How to Get a Free Credit Report and Score

how to get a free credit report and score

How to get a free credit report and score is actually more straightforward than you may think. Your credit report is a complete accounting of all the different lines of credit you have open, as well as all your previous accounts that are closed, along with your payment history. It includes loans, credit cards, and even utility accounts, and determines your credit score. Did you know that the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, are each required by law to give you a free annual copy of your credit report? The best way to get these is through the site Each agency must provide a credit report to you at no cost every 12 months.

Other, look-alike sites claim to offer the same service, but most of these will require a monthly subscription, which these unscrupulous companies will happily bill to your credit card. Don’t fall for a scam ad. If a site asks you for your credit card information to subscribe, it’s not really free.

One way to get free regular credit monitoring is to request your annual report from only one agency at a time, and spread your three reports out over a year—once every 4 months. Use the report to make sure there are no errors that might negatively affect your credit score, and that no new lines of credit in your name have been opened without your permission.

Your credit score is separate from your credit report. It’s possible to have multiple credit scores, depending on who determines them and for what purpose, such as auto insurance. The three major credit reporting agencies provide one single score.

Many credit card companies are now offering to provide access to your credit score at no charge, as an additional perk to attract consumers. If your card doesn’t provide this service free of charge, you can use Credit Karma to get your free score. Credit Karma can also be used to monitor your credit report. There’s no catch—Credit Karma makes money by advertising consumer credit services such as loans and credit cards. We hope you feel empowered on how to get a free credit report and score now.

Dr. Martha Menard is a behavioral scientist, financial wellness coach, and member of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education and the Financial Therapy Association.

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