7 Best Places to Check Credit Score: Top Sources for Free Credit Scores

Written by Elijah BishopUpdated: 19th Sep 2021
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When it comes to your finances, staying informed matters.

Knowing where you stand financially provides peace of mind and allows you to accurately assess financial risks and situations. This, in turn, helps you navigate the financial landscape to better your overall financial status.

One of the biggest pieces of information relevant to your economic standing is your credit score. Your credit score gives you insight into how you’re handling your debt and what you could improve.

Perhaps more importantly, your credit score determines your eligibility for loans and credit cards. These loans can help you avoid financial disasters and allow you to make investments at opportune times.

With all that said, it’s obvious that you should want to know your credit score.

Unfortunately, checking your credit score often costs you. This annoyance is compounded because your score can change rather quickly, meaning that paying every time you want to check can add up.

Luckily some services allow you to check your credit score for free. Each of these services has its own unique features that make them better suited to certain situations.

Which free credit score monitoring service is the best? Can you actually check your credit score for free?

Find out below where you can check your credit score for free.

Best Place to Check Credit Score

The following services all offer free credit checks so you can better understand your financial situation. This can help you build your credit by taking informed steps.

By showing you what impacts your score, these apps can serve as a guide to fixing your mistakes and qualifying for better offers in the future.

Read on to learn about the seven best services for free credit score checks.

#1. Credit Sesame

Our first entry on the list, Credit Sesame, is a subscription service that includes a credit report. While Credit Sesame does offer tiered subscriptions that can cost money, the base level subscription is free and includes a monthly credit score report.

Credit Sesame aims to help you understand your credit score and what you can do to improve it. The free subscription tracks your debt and credit and uses this information to suggest credit cards and loans that may be better than those you are currently using.

The dashboard displays your credit score and any changes to it on a graph so you can fully grasp what’s shifting. The app breaks your debt into 5 distinct categories as well, allowing you more detailed insight into your credit score.

Credit Sesame even gives you a letter grade ranking, so you know how you’re credit management is going.

Getting started is quick and easy, requiring just a bit of information to set up your account.

>> More: Credit Sesame Review

#2. Credit Karma

Credit Karma provides users with free weekly credit reports. They pull their reports from TransUnion and Equifax, meaning the reports are reliable.

The algorithm used to determine the Credit Karma scores, the VantageScore 3.0 model, is one of the most current on the market, typically resulting in more accurate scores than even the traditional FICO scores.

Like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma also provides a detailed dashboard that shows changes in your credit score, your current score, and other helpful information you can use to understand and raise your score.

The service takes security very seriously, and as such, they offer two-factor authentication. They will provide you notifications that help you keep a watchful eye on your credit if you opt-in. They also offer you the option to turn on credit and identity monitoring.

Credit Karma makes its money through advertisements rather than through a subscription. This means you’ll never have to pay to stay up to date on your credit score.

>> More: Credit Karma Review

#3. WalletHub

WalletHub is another service that offers free credit score checking.

WalletHub works by monitoring your financial accounts. They keep an eye on every detail of your accounts, including transactions you might make on your cards.

This information is used to create a report that gives you an idea of your financial standing. WalletHub’s display is similar to those of the above-mentioned entries on this list, showing you your current score and how your score has changed.

WalletHub updates these details daily, allowing users to stay perfectly up-to-date with their credit scores and histories.

WalletHub is free to use and provides constant access to your credit score. All that’s required is the standard bit of personal information used to set up your account.

#4. Nerdwallet

Nerdwallet is a website designed to help people of all financial backgrounds learn more about and manage their finances. The site offers numerous informational articles and reviews that can help those who visit learn how to boost their credit scores.

Additionally, Nerdwallet allows visitors to create an account. This account is free and gives you access to a host of tools that you can use to analyze your finances.

Among these tools is a credit score checker. As is standard, Nerdwallet’s credit score report shows your credit score along with a graph that shows the history of your score.

Nerdwallet can be a great choice for those who want a general overview of their finances in many areas: their credit score.

That said, Nerdwallet’s credit score check isn’t as in-depth as some other competitors. If you are looking for the most detailed report possible, you might consider other options.

#5. AnnualCreditReport.com

If ease of use and legitimacy are primary concerns for you, you may consider getting your credit score from AnnualCreditReport.com.

AnnualCreditReport.com is a website that provides users one free credit score check every year.

AnnualCreditReport.com is recognized by the Federal Trade Commission, meaning it is lawfully required to provide users with a free credit score every year.

All that is required to get your free yearly credit score check through AnnualCreditReport.com is some basic information like your name, birthday, and social security number.

That said, the site is as bare-bones as it comes with its reporting. You will get your credit score and nothing else.

AnnualCreditReport.com is great if you don’t care much for your credit history and just want to know your score. It’s also great if you thoroughly know what you need to do already and just want to know where your score sits currently.

