The Best Way to Check Your Credit Score

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Your credit score is possibly the most important number in your financial profile. A lot of websites offer free credit scores. But Consumer Reports says they may come with strings attached and may not be that helpful for those eager to find out how their credit score measures up.

“I do think credit score is very important. No, I don’t have any idea what mine is,” said one person.

“I’m young, I’m only 22,” added another. “So I figure I want to keep my credit score good, so I check that every month.”

Credit Sesame, Credit.com, Quizzle.com, and Credit Karma are just a few of the many websites that promise a free credit score, but be aware the score you get may not be the same score lenders use to determine your creditworthiness.

“There are hundreds of different ways to score the same credit information. So there’s no guarantee that a lender you approach will use the same score that you got online,” explained Tobie Stanger with Consumer Reports.

And many of the sites like FreeCreditScore.com and Free Score Online will start charging a monthly fee after a brief trial period. But, Consumer Reports said there’s a program using FICO scores that could help some consumers get more accurate and truly free scores. FICO is the most widely used system among lenders.

“Under the FICO Score Open Access Program, a number of big lenders are now providing free FICO scores. These free scores are the ones the lender will really use to judge your credit risk,” suggested Stanger.

Some of the big national lenders who participate are Chase Bank, Citibank, Barclaycard, Discover, and Ally Financial. And the list is growing.

“There are limitations to the FICO program. You have to be a customer of the lender. And you may have to have a certain type of account with them, usually a credit card.”

Keep in mind that your credit score is based on your detailed credit report, and you need to check that regularly, too.

There is only one site Consumer Reports recommends to get your free credit report. That is AnnualCreditReport.com. Through that site you’ll to get your credit report free every year from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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