Best Places to Get Your Credit Score

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Your credit score can be both a blessing and a curse. A good score can give you access to much better financial products at lower interest rates, but it also takes a significant amount of effort to keep your credit in good shape. A bad score can tank your chances of approval for any lines of credit and can take a long time to repair.

Whether your credit is in tip-top shape or in need of some work, the first step to managing your credit is to know what your credit score is. Here are some of the best places to get your credit score and credit report.

What Is a Credit Score?

Your credit score is a crucial part of your consumer financial life. In most situations where someone is talking about a “credit score”, they are referring to the more-or-less industry-standard FICO score. There is another variation that is becoming more and more popular, however, called VantageScore.

The standard FICO score ranges from 300 to 850 and is calculated on a complex array of information in your credit report. Credit scores are designed to be a quick method of boiling down pertinent information in a credit report to a number, which can determine the overall creditworthiness of a specific consumer.

Since your credit score is created from your credit report, it can give a relatively accurate representation of how likely it is that you’ll uphold your financial obligations. It may seem unfair that our credit lives can be reduced to a three-digit number, but it is designed in such a way that it can be used to accurately and fairly evaluate a consumer’s likelihood to repay funds loaned to them.

The 3 Best Places to Get Your Credit Score

These are our top three places to get your credit score. All of these options are free and are backed by the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S.

1. Credit Karma

Credit Karma is one of the most popular credit monitoring services out there right now. Their database is updated every seven days and gives you instant access to your full Experian and TransUnion credit reports, as well as a VantageScore 3.0 that is based on your Experian report. They also facilitate simple disputes right from their app, which makes cleaning up your credit much easier.

They have a free credit simulator that shows how new credit report items can impact your score, such as taking out a new loan or opening a new credit card. One final benefit is that they show you offers based on your credit score, such as loans and credit cards with high chances of approval, as well as your auto insurance score.

2. Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame is a credit monitoring service that is similar to, though slightly different from, Credit Karma. Whereas Credit Karma offers an Experian-based VantageScore, Credit Sesame provides a free TransUnion VantageScore. Credit Sesame is a great option for getting personalized credit offers and money-saving guidance. They also provide a significant $50,000 in fraud resolution assistance in the case of identity theft.

3. WalletHub

If you’re looking for a monitoring service that lets you set alerts on credit activity, WalletHub is the platform you want. They can provide both a TransUnion credit report and TransUnion VantageScore. To register you’ll need to provide your social security number and a few identity-verification questions. The main dashboard gives you ample information at a glance, such as having too much debt, or if your utilization rate is too high, which can hurt your score.

5 Other Places To Get Your Credit Score

Here are even more options out there to get your credit score. Some options are for free, while others are for a fee.

1. Various Credit Cards

Plenty of credit card issuers out there provide a FICO score to their customers periodically, for no charge. Discover Card and First National Bank offer versions of the FICO score, while Capital One gives the cardholder a VantageScore each month. There are many others, each with stipulations or conditions that the cardholder may need to meet.

2. Experian

Experian offers a copy of their credit report on you as well as your current FICO 8 score on their website. This service is free, and for additional fees, they offer additional credit services.

3. Equifax

Equifax does not have any way to get your score for free. They do offer various levels of monthly paid subscriptions that offer increased credit visibility, and either an Equifax or FICO 5 score, depending on the subscription package.

4. TransUnion

TransUnion offers a paid service to buy unlimited access to the consumer’s TransUnion credit report, and VantageScore 3.0 score that is based on that report.

5. myFICO

MyFICO.com is a paid service that offers industry-specific scores. They offer paid packages that give you your FICO 8 and FICO 9 scores, as well as scores tailored to various industries like credit cards and mortgages.

What Is The Difference Between A Credit Score & Credit Report?

Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that gives an overall rating of your creditworthiness. It is based on your credit report, and there are many different versions of it, though the most common is simply called the FICO score. It is calculated by using elements from your credit report that are applied with weighted importance.

Your credit report is a literal history of your credit life for the past 7 years. It contains your month-by-month payment history for all installment loans, credit-reporting utility bills, and revolving credit lines. It shows how long you’ve had a credit report. It also details each of your loan or credit accounts, giving details on payment history, balance, account age, and more. Additionally, it contains a record of all your delinquencies, late payments, closed accounts, and items in collections.

How Is a Credit Score Calculated?

Your credit score is calculated using a complex formula that combines data from different areas into a single number. With regard to your FICO score, your payment history, credit utilization ratio, credit age, credit mix, and credit inquiries all factor into your final score.

The payment history will be the most important factor in your score and accounts for 35% of the result. The next item is your credit utilization ratio, or how much credit you have versus how much credit you’ve used, which will make up another 30% of your credit score. Credit age is how long you’ve had credit and the age of all your accounts, this factor makes up 15% of your score.

Credit mix is simply having a mix of credit types, such as installment loans, revolving credit, auto loans, or mortgages, and makes up 10% of the score. The final component is the number of credit inquiries you’ve generated, or how many new lines of credit you’ve applied for, which accounts for the last 10%.

Takeaway

Your credit score itself is important to anyone you consider a potential borrower. They will use your credit score as a way of rapidly evaluating your overall creditworthiness. In many automated or AI-based lender screening, your credit score determines who will lend to you and at what rates.

To you, the consumer, knowing your credit score and how it’s calculated can help you make much more effective financial decisions. Knowing how another line of credit will potentially change your score may influence your decision about opening the line of credit at all.

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