How To Get A Free FICO Credit Score

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Your FICO credit score is increasingly becoming one of the most important numbers in your life. I’ve written about what’s in your FICO credit score as well as how to get FICO credit score estimates, but never how to get the actual three-digit FICO score calculated by one of the bureaus.

While the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) did wonders to shed light on the credit reporting industry and the data they are collecting on all of us, the light wasn’t bright enough. There is no way for you to get a free FICO credit score unless you sign up for a trial with one of the bureaus or with Fair Isaac Corporation directly.

Free FICO Credit Scores

There’s no true way to get a free FICO credit score, the bureaus aren’t in the business of giving that information away, but they will give you your score if you sign up for one of their credit related services. Fortunately, they offer trials so you can sign up for a program, see your score, then cancel the trial. If you just want your credit report, see the instructions below.

Checking your score will not lower your score! When you check your own score, it is considered a “soft inquiry” and your score will not be affected. Your score is only affected when a lender makes a “hard inquiry,” which they use to make lending decisions. If you request your report or your score, it will not hurt it.

  1. MyFICO ScoreWatch – MyFICO ScoreWatch has a thirty day (30) trial period where you can get a free Equifax credit report and Equifax credit score. If you don’t cancel within the first thirty days, you will be billed $89.95 annually and you get access to a credit monitoring program that’s fairly robust. You can read my MyFICO ScoreWatch review if you’re interested in learning more. MyFICO is owned by Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of the FICO credit score system.
  2. Equifax Credit Watch Gold with 3-in-1 Monitoring – The list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include a service offered by Equifax. You sign up for a thirty day (30) trial and you get a free FICO credit score from Equifax as well as a 3-in-1 consolidated credit report from all three bureaus. If you don’t cancel within the 30 day period, the monthly fee is $14.95.

Free Credit Report

If you just want your credit report, you can get a copy from each of the bureaus from AnnualCreditReport.com, the website setup by the government. FACTA, passed signed into law in 2003, required that bureaus provide you a copy of your credit report each year upon request. FACTA wasn’t perfect but it did make improvements on FCRA.

It’s more important for you to check your credit report regularly than it is to check your score. Your score will be determined based on each bureau’s proprietary equation but the data they use, your report, is the critical piece of the puzzle. Reviewing your report regularly is the best way to ensure that whatever score you have is accurate. Millions of reports have errors and chances are good that you have one if you haven’t checked your report lately.

Reviewing your report is also important because you can spot identity theft fairly easily because you’ll see accounts or addresses that you don’t recognize. I reviewed my report a few years ago and discovered an address I didn’t recognize (along with a phone account). It took a few weeks but I had the matter cleared up. It didn’t affect my score but it’s important to keep your report as accurate as possible.

You will not be able to get your actual FICO credit score through the government website, you will need to use one of the options above.


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72 Responses to “How To Get A Free FICO Credit Score”

  1. Tatyana says:

    Thank you guys for the tip. I signed up for creditkarma, and first time in my life saw my credit score. I am also glad to see so many people shared their (good) scores. If I had not taken school loans, I would be one of them. Never had credit cards, paid bills on time. Too bad, bought into the “tuition” trap. I am only 30, but I feel I am pretty much done.

  2. Sam says:

    I want to see JUST my 3 FICO scores, all of the others are called “FAKO”. Am I going to have to sign up with myfico.com? Someone please help me figure out how to get my 3 FICO scores? Please?

  3. Silvio says:

    You should be able to obtain your credit score for free without joining one of those money grubbing monitor services. The importance put on credit score, in my opinion is one way the corporate world keeps the middle class from getting ahead. I mean it can affect your job application and a host of other things, which proves my point that its a middle class killer. I’m not perfect I’ve had some miss steps but I’m clear now and have become pretty much a strictly cash person. I have just one credit card that I stay on top of.

  4. DMac says:

    just saw a post that says that Walmart is giving free FICO scores if you have one of their cards. Anyone have seen this?

    • DP says:

      Yes. I have a Walmart credit card. I can view my FICO score free when I log into my Walmart credit card account online. My FICO score is updated monthly within the first 10 working days of the month. Since this is the product of a partnership between Walmart and TransUnion, the score is based upon the information contained in your TransUnion credit file.

    • Shala says:

      Yes I do and they give me a free fico score once a month!

  5. andrew says:

    Its your info so it’s should be free for you.

  6. Jer S says:

    I thought Credit Karma was great and have used it for a while. When I applied for a car loan my actual fico was 70 points lower than creditkarma listed. So really it isn’t good for getting anywhere near actual fico. Good for learning a bit about credit though.

  7. DP says:

    Yes, I have a Walmart credit card. I can view my FICO score free when I log into my Walmart credit card account online. My FICO score is updated monthly within the first 10 working days of the month. Since this is the product of a partnership between Walmart and TransUnion, the score is based upon the information contained in your TransUnion credit file.

  8. cashncarry says:

    Walmart giving free “FICO Transunion” score? FYI, Transunion DOES NOT provide FICO scores. ONLY FICO.com, which has now teamed up with Equifax to provide the same score.

  9. raenbo says:

    I signed up today for Wal-Mart’s “free FICO score” provided by TransUnion. After doing so I pulled my TransUnion credit report and it shows Wal-Mart pulling my credit report today for a “credit transaction”. It is under the Account Review Inquiries which are not supposed to affect your score or be seen by others, however, I’m not excited at the idea that it would seem they’re going to have to do this every month.

  10. maria says:

    i want to now how many points is good credit, and what is the maximum credit score

  11. Gunnar says:

    Unless there have been recent changes, maximum credit score varies: TransUnion range: 150-934, Experian range: 330-830 and Equifax range: 300-850. Generally, a score of 700 or greater is very good, a score below 600 is poor. and the majority of us are between 600-700. The Federal Gov’t made it so we can all get a free annual credit report, but NOT your credit SCORE. The 3-digit number that is SO important to our financial health, we must pay to see!

