If you want your credit score for free, there are several ways to get it. One is to apply for credit. If you are turned down or charged more for credit based on your score, the lender must tell you the score that was used in the decision.
But that’s kind of complicated. What if you don’t want to fill out a credit application just to try to find out your score? And what if you get approved at the best terms? The lender doesn’t have to send you your score in that instance.
Another way to get your credit score at no cost is to sign up for a trial membership to a credit monitoring service. These services usually offer a 10-day free trial or something similar. If you don’t cancel after the trial period ends, you will be charged for an ongoing membership. These services can be useful if you want to monitor your credit with more than one credit reporting agency.
There’s another way to get your credit score for free, though, and that is to use a tool like Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. You’ll get your free credit scores, plus a breakdown of the factors that affect your credit.
3 Credit Score Facts to Keep in Mind
When you do review your credit scores, keep a couple of important things in mind:
1. You have many credit scores. At any given time, there are dozens of credit score models that can be used by lenders or insurance companies to evaluate applicants or customers. There’s no single “accurate” or “real” score; the score lenders use depends on their needs at that time. Instead of obsessing about the number, look at what your score is telling you about your credit. Is it good? Not so good? You may also find it helpful to see how you compare to other consumers.
2. Scores change. In fact, these numbers are created when they are requested. If new information about your credit is reported to the credit reporting agencies, then the next time your score is requested and calculated, it will be different. That means that checking your credit score shouldn’t be a one-time event. Monitoring your score over time will allow you to see how it’s changing and spot problems.
3. Your score is only as good as the information behind it. The score is calculated using information in one of your three credit reports — Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. If that information is wrong, then this number won’t accurately reflect your creditworthiness. For that reason, it’s important to also get your free annual credit reports to make sure they don’t contain mistakes.
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