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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
If you’ve been shelling out some cash to check your credit score, I have bad news: You’re overpaying. The consumer financial landscape used to be covered with deceptive invitations for “free” credit monitoring services that wound up hitting consumers with recurring fees, but the marketplace has become much more transparent. Over the past few years, more companies have started offering free, no-strings-attached credit scores.
Here are four easy ways to learn how you look in the eyes of potential lenders:
1. Count on one of these cards.
If you’re already carrying a credit card, you may already have access to your credit score. For example, Citi has a partnership with Equifax that allows all of the bank’s credit card holders to monitor their FICO scores. If you’re looking to keep your costs low, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option that doesn’t come with an annual fee. Bank of America also offers customers complimentary access to their credit scores, which are updated on a monthly basis. The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is another great no-fee option, and it’s currently offering a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days.
2. Enroll in Chase Credit Journey.
Even if you aren’t a Chase customer, you can still take advantage of the bank’s new Credit Journey offering. Chase launched this new tool in December 2016, and it’s a pretty handy way of reviewing your VantageScore 3.0 credit score from TransUnion. The site updates your score on a weekly basis. The tool’s most valuable component is the ability to see how a range of different scenarios would impact your score. From paying off all your balances in full to missing a payment to canceling a card, the simulator gives you an idea of how your score would change based on a number of what-ifs.
3. Sign up for Capital One’s CreditWise program.
Similar to Chase, Capital One offers everyone — including non-customers — the ability to check their credit scores. The major difference with CreditWise is that it’s also available as a mobile app. So, if you’re looking to check your credit health while you’re on the go, this is a convenient option.
4. See your Credit Scorecard from Discover.
Discover also doesn’t care if you’re one of its customers. Its Credit Scorecard program is available to everyone, giving you a free option to look at your FICO score. The website offers a reassuring message that it’ll “never sell your information” to third parties. While it’s good to know that Discover won’t give your data to anyone else, it seems likely that it — and every other bank getting in on the free credit score game — will use your information to tailor certain offers for other products to your individual needs. So while you’ll get your credit score, there’s also a chance you’ll end up geting plenty of new emails and envelopes with offers for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.
It’s important to note that all these offerings only give you one score, and your score may vary across the three major credit reporting agencies. For a closer look at your financial picture, I recommend going to annualcreditreport.com to obtain a copy of your complete credit report from each of these agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees free access to all three reports once every 12 months.
Interested in learning more about how your credit score is calculated? Check out “5 Lesser-Known Things that Affect Your Credit Score.”
What’s your favorite way to check your credit score for free?
Featured image courtesy of AndreyPopov via Getty Images.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards