It used to be difficult to get hold of your credit score. But now you can hardly avoid it.
I receive monthly emails from my bank and credit card issuers letting me know that I can see my free credit score online. Some of them are educational scores, but others are free FICO scores, which is the credit score used by 90% of lenders.
The focus on credit scores – specifically free scores – could influence the number of people who now check their scores. A Consumer Federation of America survey shows that 57% of consumers checked at least one credit score in 2018.
How Credit Monitoring Services Differ From Credit Score Apps
It’s easy to confuse credit monitoring services with credit scoring apps. A credit monitoring service aims to protect you against fraud. Some of these credit monitoring services are free, but many offer premium services that increase your level of protection against fraud and identity theft for a monthly fee.
Unless there’s a pressing need in your life — like a difficult divorce or a past experience with identity theft — it’s unlikely to be worth it. You can also monitor your bank and credit card accounts online yourself.
Credit score apps give you access to your credit score. Since many of us are quite addicted to our smartphones (raising our hands), why not use a credit score app to get score updates? It’s convenient and in many cases you get way more than your score.
So let’s take a look at these free apps for your credit score:
All of these apps work on both Android and iOS. So take your time and decide which app is best for you.
Mint: budget, bill and finance tracking
This is a free online money management tool that has been around since 2006. In 2009, Mint was acquired by Intuit, which is why you often see the two names together.
Mint has an easy to use app that includes a credit score as well as options for creating budgets and setting goals. Seeing the big picture can help you make better financial decisions. It’s great to see your score, but it’s also helpful to see why your score might be low. The Mint app displays the factors involved, such as credit usage, and gives you a score. For example, if your credit usage is less than 10% of your available credit, you’ll likely get an “excellent” rating for that factor.
Best Feature: You can view your budget, credit card and bank account balances, financial goals, and credit score all in one place. This app is the personal finance version of the One Stop Shop. If you’re looking for an app that gives you pretty much everything you need, Mint is a good option.
Credit score version: Mint offers a VantageScore 3.0 based on information in your TransUnion credit file. Your score is updated every seven days. Getting a FICO score would be optimal, but it’s still a good way to gauge your overall credit health. And feel free to mix things up a bit. I use Mint to manage my money, but I also get a free FICO score from one of my credit card issuers.
Discover the credit score card
You don’t need to be a Discover cardholder to use Credit Scorecard. As with many apps, you also get data on how different factors affect your score – for example, your credit usage, new accounts, etc. It also shows what could be hurting your score, such as multiple requests or missed payments.
Best Feature: Discover offers a monthly FICO score based on your credit report with Experian. Keep in mind that FICO and educational credit scores change often throughout the month. When your credit report is updated, the FICO score will reflect the new data. This is why your FICO score is always subject to change.
Discover will also monitor your social security number and let you know if it is, for example, on a risky website, including the dark web. This feature is a great advantage, especially if you are worried about identity theft.
Credit score version: You will get a monthly FICO score of 8, and the score is based on information from your TransUnion credit report.
Capital One’s CreditWise
You don’t need to be a Capital One cardholder to use this tool. But if you’re a cardholder, you can sign in to CreditWise using your existing account information. CreditWise offers weekly updates of your credit score and credit report.
Capital One also offers free credit monitoring, and you don’t need to be a cardholder to take advantage of this feature either. So, if you are in a situation where you want to monitor your credit score and credit report frequently, this app is here for you.
Best Feature: The app has a simulator that lets you see how your financial decisions affect your credit score. Although not an exact science, it can give you a general idea of what could happen if you, for example, go on a spending spree with your credit cards and increase your interest rate. use.
Credit score version: You can earn a weekly VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on information in your TransUnion credit report. Again, it’s not optimal because it’s not a FICO score, but it’s still useful for gaining insight into your credit life.
American Express MyCredit Guide
You’re viewing data on a mobile-optimized website, so it’s not technically an app. But just think of it as another free way to check your credit score through your smartphone.
You can register for MyCredit Guide even if you are not an American Express cardholder. You get a variety of helpful information, including email alerts when critical changes occur in your TransUnion credit file.
Best Feature: You are automatically subscribed to a comprehensive set of alerts that will notify you of events that impact your TransUnion credit file. For example, if a new account is opened in your name, you will receive an alert. It’s like having an extra pair of eyes on the lookout for fraud.
Credit score version: You’ll get a weekly VantageScore 3.0 based on information in your TransUnion credit report. Plus, there’s a score simulator that shows you how your financial decisions affect your credit score.
Experian CreditWorks Basic
Experian offers a free version, CreditWorks Basic, which lets you check your Experian credit report and FICO score once a month. If you think you need a full package that includes credit monitoring, Experian has a CreditWorks Premium version that you might be interested in.
Best Feature: It’s great that you have access to a FICO score with this app. You can get more features with the premium version, but to keep an eye on your FICO score, the free version is enough.
Credit score version: You have monthly access to your FICO 8 score. The score is based on the information in your Experian credit report.
More options to get your free credit score
You might decide you need one of the paid versions to stay on top of things, but if a free version does the trick for you, great. And before signing up for a premium version with a monthly subscription, consider thinking outside the box.
Most credit card issuers now offer free scores with your monthly statement. Some of them are FICO scores, and some are educational scores. These credit card companies are among those that share free FICO scores:
- Bank of America: FICO score.
- Barclays: FICO.
- Citi: FICO score.
- Wells Fargo: FICO score.
Many other issuers and banks, such as Chase, offer free VantageScores. And as I pointed out before, these aren’t as relevant as your FICO score, but you still get an idea of your credit status. Also check the institution where you do your day-to-day banking. Many banks offer free credit scores and applications to their customers.
Is checking your credit score hurting you?
If you’re worried that checking your credit score will lower your credit score, you can relax. Checking your credit score (or your credit report) does not lower your score.
Tracking your score helps you set credit goals. When your FICO score reaches 760, you’re more likely to get the best interest rates on mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards. Building great credit takes time, which means you can’t wait until you’re ready to apply for a mortgage to start worrying about it.
So pull out your phone – if it’s not already in your hands – and check your free credit score to see where you stand. Monitoring your credit goals has never been easier.