How to Get a Free Credit Report or Credit Score Check

Short Answer: You can access your free credit report once every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com. For more frequent monitoring or to check your score without pulling the full report, there are options from third-party services like Credit Karma, some credit card issuers or banks, and directly from the credit bureaus. We list the places that offer free credit reports and scores below.

Understanding Your Report/Score

The federal government mandates that the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) provide every person free access to their credit report annually.[1]

A credit report isn’t the same thing as a credit score. A credit report shows the transactions that make up your credit history, while a credit score embeds that data in a single numerical value. No governmental law or statute mandates that you receive a free credit score. Fortunately, though, many banks, credit card issuers, and independent companies can provide you with one.

It’s worth noting that the federal mandate that allows consumers to access their credit reports for free has drawn the attention of disreputable people and companies looking to defraud the unaware. Find out more under the “Common Scams to Avoid” section below.

Free Credit Score Limitations

As noted above, your credit score provides a less thorough picture of your credit profile than the full report. There are also some limitations to note. First, no bank or business will provide you with a free credit score from all three credit bureaus — that’s a paid service. Instead, each entity that offers a free credit score provides it only from a single bureau.

Second, not all credit scores are created equal or use the same formula. The Fair Issac Corporation (FICO) score is the dominant score for most financial institutions, used in more than 90% of U.S. lending decisions.[2] However, in 2006, the three major credit bureaus designed VantageScore, a combined effort designed to provide a more consistent score. Many places offering free credit scores use VantageScore, but note that most lenders don’t base their decisions on it. (See our related research on the companies that use VantageScore.)

How to Get a Free Credit Report

You can order your credit report online from AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can request your report once every 12 months under the federal mandate noted above.

To make a request, you’ll need to fill out your legal name, birthday, Social Security number, and address. Pick the report(s) you want  — Equifax, Experian, and/or TransUnion. Once you submit your request, you’ll need to answer a few additional questions to verify your identity. You’ll then receive a digital copy of your report(s), which you can save or print.

How to Get a Free Credit Score Check

The following companies offer free credit report and/or score checks. While some have requirements for eligibility (e.g., you must be a cardholder), others are free to everyone. We’ve ordered the list starting with the best overall options.

Equifax

Experian

Credit Karma

Discover Credit Scorecard

Credit.com

Intuit Turbo

Mint

American Express MyCredit Guide

CreditWise from Capital One

U.S. Bank

Bank of America

Chase Credit Journey

Citibank

Navy Federal Credit Union

DCU Credit Union

SF Fire Credit Union

Common Scams to Avoid

When attempting to access your free credit score, there are several steps you can take to avoid being defrauded. Know that you shouldn’t have to enter any credit card or bank information to receive your score from a reputable source. Additionally, you shouldn’t need to purchase a product or start a subscription. If a site asks you to do any of these things, it’s in your best interest to avoid it.

For example, a well-known site that advertises free credit report checks but requires a subscription and collects your credit card information is FreeCreditReport.com.[24]

Additionally, pay close attention to the URL and domain name of any website that you visit. Scammers often snare unwary users by creating legitimate-looking sites with slightly misspelled titles.[25]

Finally, remain cautious when responding to emails that seem to be from a credit reporting organization or an affiliated company. Rather than clicking on a link when you receive an email that states that something has caused your credit score to change, for example, you should log in to your account directly.

  1. //www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report[]
  2. https://ficoscore.com/about/[]
  3. http://equifax.com/personal/products/credit/free-credit-score/[]
  4. https://www.equifax.com/personal/products/credit/free-credit-score/[]
  5. https://www.equifax.com/personal/help/what-is-difference-between-fico-score-and-equifax-credit-score/[]
  6. https://www.experian.com/consumer-products/credit-score.html[][][]
  7. https://www.creditkarma.com/free-credit-score[]
  8. https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/vantagescore-vs-fico[][]
  9. https://www.creditscorecard.com/login[][][]
  10. https://www.credit.com/free-credit-score/[][][]
  11. https://turbo.intuit.com/free-credit-score-report/[][][]
  12. https://www.mint.com/how-mint-works/credit[][][]
  13. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/features-benefits/free-credit-score/[][][]
  14. https://creditwise.capitalone.com/[][][]
  15. https://www.usbank.com/online-mobile-banking/online-banking/get-your-free-credit-score.html[][][]
  16. https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/free-fico-credit-score/[][][]
  17. https://www.chase.com/personal/credit-cards/chase-credit-journey[][][]
  18. https://www.cardbenefits.citi.com/Products/FICO-Score[][][]
  19. https://www.navyfederal.org/loans-cards/credit-cards/cardholder-resources/fico-credit-score.php[][]
  20. Navy Federal Credit Union customer service (888) 842-6328[]
  21. https://www.dcu.org/services/fee-free-services/monthly-fico-score.html[][][]
  22. https://sffirecu.org/article/your-free-fico-score-with-sf-fire-credit-union/[][]
  23. SF Fire Credit Union customer service (888) 499-3473[]
  24. https://www.nbcnews.com/technolog/dont-fall-freecreditreport-com-6C10406702[]
  25. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports[]