're going to stop billing me and give me a refund. We'll see... I'm such a sucker.

    Anyway, they don't seem to stall too much on the phone when you want to cancel, but there seems to be a high level of incompetence with their billing department.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Just want to throw a warning. I signed up for Zendough (Transunion's credit monitoring service) and cancelled after a month because I was willing to spend $15 to get a quick and easy credit report + score. I signed up and cancelled in February and realized they were still charging me. They told me last month that they would stop billing me and give me a refund for the months after I cancelled my account, but they haven't done so and even charged me again this month. I just got off the phone with them and they gave me more reassurances that this time for real they're going to stop billing me and give me a refund. We'll see... I'm such a sucker.

    Anyway, they don't seem to stall too much on the phone when you want to cancel, but there seems to be a high level of incompetence with their billing department.

    Call your credit card and block/reverse it from there.

  • LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    a5ehren wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

    Yeah CreditKarma is the main place to get free scores, but it's just an estimate. If you want to buy your score, I use myFICO.com.

    CreditKarma listed me 40 points lower than my actual FICO score, just FYI.

    If I didn't know LaPuzza wasn't a spambot I would think that was a spambot post.
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    LaPuzza wrote: »
    a5ehren wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

    Yeah CreditKarma is the main place to get free scores, but it's just an estimate. If you want to buy your score, I use myFICO.com.

    CreditKarma listed me 40 points lower than my actual FICO score, just FYI.

    Same here (60 points lower, even), but you get what you pay for ;)

  • Mace1370Mace1370 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I signed up with freecreditreport.com, planning to cancel immediately after checking my score. However, when I call the # to cancel I just hear a short message "Thank you for calling, we care about your credit knowledge" or something like that and then silence. No one answers. There is no message that I am on hold. I stayed on the line for 10 minutes and hung up. Is their call center down or something?

    edit: I got through. I'm not sure if their call center was down or what but it finally worked after calling a few times.

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    a5ehren wrote: »
    LaPuzza wrote: »
    a5ehren wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

    Yeah CreditKarma is the main place to get free scores, but it's just an estimate. If you want to buy your score, I use myFICO.com.

    CreditKarma listed me 40 points lower than my actual FICO score, just FYI.

    Same here (60 points lower, even), but you get what you pay for ;)

    Just to throw another data point it, it had me about 5 points higher at the time that I got an official credit score report, and my wife was like 2 points different (forget which way). It's definitely going to vary, but it should be a good ballpark that you can monitor for free until/unless you need an official report.

  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Daenris wrote: »
    a5ehren wrote: »
    LaPuzza wrote: »
    a5ehren wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Ah, yes, I was thinking report, not score. To get an official credit score free you'd need to sign up for a free trial of a paid site, then hope that they don't give you any difficulty in canceling before the trial period is up.

    To get an estimate of your score, I've used creditkarma.com in the past, and for me at least it gives reasonable estimates of my actual score. I think I remember another similar site, but I can't recall the name of it.

    Yeah CreditKarma is the main place to get free scores, but it's just an estimate. If you want to buy your score, I use myFICO.com.

    CreditKarma listed me 40 points lower than my actual FICO score, just FYI.

    Same here (60 points lower, even), but you get what you pay for ;)

    Just to throw another data point it, it had me about 5 points higher at the time that I got an official credit score report, and my wife was like 2 points different (forget which way). It's definitely going to vary, but it should be a good ballpark that you can monitor for free until/unless you need an official report.

    Yeah. I will say that my credit file is pretty "thin" (it's all credit card accounts), so pretty much anything can have a big effect on my score. If your credit is more established (like you've already taken a big loan on a car or house or something), it will probably be more accurate.

  • Rubix42Rubix42 Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Just to clear up some random credit myths that are being spread in this thread.

    And for my qualifications, I've been employed at a mortgage lender and view credit reports all day for the last 7 years.

    Multiple looks at your credit report have a very minor impact to your credit score, like less than 5 points, and only in specific situations. If you call 5 mortgage lenders and they pull 5 credit reports in say a 1 week timeframe, this will not change your credit score. It shows you are shopping for a loan, which is a smart credit decision.

    If you have a mortgage company look, credit card company, car loan, 2nd credit card, retail card (think Best Buy/Gap/Lowes/etc) and another type, it can make a small impact. As it shows you are spreading credit around and the score is bracing for a larger impact of a lot of new debt.

    In either case, those inquiries only last on the report for 3 months as an impact to the score. Reason why is that after 3 months you either have a new account showing on the report, or you don't. Very rarely will it take longer to show a new account on the report.

    All credit scores are based on a scale that slides to 850 or 900. I've never seen a score higher than 807. Anything over 720 is considered perfect credit in all situations that you would be looking to borrow money.
    700 is very good
    680 is good
    660 is fair
    640 is ok
    620 and below is poor, normally means you have a collection or late payment history on an account pulling the score down.

    For those people looking to build credit, a better safer way than a credit card is a small bank loan of say $500 or $1,000. Take the money out, should have a low interest rate, set up an account with automatic payments and add the money for interest to the account. This will boost your credit score tons, because it shows you paying off a debt over time.

    The credit card paying off every month is not as effective because it doesn't show you as paying off debt, just shows a reported $0 balance with a $0 payment. It helps, but not that much. If you are set on using a credit card, charge $200 or $300 and pay it off at $20 per month until it is gone.

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  • LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Rubix42 wrote: »
    The credit card paying off every month is not as effective because it doesn't show you as paying off debt, just shows a reported $0 balance with a $0 payment. It helps, but not that much.

    Counterpoint: exactly this, with no other credit history, got me into the 800s.

    If I didn't know LaPuzza wasn't a spambot I would think that was a spambot post.
  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    LaPuzza wrote: »
    Rubix42 wrote: »
    The credit card paying off every month is not as effective because it doesn't show you as paying off debt, just shows a reported $0 balance with a $0 payment. It helps, but not that much.

    Counterpoint: exactly this, with no other credit history, got me into the 800s.

    Yeah - I'm at 790 doing this (this being paying all my CC balances in full every month, right?) along with paying all my bills on time.

  • KillerBeeGeesKillerBeeGees Registered User regular
    Reviving this with a question about building your credit score, mostly about Rubix's comments, and another question.
    Rubix42 wrote:
    For those people looking to build credit, a better safer way than a credit card is a small bank loan of say $500 or $1,000. Take the money out, should have a low interest rate, set up an account with automatic payments and add the money for interest to the account. This will boost your credit score tons, because it shows you paying off a debt over time.

    The credit card paying off every month is not as effective because it doesn't show you as paying off debt, just shows a reported $0 balance with a $0 payment. It helps, but not that much. If you are set on using a credit card, charge $200 or $300 and pay it off at $20 per month until it is gone.

    Is there a way to build credit without paying interest...? This seems a bit ridiculous.

    Also, when a landlord is doing credit checks as a part of a rental application, what are they looking at exactly? What do I look at to know what they are seeing?

    SCII: Slickis.388 [Plat. Z]
This discussion has been closed.