Get Your True FICO Credit Score from myFICO.com

Knowing your credit score is an essential part of staying on top of your finances. Getting an official FICO credit score will help you keep tabs on how well you’re managing your money.

There are several different ways to get your credit score for free without having to enter your credit card information. There’s no trial membership to keep track of and cancel down the road.

However, keep in mind that not all credit scores are created equal. A service such as myFICO offers an actual FICO credit score, while websites such as Credit Sesame and Credit Karma provide VantageScores.

Wondering what the difference between a FICO credit score and a VantageScore is? Here’s more information about the two as well as ways to get each one cheaply (or free!).

What is a Credit Score?

Credit scores are three-digit numbers generated by a mathematical algorithm using information from your credit report. Their purpose is to predict the likelihood of default on your credit obligations and the associated risk.

FICO (Fair Isaac) scores range from 300 to 850, where the lower the number, the higher the risk of extending credit. The majority of financial institutions in the U.S. use FICO scores when making decisions about lending money or extending consumer credit.

Related: The Dangers of Being Careless with Your Credit Score

On the other hand, a VantageScore is a product developed by the three credit rating agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It’s an alternative to the FICO credit score and uses proprietary models from the credit bureaus to predict risk.

VantageScore uses a different rating scale than FICO and emphasizes credit utilization, payment history, depth of credit, credit card balances and so on. Scores range between 501 and 990 with higher scores indicating lower risk.

Additionally, VantageScore offers an alphabetical version of the numerical score ranging from A to F. Consumers with A scores are the most creditworthy while a rating of F warns creditors to steer away from extending credit.

What is a Good Credit Score?

Since a FICO credit score uses a different model than VantageScore, each one has a diverse range for what’s considered low risk.

Since FICO scores range from 300 to 850, anything above 800 is considered exceptional. Scores between 740 and 799 are very good, 670 to 739 are good and represent the median credit score. Below average scores are between 580 and 669, and a poor score is anything below 579.

Having a VantageScore below 630 is considered poor. An average score range is 630 to 690 while anything in the 690 to 720 range is considered good credit. If your VantageScore is higher than 720, give yourself a high five–that’s excellent.

How to Find Out Your Credit Score Online

To make sure your credit score is as high as possible, you’ll need to keep a close eye on it, preferably before you’re applying for a line of credit. Finding your free FICO credit score online isn’t as easy as you might think, as the FICO credit score is not available at most online merchants.

Related: The Best Free Credit Score and Monitoring

When it comes to FICO credit score accuracy, myFICO.com is unparalleled since it’s part of the consumer division of Fair Isaac–the company that created the FICO credit score. While the service is not free, it provides the most accurate and up-to-date information on your credit score.

Here’s a breakdown of the information you’ll have available to you after completing the sign-up process, which will take only a few minutes.

Get your FICO credit score today.

myFICO Credit Report and Score

Immediately following the completion of your personal and credit card information on myFICO.com, you land on a page which displays your FICO credit score as well as other information valuable to your future credit. First, let’s take a look at the summary page:

 

 

You’ll notice that in addition to the FICO score on the left, you see four categories to the right that play into your credit score. In the example above, the length of credit history is keeping this FICO score above water, as the amount of debt is relatively high and the payment history has not been good.

A score of 592 is not good enough to obtain a mortgage, however with a few more months of on-time payments, and a reduction of the debt amount, the score should improve. An illustration of these points is provided below.

 

 

Signing up for myFICO.com is a great way to stay on top of your credit score and know exactly what areas you need to improve. The basic one-bureau monitoring service plus a monthly credit report is $19.95 a month. This gives you access to your FICO credit score and Experian credit report.

The Experian credit report will show you the last two years worth of payment history from all of your creditors, as well as any public records or collections against you. There are a total of seven pages available, detailing different aspects of your credit report. A summary page for this is also available and show below:

 

 

For those with excellent credit, there isn’t a need to monitor it day-by-day. However, checking your credit score and report frequently to make sure that the information is 100 percent accurate is a crucial step in managing your finances.

Learn how to improve your score with myFICO.com.

Get Your Free Credit Score

Now that you have a better idea of FICO and VantageScores let’s talk about how you can get one without breaking the bank. Below are a few options for getting a free VantageScore. Unfortunately, these services don’t offer a true FICO credit score.

Credit Karma

If you’re looking for a free way to view your credit score, give Credit Karma a try. It’s free to sign up, and you don’t need to use your credit card. There’s no free trial to cancel either. Once you create an account and follow all the steps, you can view your credit score in minutes.

