Do you have bad credit? Do you have great credit? Do you even know what your score is?
If you don’t know where your credit score currently stands, you’re just setting yourself up for a nasty surprise later in life. Even if you suspect your credit score is low, it’s better to know for sure than to let it fester by ignoring it.
Here’s a rundown of some of the free options that are out there.
|Credit Card Issuer||Includes||Availability||Free Credit Score Offer|
|American Express||* VantageScore credit score, updated weekly
* Detailed TransUnion credit report
* Credit report alerts
|Free for everyone.||American Express MyCredit Guide|
|Bank of America||* TransUnion FICO score, updated monthly||Offered with all of their credit cards.||Free monthly FICO score|
|Barclays||* FICO score, unsure of source or frequency||Available with a small selection of their credit cards.||FICO Score access (Look for “What is FICO Score Access?” in the FAQ|
|Capital One||* TransUnion VantageScore, unsure of frequency
* Credit report alerts
|Free for everyone.||Capital One CreditWise|
|Chase||* VantageScore credit score, updated weekly
* Credit report alerts
|Free for everyone.||Chase Credit Journey|
|Discover||* FICO score, updated every 30 days||Free for everyone.||Free Credit Scorecard|
|HSBC||* FICO score, updated monthly||All HSBC credit cards or Select Credit accounts.||Free monthly FICO score|
|US Bank||* TransUnion credit score, updated monthly||Any customer who uses their online banking.||CreditView Dashboard|
|Wells Fargo||* Experian FICO score, updated monthly||Offered with some of their credit cards.||Free monthly FICO score|
Credit card issuers that offer free credit scores
Luckily it’s incredibly easy to find out your current credit score and to keep track of it over time. These credit card issuers offer this service completely free of charge, and some offer it even if you’re not a customer.
American Express offers their free credit score and report service to anyone, completely free of charge. You don’t even have to be an American Express customer.
The American Express MyCredit Guide features:
- weekly credit score updates,
- alerts to help detect identity fraud, and
- your detailed TransUnion credit report.
All of this is available completely for free, and using the service has no impact on your credit score at all.
Of course there’s a flip side. American Express can use this information to market products and services to you, including sending you pre-qualified credit card offers. This will not impact your credit score, so if you’re considering getting a new or upgraded American Express credit card, this could be a great way to get some special offers.
If you are thinking about getting a new American Express card, here’s a couple of our favorites:
Related: The 19 Best Credit Card Perks You Didn’t Know You Had
Bank of America
Bank of America offers a free monthly FICO credit score to any eligible customer who has one of their Bank of America, US Trust, or Merrill credit cards.
The service is similar to the others, in that it gives you a free monthly FICO score through their online or mobile banking service. It also includes a list of key factors that explain why your score is what it is, and also gives you some strategies to help you learn how to better manage your credit and finances.
Some of the cards this service is available through include:
Barclays is a bit different, in that it only offers its free FICO Score Access with a limited selection of its available credit cards, and it’s included as part of your monthly statement rather than being accessible online or through a mobile app.
Some of the cards this is available with are:
Capital One has created a whole suite of online tools for viewing and monitoring your credit score that they call Capital One CreditWise.
This service is completely free, and you don’t have to be a Capital One customer to use it.
It includes tools that help you:
- view and understand your current credit score,
- view changes to your credit score over time, including recent inquiries and delinquent accounts,
- monitor your credit information, and SSN, including automated alerts from two credit bureaus, and
- understand how your credit score might be impacted by various financial decisions through a credit score simulator app.
Similar to other services that are free for everyone to use, don’t be surprised if Capital One uses this information to sell you new or upgraded products. But if you’re thinking about getting a new or upgraded card, why not see what they offer?
Here are some of our favorite Capital One cards:
Chase also offers their credit score service for free to anyone, including people who aren’t Chase customers.
Called the “Chase Credit Journey,” this set of online tools let you:
- check your score, which is updated weekly,
- get notifications if there are changes to your credit report to help spot ID theft,
- learn how to better understand and manage your credit, and
- apply for Chase products.
At this point it’s obvious that the banks are offering this service for free in hopes of drumming up new business, but why not. They’re providing a valuable service, and you could get some great new credit offers out of the deal. What’s not to love?
Here are some great Chase cards you might consider:
Similar to other credit card companies, Discover is now providing FICO credit scores to everyone, free of charge, even if you’re not a Discover customer.
All you have to do is go to their free credit score site, register and sign in, then you’ll get your score. They also show you what’s exactly helping and hurting your score so you can better understand and manage your finances to get that score to where you want it to be.
An added bonus? Discover will send you a reminder every 30 days to check your score again to make sure there aren’t any sudden or unexpected changes. If you’re interested in checking out some of the cards Discover offers, here are some of our favorites:
HSBC provides a free credit score to their customers who have an HSBC credit card or Select Credit account, which is available online if you receive an electronic statement, or in the post on your regular statement.
Interested? Here are some great cards to consider.
US Bank makes a free monthly credit score available to all of their online banking customers. Their CreditView Dashboard lets you:
- view your score any time (updated monthly),
- use a credit score simulator to see how different financial changes will impact your score,
- review your credit history and progress, and
- access free credit and financial education.
It’s never a bad idea to learn more about how to better set and meet your financial goals. Here are some great US Bank credit cards that will help you get started:
And finally, Wells Fargo offers a free FICO credit score every month to Wells Fargo Online customers. To qualify, you have to be the primary account holder of an eligible Wells Fargo consumer account, which can include deposit, loan, and credit accounts.
Eligible cards include:
Credit report vs. credit score
So what’s the difference between your credit score and your credit report?
Your credit score is a 3 digit number that falls within the range of 300 to 850, and the higher the number the better. A credit score is really a shorthand way to gauge your creditworthiness and overall credit history.
Your credit report, on the other hand, is a detailed breakdown of your personal credit history that is created and maintained by a credit bureau, and is useful for monitoring possible fraud or identity theft. In the United States there are 3 major credit reporting bureaus including:
- Experian, and
And while the reports generated by all 3 should be very similar, some minor variances can creep in from time to time.
Your scores are generally also different between them. The algorithms they use are not the same, and variations in your scores among them are perfectly normal.
You can get a copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Normally you can get one free copy of this per year, but right now they’re letting you get a free copy every week from now through April 2021.
Related: I’m A Student With No Credit. What Are The Best Credit Cards For Me?
Credit score chart
So, now you know your credit score, but what does it mean? Here’s a quick rundown of the various credit score ratings, and what they say about you and your credit history.
Keeping an eye on your credit score is always a good idea. It’s important to know where you stand, because only then will you be able to start figuring out where you want to be. These credit card issuers can help you get started today.
Do you pay attention to your credit score?
What are your top tips for improving your credit score?
What’s the best credit decision you’ve ever made?
Let us know in the comments!