- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Free FICO Credit Score Estimates

Your FICO score has become one of the most important indicators of your credit worthiness and so many people are very interested in their score. Credit bureaus know this and so they often sell services that let you see what score they’ve given you. Your credit score is important but for many it’s far more important to pue $30-50 a month away into an savings, so enter in FICO credit score estimators.

Below I’ll talk about two FICO score estimators that I feel are trusthworthy enough to work with. There are a lot of websites out there offering a free FICO credit score or a free FICO credit score estimate that are really just front pages for scams getting you to sign up for monitoring services or other pay services (or they’re out to steal your identity!). Don’t use those. I feel the two services below are the only ones you should trust.

Free Credit Report

If you just want a copy of your credit report, without score, then get it from the only place that offers it for free, as required by law, AnnualCreditReport.com [3]. Don’t request it anywhere else because it’s probably some kind o f scam. You can get a copy of your report every 12 months and I recommend you do so in order to check for errors. Now, onto the scores.

Free FICO Credit Score

You can get a free credit score if you sign up for the myFICO ScoreWatch 30-day trial [4] or one of the other options on my list of Free FICO credit scores [5] and then cancel the trial. If you do not cancel within the 30 day trial, you will be billed for the service. You can cancel the service online.

MyFICO Score Estimator

MyFICO [4] is a service run by Fair Isaac, the creators of the FICO score, and they offer a free score estimator [6] absolutely free. The 10 question estimator takes about five minutes to complete and offers you a pretty wide range for your score.

The score they estimated for me was 725-775 and my actual credit score, which I checked a couple months ago (just before signing up for a Capital One card I deemed was the best international credit card [7]), fell within that range. The range may seem large but that reflects how each bureau weighs factors slightly differently.

Why this tool? Since it’s fun by Fair Isaac, you can trust that your data will be safe and that the estimate will be accurate to the best of their ability. They created the paradigm and the range represents how the individual bureaus weight different factors. It passes the trust and accuracy tests.

If you want a real score, you can always sign up for MyFICO’s services, Cap at StopBuyingCrap keeps an updated MyFICO coupon [8] page you can review for discounts.


CreditKarma [9] is an independent site will get and track your credit score if you offer up some information about yourself. After registering, you’re asked to provide your address, birthdate, and social security number; Credit Karma goes out and grabs your score from one of the three credit bureaus. For a while, Credit Karma was estimating your score, but it appears that they are now actually grabbing it. What concerns me abotu the site is that normally a company will ask you three questions from your credit history to confirm your identity – I was asked no such questions.

The score they gave me was 721, from TransUnion.

A cool feature about the site that people may find interesting is the “credit simulator [10].” You give it certain scenario changes and they simulate what your score is. As you set the simulations, a little Impact indicator estimates what the impact is. When you’re done, click simulate score and they recalculate the numbers for you. It was a fun little tool to play around with.

Why this tool? Credit Karma is fairly new but they’ve passed the test of public opinion, as evidenced by all the press [11] they’ve received. You’ll also see that they’ve partnered with some of the bureaus (TransUnion sponsors the credit simulator) and so they’ve passed the sniff test with them. While you do provide more information, they don’t store your most sensitive data on the site and you get an actual score.

Between the two services, based on how comfortable you are with sending out your data, you should be able to get an accurate view of what your credit score is. If you opt for Credit Karma, you get the added benefit of playing with the simulator too!