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How to Check Credit Score for Free Without Affecting Your Credit?

Free credit report graphicNot that long ago, the three largest credit agencies held onto your credit report and credit score like they were the nuclear launch codes, but times have changed. As you read further, Experian and Equifax have created slick web portals to provide you with your credit report and give you your free credit score online. Transunion is a disappointment, but it will provide you with a free credit score.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to furnish you with a copy of your credit report free of charge, at your request, once every 12 months. You can order your credit reports over the internet from annualcreditreport.com, the official website for free credit reports, or you can call 1-877-322-8228. You have to provide the credit agencies with your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to authenticate your identity.

If you meet one of the following scenarios, you may be able to receive additional (free) credit reports in addition to the reports available every 12 months from each of the three national credit bureaus through www.annualcreditreport.com:

  • You have been denied credit within the past 60 days based on information in your credit reports
  • You receive public assistance
  • You have placed a fraud alert on your credit reports because you believe you are or could be the victim of fraud or identity theft
  • You are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days
  • Your state offers a free or reduced-price credit report

Residents of the following states are eligible to get an additional free credit report every 12 months: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

To request the free or reduced-price credit reports available to you in your state, or if the circumstances above that apply to you, please go to the following sites to request your credit reports:

Equifax: Credit Report Assistance
TransUnion: www.transunion.com/credit-reports-disclosures/free-credit-report
Experian: Free Credit Report  | Free Credit Score


Equifax Core Credit™

When you set up a myEquifax account, you will receive six free additional Equifax credit reports each year. And if you click “Get my free credit score” on the myEquifax dashboard and register for an Equifax Core Credit™ you will receive a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore credit score, based on Equifax data. The registration process is easy. The VantageScore credit score is higher than the Experian credit score. There is a notice that the updated credit score will be available in 31 days. The web page easily allows you to place a fraud alert, security freeze, or active duty alert on your credit report.

Experian

Experian offers a free credit report and a FICO® Score 8 model. I tried it and found the service exceptional. The log in requirements were extensive, but it is worth it. Most lenders use FICO® scores" for credit decisions". Base FICO® scores (including the FICO® Score 8) range from 300 to 850.

TransUnion

I attempted to obtain a free credit score from the Transunion web site, but if Transunion provides a free credit score like Equifax and Experian, I couldn't find it. There was a question and answer page regarding the reasons to obtain a free credit report. I found the Transunion unacceptable.


Rotating question markFrequently Asked Questions About Credit Reports and Credit Scores

Q. Can I check my credit score for free online?
A. Experian and Equifax will provide you with your credit report online.

Q. Can I check my credit score without lowering it?
A. You can check your own credit score and the inquiry will not affect your credit score. This type of credit check is known as a soft inquiry.

Q. Can I check my FICO score for free?
A. Yes! Experian provides consumers with a free FICO® Score 8

Q. Can I get a house with a 700 credit score?
A. A 700 credit score will be acceptable for most lenders.

Q. Can you fix bad credit?
A. It takes time and persistence to restore a bad credit history. See How to get rid of bad credit history

Q. Do lenders look at Equifax or TransUnion?
A. Lenders look at all three credit agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Lenders usually place emphasis on the "middle" score.

Q. Does paying in full build credit?
A. According to Experian, "There is a common myth that carrying a balance on your credit card from month to month can benefit your credit scores, but that is not true. Ideally, you should pay off your credit card in full every month. Leaving a balance will not help your credit scores. All it will do is cost you money in the form of interest".