Contrary to perception checking credit scores does not hurt credit. Likewise, it is important to get into the habit of checking scores regularly as one of the ways of improving credit ratings. Similarly, checking credit scores increases the chances of noticing a significant dip in credit scores, potential fraud and errors known to hurt ratings.
Conversely, checking credit scores monthly is a sure way of catching errors in advance before they take a toll on credit ratings. Unlike in the past, it is very much possible to check credit scores for free.
The proliferation of credit card issuers and credit monitoring services providers has simplified the process of checking credit scores. The major credit bureaus in the U.S allow people to check credit score for free once every 12 months. However, that does not mean that that is the only option available in the market.
There are a number of websites and credit card companies that allow people to see their credit scores free of charge year-round. The first step to accessing credit scores for free is signing up to some of these services.
Upon signing up, you will see how your credit score looks with each of the major credit bureaus.
Below are the top credit score providers that don’t charge a cent.
Credit Karma beats the competition as one of the best providers of credit scores. The firm provides free credit scores and reports from TransUnion and Equifax. The good part is that you do not need to prove a credit card to access credit scores for free.
Credit Karma’s credit scores are based on the VantageScore 3.0 Model. The newer scoring model provides a score that is more consistent among the three major credit bureaus. In addition to providing credit scores for free Credit Karma also offers free credit monitoring for TransUnion report.
Credit Karma makes money by simply recommending specific financial products based on the credit profile of people who use it to access credit scores. It only makes money once people open accounts with one of its advertising partners.
Credit Sesame is another credit monitoring service that offers credit scores free of charge. The service provider is different from Credit Karma in that it offers members access to their VantageScore from TransUnion. Likewise, it gathers members credit information and uses it to generate money-making suggestions that people can use to improve their credit scores.
In addition to providing credit scores, Credit Sesame offers suggestions on some of the ways to lower fees and interest payments. It also offers credit monitoring services notifying members whenever their profile or identity is compromised.
Credit.com stands out as a reliable credit monitoring service as it offers free credit scores twice a month. The credit scores are based on the Experian score and VantageScore 3.0 updated once a month. To access credit scores, you will have to sign up for a free account. However, the service does not require a credit card number for registration.
In addition to free credit scores, Credit.com also offers credit report card that shows finer details on some of the factors affecting credit scores.
Unlike the other Credit monitoring services, WalletHub requires significant personal information to offer credit scores for free. Likewise, you will have to provide your name address date of birth and last four digits of social security number for identity verification.
The data is used to generate a free credit report and score as issued by TransUnion, VantageScore and a credit report from TransUnion. The dashboard on the credit monitoring service shows all credit accounts and balances.
WalletHub also runs a credit alert segment that gives members alerts in some of the factors likely to affect their credit score. For instance, it lets members know if their debt-load is high relative to the amount of income they make.
Credit monitoring services are not the only ones that offer credit scores for free. Many credit card companies are increasingly offering users access to their credit scores free of charge.
Discover Card: The credit card company is best known for according to users access to free TransUnion FICO credit score as part of each monthly statement. However, the service does not apply to people that are getting started in establishing their credit history. The service is also only applicable to primary cardholders and not authorized users of the credit card.
Barclaycard: Just like Discover Card Barclaycard offers free FICO scores in addition to monthly statements. In addition, it allows users to see up to two factors likely to affect their credit score, i.e. balances on bank card or revolving account
Confirming and analyzing credit scores and credit reports regularly is crucial to maintaining financial health. This is the only way you will be able to pick up on mistakes or fraudulent applications before they do the damage on credit scores and reduce the chances of securing credit.