Keeping track of your credit can easily save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Access to free information about your credit reports and credit scores has increased drastically.
Here are some great resources you can use to find out more about your credit reports and credit scores.
Where to Get Your Credit Reports for Free
While your credit score is important, verifying the information on your credit report is even more important.
Since your credit scores are calculated based off of the information on your credit reports, an error on your reports can easily result in an error in your credit score.
The official place to get your free credit report from all three credit bureaus is AnnualCreditReport.com. You can get a free credit report once every twelve months from each bureau.
Personally, I space my credit reports out and pull one every four months to hopefully catch any fraudulent activity before it spreads too far. If you wish, you can pull all three bureaus at the same time and only pull your reports from AnnualCreditReport.com once per year.
CreditKarma.com offers free credit reports from both Transunion and Equifax. They organize the information in a helpful manner that allows you to either explore your full credit reports or look at recent changes to your report or other potential areas of concern.
Quizzle.com offers a full version of your Equifax credit report once every three months. You can pay a fee to view your credit report more often, if you wish.
Quizzle.com makes money by selling you products and services. Once they pull your credit report, they analyze it and see where you could improve various parts of your finances. They may try to sell you a new mortgage or credit card.
Only sign up for these if you were planning to anyway, or if they would save you money.
Where to Get Your Credit Scores for Free
Credit scores are what most lenders use to determine whether or not to approve your application for credit, whether it be a car loan, credit card or mortgage.
Unfortunately, there are many different credit scoring models and different companies use different scores to make their decisions.
The credit scores you receive from the websites below likely won’t be the same credit scores used to determine whether or not your credit application will be approved or not, but they are at least a good indicator of what range your score likely is in.
Keep in mind, different scoring models may have different point ranges. Some credit scores may top out at 850, while others may top out at 900.
Your Current Credit Cards
Your current credit cards may already offer a free credit score as a benefit. I personally have credit cards with the following banks that offer free credit scores:
- American Express
If you have a card from any of these banks and don’t know how to get your free credit score, call the phone number on the back of your card and ask a customer service representative.
The nice thing about using your current credit cards to view your credit scores is you won’t likely be sold other products like you will on the below sites.
The main free credit score Credit.com offers you is called Experian’s National Equivalency score. This score can range from 360 to 840. If you click on the other scores link, you can also see your Experian VantageScore 3.0 which ranges from 300-850.
Be careful about any offers to see FICO scores or credit reports. They will likely cost you money up front and may be part of a recurring subscription that will charge monthly.
Credit scores on Credit.com can be updated once every 30 days.
CreditKarma.com offers credit scores from two bureaus, Transunion and Equifax. Both scores are the VantageScore 3.0 using information from each bureau. These scores range from 300 to 850.
You can refresh your credit scores every 7 days, based on what I gathered from my experience with them.
CreditSesame.com uses Transunion to provide free credit score data. They use Transunion’s VantageScore, but they do not mention which version or the range of the credit scores possible. They update your free credit score information once per month.
In addition the the free credit reports mentioned above, Quizzle.com offers you your Experian VantageScore 3.0 credit score once every 90 days. This score ranges between 300 and 850.
Use These Tools but Be Wary of Selling Tactics
The free credit score tools are a great way to track your credit scores. Just remember, the above companies offer these scores for free because they hope to make money off of you. They do this by selling you other credit products which they then earn a commission on.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they do and many of their offers can save people a substantial amount of money. However, the offers they present you may not be the best possible offers for you.
You just need to be aware so that you can do research elsewhere and then make the best decision for you.
Related: How Your Credit Score Is Calculated
Do you use any of the free credit report or free credit score tools mentioned above? What do you like and dislike about each one? Let me know in the comments below.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.