  12. db says:

    Just used creditkarma.com. It does what it claims and does it well.

  13. BS says:

    creditkarma is BS !!!! I just took out a loan for over 100K , and Creditkarma tells me my score is poor . JOKE

  14. BSISRIGHT says:

    I have to agree…. my credit score on all three credit sites are a 30 to 60 point difference… everyone is saying its poor but i have 2 capital one credit cards, a macys credit card, a orchard bank credit card, a walmart credit card, a jcpenny card, and a firestone crdit card if it was poor then why are these banks giving me so much credit??? and to mention on all of these cards my limit is over 1500.00 on each of these cards… SOMETHING IS FISHY….

    • Wendel says:

      Yes, but were they all opened recently? If you open many new lines of credit then banks look at the average age of all your accounts and may bash your score if it is too low. The good news is, as these lines mature (and if you have on-time payments) you will have a much better score, and if you keep these in good standing for say, 10-15 years, your score will be *amazing*, unless you ruin your credit with something else.

      P.S.: Nowadays poor scores aren’t all that uncommon. Many credit companies weigh things like steady employment much more heavily than just the score – or so I’ve heard =).

  15. Anonymous says:

    ok creditkarma uses transunion, creditsesame uses experian, is there one that uses equifax for free?

    • fedguy says:

      Equifax has a credit score card service that provides information on what the score is from their information.

      equifax.com/creditscorecard

  16. Goober says:

    I agree with some of the other commenters, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that your credit scores aren’t free. It is *my* information – that everyone under the sun seems be able to easily access – EXCEPT FOR ME! What?!

    And I love how the formulas and criteria that FICO uses to compute that score is like state secrets – classified and vaulted. We can never stop being slaves to this system because we can never find out the rules of the game!

    The whole credit/banking system is a joke.

  17. Wendel says:

    I like how I am being constantly judged based on my credit score; my life revolves around it, and yet it is easy for anyone to get that score – EXCEPT ME! What?!

    And why are the FICO formulas for computing your score treated like state secrets? How can you ever win if you don’t know the rules of the game?

    The credit system is a joke for anyone not on the board of a bank. Then it is a million-dollar bonus.

  18. Downriver says:

    great site…..Credit Karma is worthless…after checking Credit Karma I checked my FICO and found it to be one hundred points higher

  19. Corky says:

    Each of the three major credit reporting agencies has their own scoring algorithm. And, all creditors do not necessarily report to all three of the bureaus. Therefore, your score will be different with each of the three reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion and Equifax).

    Many creditors (Ex: car dealers) will only retrieve your credit score from just one of the bureaus. Therefore a place you apply for credit may tell you your score is ‘x’ which will be different from the score that another creditor may see if they use the information and score from a different bureau.

    If you apply for a mortgage the lenders will typically retrieve your credit report from all three bureaus (called a tri-merge credit report) and will base your approval on your middle score of the three.

    It is really important to review your credit history with all 3 reporting agencies because data in their files will usually be somewhat different. A previous creditor may have reported to one or two of the bureaus but not all three.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I just signed up on myfico.com for there 10 day free trial, got all info i needed went to support on there web page clicked on the How do I cancell my Subscription thread, clicked the link it tells you to and hit submit, just received confirmation that my trial was cancelled, all in less than 30 minutes

  21. Anonymous says:

    All this talk about credit scores from diff places really means nothing where ever u get your scores from you should really be paying attention to your rating not the score because for the most part from fico,adv.or plus score your rating poor,fair,good or excellent will will be the same.

  22. Josh says:

    I just did the 10-day free trial at http://www.myfico.com/

    Setup was easy enough (you’ll need a credit card and information about a loan payment or something similar). After I printed my report I was able to cancel the subscription fairly easily. It only reports the Equifax score, but this should be a pretty good benchmark to go by.

  23. KFunk says:

    CreditKarma is your Transunion score and is fantastic considering it’s free. FICO is neither Equifax, Experian or Transunion however Fico does pull is info from Equifax and typically will most resemble there score. Any lender for a major purchase will check all 4. Best bet is to get the trials for MyFico and others, use CreditKarma for your Transunion score. Dump the trials and fix what you can, rinse & repeat a few months later.

  24. beenhad says:

    Funny, I’ve paid Freecreditreport.com monthly subscriptions for 3 years, thought I had a good score, and lo and behold, my credit sucks! The PLUS score they show is of no value or relevance, and what they call “very low risk” is apparently nothing close to the same when looking at an actual FICO score.

    And now to get my FICO score, I have to spend even more money to see what’s being said about me? There’s just something completely wrong about that scenario! I can’t even correct that information (without paying a fee) if there’s an error before a potential lendor sees it!

    WTF is wrong with our financial system? And stop paying for memberships that are of marginal value. Or cancel… they’ll offer it for half price, just to keep the cash flowing!

  25. I'vebeenhad says:

    Funny, I’ve paid Freecreditreport monthly subscriptions for 3 years, thought I had a good score, and lo and behold, my credit sucks! The PLUS score they show is of no value or relevance, and what they call “very low risk” is apparently nothing close to the same when looking at an actual FICO score.

    And now to get my FICO score, I have to spend even more money to see what’s being said about me? There’s just something completely wrong about that scenario! I can’t even correct that information (without paying a fee) if there’s an error before a potential lendor sees it!

    What is wrong with our financial system? And stop paying for memberships that are of marginal value. Or cancel… they’ll offer it for half price, just to keep the cash flowing!


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