You’ve seen the ads everywhere for “free FICO scores” but you click and you click and never seem to track down this illusive creature. You’re wondering what is my credit score? But you’d rather not pay to find out…it’s your credit score after all.
The myth of the free FICO score likely comes from the confusion over FICO scores versus credit reports. Credit bureaus like Experian, Trans Union and Equifax are obliged by law to provide you with a free credit report once a year. But to get fico score you’ll need to lay out some cash.
A free credit report with score will contain a list of all the transactions logged against your account. It is useful to review your credit report to check for accuracy. However, your credit report will not include your FICO score which is a complex calculated value based on many factors which are derived from the items and dates of the items included in your credit report.
The credit report will also include a FICO score explanation and an overview of how the items on your credit report can be affected by items like a mortgage and a refinancing process.
Even getting a free credit report can be tricky but this is the best site to use: Free Credit Reports (US only). And yes, these reports are free…so what about FICO scores?
Free FICO Scores?
Credit scores or FICO scores are not available for free. But the best place to obtain your FICO score or credit score is through the company that invented the system (Fair Isaac Company …thus FICO).
At their official site MyFico.com, you can pull a copy of the exact report, called a tri-merge FICO score that mortgage brokers will use to evaluate your loan applications.
Another advantage of using MyFico is that you can dispute any errors in your report directly through them, which can save a lot of time and hassles.
However the coolest feature of using My Fico for a FICO score with the intent of improving your FICO score, is the live “see the effect” feature which allows you to see how your score will improve when you take certain financial actions like paying off the balance of your credit card, or taking a home equity loan. A very useful and cool tool for credit management.
Using monitoring »” rel=”nofollow”>Credit Monitoring Services to get a Free FICO Score
Okay, I lied, some credit monitoring services will provide you with a free credit FICO score but the credit monitoring usually runs you around $15 to $20 a month. Credit monitoring services help to recognize and alert you to possible errors or fraudulent activities, like charges caused by stolen credit cards or identity theft, which may show up on your account. Credit monitoring services don’t actually prevent anything bad from happening to your FICO score; they only make you aware if something negative has happened.
One Last Hope for Free FICO Scores…
Just as a reward to you for reading all the way down to the end of this post, there is one way to obtain your FICO score for free. All you need to do is ask someone who has pulled your score. For example if you are applying for a loan, ask your loan officer or mortgage broker to tell you your score. They aren’t obliged to give it to you, but they don’t really have any reason to not tell you either.
Knowing you FICO score and taking the steps to improve your FICO score can save you many thousands of dollars on loans, mortgages or even insurance costs. Therefore paying a small fee to stay on top of your score (at least once a year) is probably a very wise financial move.