Confession time. At this time last year I’d never checked my FICO credit score.
About 5-6 months ago I decided that your FICO score matters, and so I signed up for a free account at Credit Karma (at the time I didn’t know that Credit Karma doesn’t even give you your FICO credit score, but other credit scores) to help me monitor what’s happening with my credit. Before that point, I’d never paid any attention to my credit score.
However, in light of my recent interest in airline credit card rewards and the likelihood of buying a home in the next few years, I thought checking my credit score would be a good idea. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t making penny wise and pound foolish decisions. Ultimately, I decided that there wasn’t enough good (trustworthy) information on how opening and closing credit cards impacts your credit score so I thought I’d make myself a test subject. As such, I’m planning to closely monitor my FICO credit score online over the next year.
Now, I just have to find the best way to get my FICO credit score.
Why not Stick with Credit Karma to Get My FICO Credit Score?
Credit Karma is more like an old pocket watch than a precision stop watch. If you want to know what time it is, you can get an idea from a pocket watch. It may be about 1:15, but it’s really hard to know if it’s 1:15 or 1:17. Thus, if you were going to time the 100 meter dash, you’d want something a little more precise.
In addition, Credit Karma offers you a free Transrisk score, Vantage score, and auto insurance score (provided by TransUnion). However, you cannot use Credit Karma to get a FICO score online.
Since part of my desire in checking my credit score is to learn exactly (first hand) how signing up for and canceling a credit card impacts my credit score, something more precise than a broad gauge is needed. I also need access to my FICO score, not a substitute of the score.
What You Need To Know Before Checking Your Credit Score:
There are many different types of credit scores that lenders can use.
The CreditShout website lists the following:
- VantageScore (you can actually now get a free VantageScore with Credit Karma)
However, the same article says that 90% of all lenders use your FICO score. Thus, it seems like when you are checking your credit score, your best best is to be sure you’re getting your FICO score, not another one. You should also know that checking your credit score does not impact the score.
The Credit Score Confusion: FICO vs. Credit Score
Hey, I’ll be honest. This stuff has me scratching my head.
When you do a Google search, you’ll find the terminology is confusing. You’ll see “Get your credit score” or get a “free credit score”. However, most of those places are offering the Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and VantageScores, not the FICO score.
Remember, FICO is important because that is the score that most institutions use.
One you decide that you want to get your FICO score, there’s not many solid options.
MyFICO : The Best Place to Get My FICO Credit Score Online
My research kept circling back to MyFICO.
Here’s why I think MyFICO is the place to get your FICO score:
It is a trusted company and one of the few that actually offer The FICO score. I didn’t want to trust some random company with my social security number. Unfortunately, it’s hard to prove the legitimacy of some companies, so I decided it’s best to go with an established company.
It has some of the best pricing for a FICO score. In fact, I read an article on how to get your free FICO score, but it doesn’t list a single way to get a free FICO score. (I’m not blaming the website owner as people obviously search for that term.) Moreover, all but one of the paid products recommended were from MyFICO. The other one was much more expensive.
A comment on this post indicated that you can contact your bank or credit union and ask them for your FICO score. I didn’t try that, but it might be worth giving it a shot.
MyFICO Product Offerings : One Free FICO Credit Score Option
The FICO Standard allows you get get your FICO score for $19.95. This is a quick and painless way to get your FICO score.
If you’re looking for something a little more consistent, you might consider FICO Quarterly Monitoring. I think ultimately that’s probably what I’ll end up getting over the next year to help me monitor my score. It costs $4.95 per month or $49.95 per year, and it allows you to get a FICO credit score online every 3 months. If you paid annually, that would be about $12.50 per score.
By the way, be sure you Google MyFICO discount to find 20-25% off discount codes.
There is a free FICO Credit Score option:
You can get a one time FICO score if you sign up for FICO Score Watch. It is a services that costs $14.95 per month, but you can get a 10-day trial membership. I have attached the terms and conditions below.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: When you order your free FICO® Score here, you will begin your 10-day trial membership in Score Watch®. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 10-day trial period, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership. You may cancel your trial membership anytime within the trial period without charge.
For now, I decided to go with the free option with the trial membership.
By creating an account, I was able to get my first look at my FICO credit score.
My score was … never mind.
Do you monitor your credit score? Do you? Do you use MyFICO or another service? Have you found other ways to get a free FICO credit score?