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A few Frequent Flyer University readers have asked if there were any free ways to check their credit score.

While you can get 3 free credit reports each year via the Government at Annual Credit Score, they conveniently only provide you with your report and fail to include your score unless you pay an additional fee.

While I strongly suggest that you get your 3 free credit reports every year and check for discrepancies, I am baffled that the Government didn’t require the 3 major credit reporting agencies to also give customers their credit score since that is what lenders typically go by.

Most of you have probably seen those Free Credit Score commercials on TV. Unfortunately none of those services are free. They are typically “free” for 14 days, but only after you put your credit card information down. If you forget to cancel it in time, they will charge you.

The two best options I have found for getting a truly free credit score are Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.

Credit Karma

I have been using Credit Karma for a few years now. They partner with TransUnion, so you don’t have to worry about this not being a legitimate site. Most of these types of sites make their money from advertising credit cards to users based on their credit scores. Obviously, these offers aren’t as lucrative as the credit card offers you will find on the various frequent flyer blogs.

What is nice about Credit Karma is that they provide your FICO credit score and also your Vantage score. A Vantage Score is a similar to a FICO score and is another tool that Credit Card Lenders use to assess your credit worthiness.

The cool feature of Credit Karma is their Credit Report Card which shows your how you fare in certain categories that impact your score. As you can see while my overall score is an “A”, I could work on my average length of open accounts, number of open accounts, and hard inquiries. This sort of information is always handy to have when evaluating whether or not to open or close a new card!

 

Which brings me to the last cool feature of Credit Karma, their Credit Simulator. With this tool you can simulate what will happen to your credit score if you do certain actions like open a new card. According to their simulator, if I was to open a new credit card, my score would only drop by 2 points! Since that isn’t really that big of an impact, I can apply for my next mileage credit card without having to worry about tarnishing my credit score.

Credit Sesame

While similar to Credit Karma, Credit Sesame doesn’t have all the credit simulator features as Credit Karma and it seems like they are just trying to push credit card offers onto you. Nevertheless, Credit Sesame does provide you with your Experian credit score for free, so it is a small trade-off .

While each of the major 3 agencies have their own formula to figure out your credit score, all 3 scores should be within the same range. For example, Credit Sesame says my FICO score is 776, while Credit Karma says it is 759. I figure that if you average the two score together, that it should be fairly accurate to what your true FICO is. Remember that when Lenders pull your credit score, they typically get it from just 1 of the 3 reporting agencies, so ultimately your score will depending on which reporting agency the Lender chooses. At least now, you know your score at 2 out of the 3 reporting agencies!

 

Bottom Line:

From using these 2 free sites, you should now have a fairly accurate understanding of what your Credit Score is.

Hope this helps!

-Parag

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