Related: Is a Free Credit Score Legit or a Scam? [Credit Karma Review]

Credit Karma also offers other features that can help you improve your credit score. It shows you what’s hurting your credit and how you can improve it. Additionally, it lets you run different scenarios to see how each one affects your score. For example, if you’re considering buying a car soon, you can check how the purchase will impact your score.

Credit Sesame

Another great option for getting a completely free credit score is Credit Sesame. It offers a free score without requiring credit card information. There’s also no free trial you need to remember to cancel down the road.

In addition to your score, Credit Sesame offers insights into what factors are affecting it. Some of the things that impact your credit include your credit usage, the age of your oldest credit card, the number of credit inquiries, your payment history, and so on. You can also review your debt, including student loans, mortgages, and more.

TransUnion

If you’d like to get your credit report as well as a free credit score, TransUnion has a great deal. For only $1, you can get both your credit report and your credit score. Keep in mind that this offer is part of a seven-day trial of TransUnion’s subscription-based credit monitoring service.

You’ll have to remember to cancel the trial so you don’t get charged. At the end of the trial, your credit card will be billed $17.95 per month. During the trial period, you’ll have access to your VantageScore, which may not be the score used by your lender.

Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

How to Get Your Cheap or Free FICO Credit Score

If you’re looking to get a free FICO credit score, you do have a few options. Here some ways to gain access to it without having to pay a fee.

Experian

Experian also offers the option to get a free credit score. Unlike TransUnion, you can get a free FICO credit score rather than a VantageScore. The offer comes with a free 30-day trial membership into Experian IdentityWorks.

If you don’t cancel the trial at the end of the trial period, you’ll be billed a monthly fee of $19.99. You may cancel your membership at any time. This option does not include access to your Experian credit report.

However, if you’d like to get your FICO score and your credit report, you can sign up for a $1 trial for Experian CreditWorks. At the end of the seven-day trial period, you’ll be billed $24.99 for each month that you continue your membership. You can easily cancel the membership online at any time during the trial period without charge.

Credit Cards that Offer a Free FICO Credit Score

In addition to the options above, you can get a free FICO credit score from select credit cards. Companies that offer access to a true FICO score include American Express, Discover, Barclaycard, Commerce Bank, First Bank, USAA Bank, and US Bank.

How Can I Raise My FICO Score?

Improving your credit score will take time. There’s no quick fix, but there are things you can do to repair your credit. Beware of any advice or claims that you can quickly raise your credit score.

Related: What is a Really Good Credit Score?

The best way to rebuild your credit and improve your score is to be responsible. You need to repair your credit history and ensure your credit report is complete and accurate. If you find any errors, dispute them and make sure they are corrected.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to raise your FICO score over time:

  • Pay your bills on time: even if your payments are only a few days late, this can have a negative impact on your score. Accounts that have gone to collections are another big black mark that drags down your FICO number.
  • Get current with all of your payments and stay current: even if you’ve been late on a few bills, don’t despair. Get back on track and start making payments. Paying your bills on time after being delinquent will increase your score, as long as you pay consistently and on-time.
  • Improve your debt utilization ratio: this makes up 30 percent of your FICO credit score. It measures how much money you owe to creditors as compared to how much credit you have available. FICO’s scoring method takes into account both the utilization of each individual credit account and all credit accounts combined.
  • Don’t close all unused credit cards: since this will raise your credit utilization ratio. Additionally, length of credit history is important so if you’ve had a credit card for a long time, consider keeping it open and using it occasionally.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to getting a free FICO credit score, there are several different options. Since FICO scores are generated by Fair Isaac, signing up for myFICO.com is a great way to get the information right from the source.

It’s important to remember that not all credit scores are created equal. Most lenders use a FICO credit score when deciding who is creditworthy and how much credit to extend. Keeping tabs on your credit score regularly and checking for inaccuracies on your credit report will help you get the best rate possible when applying for loans.

Use credit responsibly and take advantage of the free offers above to stay on top of your finances. And remember, improving your credit score takes time. There’s no quick fix. However, educating yourself about what affects your credit and taking the necessary steps to improve it will pay dividends in the long term.

FICO - The Only Score That Matters

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Comments

  1. Great article. I have a question. If you got the 10 day free trial offer and canceled during that time frame, if I don’t continue the service, does that count as having received your free annual credit report for the year? I like to space them out and get one every four months and Equifax is in January for me.