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Your credit score is an essential part of your overall financial health. You may have seen those ads for “FreeCreditScore.com” or other scammy websites.
Most of these sites offer a free credit score after you put your credit card details in. Once your 7 day free trial is up, they’ll sign you up for $15/month or worse “credit monitoring” programs that are next to worthless and a great way to make yourself poorer.
The government mandates that you can access your credit report for free every year from the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. However, they are not obligated to give you your FICO credit score.
Instead of dealing with those sites, check out these free, no credit card required alternatives to the sketchy websites the annoying jingles. I recommend checking your credit score at least three times a year, especially if you have a large financed purchase coming up, like a new home or car.
I just recently signed up for Credit Sesame to compare it to Credit Karma. CS offers you a free credit score based on your Experian credit report. Credit Sesame is ad supported, meaning you may see ads for credit cards you’re eligible for based on your credit score.
They are also including monthly credit reports, free credit monitoring services, and $50,000 of identity theft insurance, all for free. Signing up for Credit Sesame will not impact your credit score, although you do need to provide your Social Security Number. You can update your CS score once a month.
I’ve used Credit Karma for several years now. A very unobtrusive, pleasantly designed, and ad supported website similar to Credit Sesame. Credit Karma offers you a free credit score based on your TransUnion report. Signing up for Credit Karma will not impact your credit score and does require your SSN. You can update your CK score once a week.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union is offering free FICO NextGen scores to it’s members with checking accounts, credit cards, and installment loans. You can access it in the promotions box that says “Your FICO Score is Ready.” PenFed says they’ll update the score once a quarter. Note that the NextGen score is on a scale of 150-950, which is different than the 300-850 score Credit Sesame and Credit Karma give you.
USAA offers free Vantagescores credit scores when you have an eligible credit card with them. The scores update monthly and include tips to improve your credit score. A nice additional feature when you have a no annual fee, cash back credit card with USAA.