Help Desk FAQ

Credit reports and scores

 

I was offered a free credit score—is this for real?

Federal law requires the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to each provide consumers one free credit report every 12 months upon request. These orders are processed through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only website authorized by the government. But it does not offer free credit scores

You can buy your credit score for about $15 at MyFico. You can also get it by accepting a "free" offer at any number of sites, including those belonging to the three credit bureaus. But these offers usually come with strings attached. In many cases, you inadvertantly sign up for an ongoing credit monitoring service that charges a monthly or annual fee.

Fortunately, there are some truly free sources of scores. Many companies offering credit allow existing customers to check their score for free on an ongoing basis. The FICO "open access" program is now offered by 50 lenders, including well-known companies such as American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. Discover allows non-customers who provide personal data to get a free score, too. And, Experian's FreeCreditScore.com offers access to your score without providing a credit card or signing up for a "free trial," like some websites require.

Learn more about credit scores in Consumer Action’s Credit Reports and Credit Scores.

 

 

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