There are tons of ads plastered all over the internet about free credit reports. However, most consumers are more concerned about their actual credit score, since it is the number used by creditors to make a lending decision. There are several places you can go to obtain a free credit score.
The FICO Score, which was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, is used by 90 percent of creditors when making a lending decision. Unfortunately, your FICO score cannot be accessed free of charge through their website.
How to Retrieve Your FICO Score for Free
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. In some instances, the copy you receive if you meet these criteria may also include your FICO score. You are entitled to a free credit report if your application for new credit, employment, or insurance is rejected as a result of your credit report and/or score. Be sure to request a copy of the report used to render a decision within 60 days if the creditor, employer, or insurance company does not automatically send it to you.
You are also entitled to a free credit report if you meet the following criteria:
- You are unemployed and plan to commence your search for work within 60 days
- You are a current welfare recipient
- Your report contains inaccuracies as a result of identity theft or fraud
However, your FICO score may not be included. To learn more, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228.
Credit Card Providers
You may also be able to access your official FICO score for free through your credit card issuer's online portal. Check with your credit card issuer to see if this option is available to you. The following credit card providers currently offer free FICO scores to cardholders:
|Credit Card Issuer|
|American Express||Experian FICO score is available to consumer credit and charge cardholders.|
FICO credit score is available to all cardholders.
|Capital One||FICO credit score is available to all cardholders (excluding Spark cardholders).|
Monthly FICO score is available to Chase Slate cardholders.
|Citigroup||FICO score is available to select Citi card members.|
|Discover||Transunion FICO score is available to all cardholders.|
To get started, visit the credit card issuer's website at the links listed above and create an online account. Once you are granted access to the online portal, select the link or tab that allows you to view your credit score.
Select major banks and credit unions also offer their customers free access to their FICO score so they can stay on top of their credit health. These include:
- Ally Financial: Official FICO scores are offered to all Ally Auto customers.
- First National Bank: Official FICO score is available to First National Bank customers.
- USAA: Free monthly FICO score is available to USAA members.
To access your free FICO score using these options, enroll in online banking and locate the tab or link on credit reports and/or scores.
Alternative Credit Scores
Some lenders use alternative credit scoring models to evaluate your creditworthiness and issues a loan decision. A few examples of alternative credit scores, or FAKO scores, include:
|Service Provider||Type of Score(s)|
|Credit.com||VantageScore 3.0 from Experian, Experian's National Equivalency Score|
|Credit Karma||VantageScore 3.0 from TransUnion, Equifax|
|Credit Sesame||Experian's National Risk Model Score|
|WalletHub||VantageScore 3.0 from TransUnion|
Once you have created an online account using the links listed above, your credit score(s) will automatically appear on the home page each time you login.
An Important Consideration
If none of the options above work for you, consider enrolling in the Experian Credit Works program. It will only cost you $1 for the 7-day trial period but be sure to cancel your subscription immediately after retrieving your FICO score to avoid any additional fees.