For those looking for a more detailed and informative report, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

#6. CreditWise

Typically, you can find out your credit score through your credit card company. Most will provide your FICO score for free if you are already a cardholder.

Capital One is going a step further with CreditWise. CreditWise aims to provide free credit score checks to everyone, regardless of whether they have a Capital One card or not.

CreditWise provides the standard credit score along with a number of helpful tools.

Their simulator tool allows you to see how various financial choices might change your score moving forward. This makes planning for a better score easy, as you can directly see what might happen moving forward.

CreditWise also features a score breakdown that shows what factors impact your score and to what degree.

All of this makes CreditWise one of the best apps to check your score for free. It allows you to plan and understand your history to make the most informed decisions regarding your credit.

#7. Credit.com

Credit.com is a basic but still very helpful site that provides users insight into their credit score for free.

The site sets itself apart by offering not just one but two different credit scores. Users get access to both their Experian score and their Vantage 3.0 score.

This means that users can get the most accurate picture of their current credit score possible, as they can compare the scores and understand the potential range their score may have.

Credit.com provides ubiquitous information that shows how your credit score has changed. They also offer tips for how you may improve your score moving forward.

The site is free to use and makes all its money through promotional links.

This is a great choice if you want to access multiple different credit reports in one convenient place.

>> More: Credit Karma vs. Credit Sesame

Credit Score vs. FICO Score vs. Credit Report

If you’ve been looking into credit scores, you may have come across some confusing terminology. The terms “credit score,” “FICO score,” and “credit report” all seem to point at the same thing.

So, is there a difference?

The answer is yes.

“Credit score” is the general term for any number that indicates your credit. This term includes FICO scores, and a credit score will always be a part of a credit report.

A FICO score is a specific type of credit score provided by the Fair Isaac Corp. It is widely considered the most important score because it is the score used by most major financial institutions.

A credit report is a detailed explanation of your credit. It will include a credit score but will also show what has impacted your score.

As you can see, there are times where the terms can be used interchangeably, but they are not technically the same.

How to Get a Free Credit Score (Step-by-Step)

So, how do you go about getting your free score? It’s simple. Just follow these steps.

#1. Compare Free Credit Monitoring Apps

The first step is to carefully compare the free credit monitoring apps we’ve listed above.

Each app has its own unique features that may be better suited to different situations. You’ll want to take your time comparing these features so you can choose the option that will be most helpful and relevant to your financial wellbeing.

>> More: Best Credit Monitoring Services

#2. Sign Up

Once you’ve chosen the best app for you, the next step is to sign up for a free account.

For most apps, this is incredibly simple. You’ll provide your name, date of birth, address, and social security number.

The app will then use this information to pull up your financial background and provide you with your score.

#3. Receive Free Credit Score

Once that’s done, the app will provide you with your credit score. Depending on which app you use, this may come as an email or be available on a dashboard.

Regardless of the format, accessing your score should be pretty straightforward.

#4. Begin Building Credit Responsibly

Now that you have your score, you should use it to begin responsibly building your credit. While this should be pretty easy to do in most cases, some of the apps make it even easier by offering tips directly.

Are Free Credit Reports Worth It?

There is almost no downside to getting a free credit report. So long as you use a reliable and trustworthy site, the worst thing you might face is a few promotional advertisements.

That said, the upside of understanding your credit score can be enormous. We highly recommend using a free credit reporting app if you don’t already. This will help find out if you have a good credit scoreor bad credit score and what steps to take to improve it.

Why Is It Important to Check Your Credit Score?

Checking your credit score is important for a number of reasons.

For starters, monitoring your credit score can keep you from letting it drop too low. If you stay informed, you’ll be much more likely to catch and correct any downward trends before they get too serious.

Additionally, checking your credit score gives you insight into how you can improve it. Raising your credit score gives you access to cheaper and more rewarding credit cards and loans. These can make a world of difference if used properly.

>> More: What Is Credit Monitoring?

Bottom Line: Best Place to Check Credit Score

Knowing your credit score is a vital part of any healthy financial understanding.

These free credit checking apps are all great for getting at least a base understanding of your credit score. While each app has different features, all of them will give you your credit score at the very least.

Knowing this, you can begin to improve your score, opening up future opportunities and increasing your overall financial wellbeing.

If you don’t already know and monitor your credit score, we highly recommend signing up for one of these free apps.

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Elijah Bishop
Elijah Bishop

Elijah A. Bishop is a Senior Personal Finance Writer who has been writing about real estate and mortgages for years. He has a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Creative writing from Georgia State University and has also attended the Climer School of Real Estate. He also holds a realtor license and has been in and out of the US mortgage industry as a loan officer. Bringing over 15 years of experience, Elijah produces content that analyzes ethnicities, race, and financial well-being. His areas of expertise are mortgages, real estate, and personal loans.