There are lots of easy ways to get your credit score for free online. However, most of those scores aren’t your true FICO Score that lenders use as part of their decision on your creditworthiness. Obtaining your true credit score often comes at a cost.
In recent years FICO has been working to change that by allowing banks and credit unions to give you free access to your real score that lenders use. Keep reading to find out what to look out for when you see websites advertising “free credit scores”, how to get your free FICO score, as well as other ways you can monitor and keep your credit healthy.
Table of Contents
- Is my FICO score the same as my credit score?
- Why does your credit score matter?
- How often does your credit score change?
- Can you buy a better credit score?
- Is your FICO score really free?
- How to get your free FICO score
- Can you check your FICO score without hurting credit?
- Monitor and improve your credit score with MoneyLion
- A better credit score means a better financial future
Is my FICO score the same as my credit score?
Your FICO Score and credit score are both ways to determine your creditworthiness and the likelihood that you will fall 90 days behind on a bill within the next 24 months. FICO offers a specific brand of credit score that many lenders use when determining how much risk they’re taking by giving you a loan or credit card. Some lenders choose to make their scoring models or will use competitor’s credit scores.
FICO Scores are determined using complex algorithms based on information in your credit report from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Periodically FICO also releases new versions of its scores or creates different versions to work with each credit bureaus database, so you can have multiple FICO Scores.
FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850 and group consumers by credit scoring ranges. For example, 800 to 850 is considered exceptional, while anything below 670 is considered poor. Each scoring model FICO uses takes a unique approach and may result in a different score depending on the bureaus they’re working with.
Why does your credit score matter?
Having a good or bad credit score can affect more areas of your life than you might think. First off, your credit score will determine whether you’re able to obtain a loan as well as the interest rates you’ll pay on those loans. Bad credit means you’ll pay more interest over the life of any loans you take out. It also affects premiums for auto and homeowners coverage. When you have a low score it can also keep you from getting, a car, a home, and even landing a job, so it’s important to stay on top of your score and do what you can to get to and maintain a good credit score.
How often does your credit score change?
Your credit score takes time to build up, but you may also notice a score decrease and increase overnight. As you make consistent on-time payments on loans, pay off debt and increase your credit age, your score will go up. However, if you miss a loan payment, utilize too much of your credit line, or a hard credit check is performed your score will decrease. That’s why it’s a good idea to monitor your credit to notice any changes in your score and make sure they’re accurate.
When you have a Credit Builder Plus membership from MoneyLion you’ll have access to their credit monitoring tool, you’ll get updates about changes to your score and advice on how you can improve your credit score! We’ll even let you know the key factors you should focus on to increase your score even more.
Can you buy a better credit score?
While you cant buy a better credit score, you can pay companies to help you improve your credit score. However, you should also be wary and vet any company claiming to give you outrageous results overnight. Your credit score takes time to build and companies who say they can get you an extreme increase in barely anytime are usually scams.
For a better way to build your credit yourself, check out this article. You’ll learn effective ways you can DIY a better credit score like disputing incorrect information and how to properly monitor your score!
Is your FICO score really free?
There is a multitude of websites that claim to offer your credit score at no cost, but in most cases, they’re not actually free. When you sign up for these supposedly free credit scores, some websites will enroll you into a credit monitoring service that charges a monthly fee without any warning to you.
Another common issue with providers advertising “free credit scores” is while they may provide you a monthly update of your credit score for free, they may also make you apply for a credit card with high interest rates and costly monthly fees.
How to get your free FICO score
The first step to getting your free FICO credit score is to check with your credit card issuer. Some credit card companies will give you your score for free. But again, oftentimes getting your score from your card issues comes with a cost though either a monthly fee or is tied into your annual fee.
If you’re serious about staying on top of changes to your credit report, consider a credit monitoring service that alerts you when there are changes to your report. They’ll inform you of things like new inquiries and accounts opened in your name. Companies like Experian Boost will help you monitor your credit and build your score by reporting bills not automatically reported to your credit file.
You can also use annualcreditreport.com to read your credit report once a year, completely free.
Can you check your FICO score without hurting credit?
Because a free FICO Score typically comes from a credit card company, before issuing you their credit card and “free FICO Score”, they will likely perform a hard credit check which ultimately will lower your credit score. Instead, you can use a paid service like Experian Boost. You’ll have access to your Experian credit report and FICO Score without hurting your credit because they only perform a soft credit inquiry.
Monitor and improve your credit score with MoneyLion
Your credit is an important part of your financial footprint so it’s a good idea to monitor it so you can keep your score in good standing and spot any miss information immediately. When you sign up for the MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus membership you’ll be able to monitor and take control of your credit. You’ll also have access to a loan like no other! With a Credit Builder Plus loan, you get a portion of your funds right away so you can build credit while you save. And it doesn’t stop there, here are more perks to having a Credit Builder Plus membership:
- The cost of the membership is only $19.99 per month and you have the option to make that payment in installments on a weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis.
- Access to instacash advances of up to $300 at 0% APR.
- You can easily track how your score is growing.
- You’re given the option to open a free MoneyLion investment account to help your money grow faster.
- Your credit score will increase as you make consistent on-time payments to your loan.
A better credit score means a better financial future
Staying on top of your finances and credit score will help you build a better future! Your FICO Scores are used by 90% of top lenders to decide your creditworthiness. Take action to monitor and clean up your credit report so you don’t have to worry about not being approved for loans or paying high-interest rates. Remember, if a website asks you for your credit card number before providing your score, expect to find a fee on your bill in the upcoming weeks. Avoid these predatory practices and get real expert advice and guidance from MoneyLion!