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How to check your credit score for free

Sept. 13, 2022
10 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.


Your credit score is a critical metric for your ability to receive a credit card and score a lucrative sign-up bonus. Knowing your score — and how to improve it — is a fundamental of the points-and-miles hobby.

Before 2005, you would have probably had to pay to check your credit score. But since then, you can check your credit score for free from each credit reporting agency once every 12 months. However, not all credit scores are the same. In fact, you likely have multiple credit scores at any given moment.

Here are your options for a free credit score check from each credit reporting agency.

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Why do I have different credit scores?

There are two primary types of credit scores: FICO Score and VantageScore. And the data used to calculate either of these scores can come from any one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. Additionally, both FICO Score and VantageScore have different versions of their score models. Most commonly, you'll see FICO Score 8 and VantageScore 3.0, but it is possible to see other versions as well.

SCYTHER5/GETTY IMAGES

With all of these different variables, it's easy to see why the same person can have multiple credit scores. My TransUnion VantageScore 3.0, for example, is currently a full 37 points higher than my Experian FICO Score 8.

It's not always possible to know which credit reporting agency an issuer will check, so it's helpful to check your credit score in multiple places regularly.

Experian

American Express automatically pulls an Experian FICO Score 8 credit score each month for “primary card members who get a monthly statement and have an available score.” You won’t be able to access your credit score if you’re only an authorized user or if your card activity wasn’t enough to generate a statement. You can access your current score as well as your score history by logging into your American Express account through this link.

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Chase also allows anyone to check their Experian VantageScore 3.0 credit score once a week through Credit Journey. Chase cardholders are prompted to log into their account to view their score. Once you do, scroll down to find the Credit Journey link.

Experian itself allows everyone to request their Experian FICO Score 8 credit score for free through its FreeCreditScore website. Your score will be updated at login, up to once per 30 days.

Wells Fargo lets the “primary account holder of an eligible Wells Fargo consumer account with a FICO Score available and enrolled in Wells Fargo Online banking” pull their Experian FICO 9 Score. Cardholders are instructed to sign on to their account and select "View Your FICO Credit Score" from the Planning and Tools section of their Account Summary. The score updates “on or around the 5th business day of each month.”

TransUnion

American Express allows anyone to check their TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score for free each week using MyCredit Guide. Your credit score is pulled at the time you request it, up to once every seven days. This is especially helpful if you want to know your current credit score.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

Bank of America provides “eligible customers with a consumer credit card” access to their TransUnion FICO Score 8 credit score. The score is automatically updated monthly. To access your score, log in to your account and click View Your FICO Score.

Barclays credit cardholders get free access to their TransUnion FICO Score 8 credit score. You can see your current score and history by logging into your account and clicking the “Your FICO Credit Score” link, which is found under the “services” drop-down menu.

Capital One offers everyone their TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 through CreditWise. Capital One credit cardholders can log in with their credit card account credentials to avoid needing to set up a separate user account.

Discover lets cardholders and banking customers pull their TransUnion FICO Score 8 credit score as often as they wish through Credit Scorecard inside their user dashboard online.

U.S. Bank lets cardholders see their TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score for free through the user’s Dashboard.

Equifax

You’re really limited if you want to pull your Equifax credit score. There’s just one bank that offers it. Citi offers cardholders of “select Citi cards” access to their Equifax FICO Bankcard Score 8. Note that the FICO Bankcard 8 uses a different credit score range (250-900) from the others, so your number here might differ significantly from other places.

Although the list of cards that unlock this free credit score check isn’t listed anywhere on Citi’s website, I can tell from my personal cards that at least the following cards are included:

The score is updated monthly and there’s a 10-day delay from when the score is calculated to when it’s available “to allow time for Citi to validate the information.”

The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Dividend, and the AT&T Access Card from Citi has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Non-bank sources

In addition to getting your credit score from banks, some third-party websites offer users the ability to create a profile to check their credit score. You should know, however, that these sites don’t have the data-protection requirements that banks are required to have.

MINT

Credit.com allows anyone to set up an account to view their Experian VantageScore 3.0 credit score every 14 days.

Credit Karma lets users see both their TransUnion and Equifax VantageScore 3.0 credit scores for free by setting up an account. This seems to be the only source of a free Equifax credit score that is available to anyone.

Credit Sesame is another source for anyone to get their TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score. Your score will be updated “every month typically on your first log in of a new month.”

Mint also lets you pull a TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score. Most other third-party sources only ask for the last four digits of your social security number (SSN), but Mint requires that you enter your full SSN to create your account.

All the options

Here’s a chart summarizing all of the above options:

Bank or serviceReporting agencyScore typeAccessUpdates
American Express.Experian.FICO Score 8.Primary cardmembers.Monthly.
American Express.TransUnion.VantageScore 3.0.Public.Upon request (every 30 days).
Bank of America.TransUnion.FICO Score 8.Personal cardholders.Monthly.
Barclays.TransUnion.FICO Score 8.Cardholders.(Unclear).
Capital One.TransUnion.VantageScore 3.0.Public.Weekly.
Citi.Equifax.FICO Bankcard Score 8.Holders of "select Citi cards."Monthly.
Chase.Experian.VantageScore 3.0.Public.Upon request (every 7 days).
Credit.com.Experian.VantageScore 3.0.Public.14 days.
Credit Karma.TransUnion and Equifax.VantageScore 3.0.Public.(Unclear).
Credit Sesame.TransUnion.VantageScore 3.0.Public.Upon request (monthly).
Discover.TransUnion.FICO Score 8.Cardholders.Upon request (every 30 days).
Experian.Experian.FICO Score 8PublicUpon request (every 30 days).
Mint.TransUnion.VantageScore 3.0.Public.(Unclear).
U.S. Bank.TransUnion.VantageScore 3.0.Cardholders.(Unclear).
Wells Fargo.Experian.FICO Score 9.Primary cardholders.Monthly around the 5th.

Improving your score

Not satisfied with your results? There are things you can do to improve your credit score. Here's a video if you’d rather learn by watching:

Does checking your credit score hurt your credit?

It’s a common myth that checking your credit score hurts your credit but this is not true. It’s likely that this idea grew out of the fact that when your credit is “checked” by banks or utility companies when you’re opening an account, it shows up on your credit report and can result in a 10-20 point ding on your score. When this happens, it’s known as a “hard inquiry” or “hard pull.” The number of these types of inquiries you’ve had in the recent past is also a small part of your credit score.

But when you take a look at your own credit score it’s what is known as a “soft pull” or “soft inquiry” and won’t have a negative impact on your credit score. Because of this, you can (and should) check your credit score often.

Check your credit score for free every year

By law, you are entitled to a full credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once a year for free. To get your full reports, head on over to the annual credit report site and click the “Request your free credit reports” button.

Bottom line

There are many places you can check your credit score for free. Check your score often and in multiple places to have an accurate picture of your credit standing.

If you want to learn more about credit scores and credit score checks, we have scores (pun intended) of resources for you to learn more:

Additional reporting by Emily Thompson and Jason Stauffer.

Featured image by Getty Images/Hero Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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