How to Check Your Credit Score for Free…really
May 23, 2012

By Carlin Sack for Binksty.com

So, your credit score is pretty important, right? You need it to know if you are eligible for loans and credit cards, and your score can even affect insurance rates. So naturally, you would like to find out your score for free. Here are a few tips to know about getting a truly free credit score!

First of all, just to clear things up, a credit score is different than a credit report. A credit score is an actual number, a three-digit one that can range from 300 to 850. The primary credit score company that gives a pretty realistic evaluation is FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation), so sometimes credit scores are also called FICO scores. There are three major credit bureaus provide you with scores: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Three credit companies, three credit scores.

A credit report, on the other hand, is a more in-depth evaluation of your credit and the U.S. government entitles everyone to a free report each year. For a report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

Anyways, you probably want the free scores still! Here are a few sites that will not require you to type in your credit card number or require a monthly subscription fee.

Credit Sesame and Quizzle are based on your Experian credit report. After providing your social security number, Credit Sesame gives you your credit score, monthly loan payment and your current debt and assets. Quizzle can provide you with credit score updates every six months, so you can see how your credit is changing over time.

Equifax Credit Score Card is based on your Equifax credit report. This score will be the least precise of the three, because you will only be able to get a roundabout score for free. The Equifax Credit Score Card will give you a score range (Low, Below Average, Average, Above Average, High) and summarize a few negative factors on your report.

Credit Karma is based on your TransUnion credit report. Credit Karma will give you your credit score and also put your score in context of the U.S. population with a comparison chart and a national percentile.

Of course, these are not the only companies that provide consumers with credit scores. There are numerous companies that provide all three scores, but for a monthly cost. Others will give users a free trial, but begin charging users’ credit cards if they do not cancel the subscription. To avoid this messiness, give the sites above a few clicks. By finding out your credit scores, you are taking just one more step to being financially responsible.

Carlin Sack writes for Binksty.com and attends Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism