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How to Get A Free Credit Score

Your credit score is important. It's the first thing a lender is going to look at when you apply for a loan and it directly affects the interest rate you pay. Your FICO credit score is based on your credit history, which can be found in your credit report. Your credit score and credit report are different. Your credit report covers credit history and your FICO credit score is a number based on a weighted and proprietary formula. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, but most companies charge you for your credit score.

Unfortunately, your credit score isn't something you can just look up any time you want. If you want to see it you often have to pay for it, usually anywhere from $5-$15, depending on where you get it. However, you can get a free copy of your FICO credit score if you are willing to do a little legwork.

How to get your free Credit Score

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) requires each of the 3 major credit bureaus to provide you with a free credit report once per year upon request. The credit bureaus are not required to provide your credit score, but they are happy to offer you an up-sell.

The good news is that many companies are willing to give you a copy of your credit score free if you sign up for a free trial of their monthly credit monitoring service. The credit monitoring service gives you the ability to check your credit score, verify your credit history is correct, and verify that there are no unauthorized items on your report. You can always cancel the credit monitoring service before the free trial period ends if you don't wish to pay for it. Your credit score will be free as long as you cancel in time.

Where to Get Your Free Credit Score

The FICO credit score is the most commonly used credit score in the US. The following companies either offer a free FICO credit score, or a proprietary credit score that should approximate the FICO credit score. Many of these companies offer a free 3 in one credit score, which relies on the information contained in your credit reports from each of the 3 main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Get instant access to your 3 credit scores with GoFreeCredit.com. Simply enroll in a free trial and you will receive 3 free credit scores based on the information found in your credit files with the 3 major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Also get 24/7 Triple Bureau Credit Monitoring with Instant Fraud Alerts. Visit GoFreeCredit.com for more information.

Equifax Credit Watch Gold with 3-in-1 Monitoring. Equifax is one of the three major credit bureaus and provides credit scores. Signing up for a free credit score from Equifax gives you a 30 day trial of their service, which includes your free FICO credit score and a 3-in-1 consolidated credit score from the three credit bureaus. The monthly fee is $14.95 if you do not cancel within 30 days.

TrueCredit is owned by TransUnion, one of the 3 major credit bureaus. The TrueCredit credit monitoring service gives you immediate access to your TransUnion credit score, and you can set up alerts to notify you when your credit score changes. TrueCredit also offers $25,000 of identity theft insurance with their service. There is a 7 day free trial period, after which you will be charged a monthly fee of $14.95 if you wish to continue using the service. You will also full credit profile monitoring from each of the 3 credit bureaus once you pass the 7 day trial period.

FreeCreditScore.com is famous for their catchy commercials. But if you read the fine print, the only way to get a free credit score from their site is to sign up for the 7 day free trial membership in Triple Advantage, then cancel before the end of the free trial period (you actually have 9 days to cancel without being charged). FreeCreditScore.com's Triple Advantage service provides you with a Monthly Statement with your Credit Score, Alerts digest, and a summary of the key financial information that lenders use to rate you. The cost is $14.95 per month if you maintain the service.

Why should you get your free credit score?

Knowing your credit score comes in handy if you plan on applying for a loan or if you have a need for credit in the near future. For most people, it is a good practice to have an idea of your score, but it may not be necessary to know the exact number. However, reviewing your credit history frequently (at least every few months) is a good idea so you can monitor for changes to your credit profile and be alerted to possible changes or unauthorized access to your credit.