Every few months or so, you hear about another major data breach at a large financial company and that you should check your credit reports carefully to make sure everything is in order.
These days, you are obviously not even safe if you add fraud alerts to your credit report or block it entirely. Some of the security methods at these lending agencies are so poor that they can still be hacked even after a previous hack.
Therefore, it is best to keep an eye on your own credit reports and ratings and make sure nothing happens there that you didn’t already know about. In this article, I will show you how to get a credit report for free, which you can do once a year. Second, I’m going to show you how to get a free credit score that you can get almost every day.
Free credit report
Let’s start with a free credit report. You’ve probably already heard how to do this, considering that this is the first thing every site says what you should do after any kind of data breach.
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only site that provides free credit reports. If you are not on this site, it is a scam site.
Although this is the only site for free credit reports, it luckily works well. Just click on the Request Free Credit Reports link and follow the instructions. Usually you need to answer some personal questions first for security reasons before proceeding.
You can then view and download credit reports from each of the three credit reporting companies. It’s simple and easy, and you should definitely do it once a year.
Free credit scores
Now, when it comes to credit ratings, this is a completely different game. First, it’s important to understand that there are many different credit rating algorithms and different companies use different ones.
For example, some companies use the FICO rating, which is quite popular. Another company can use a VantageScore built from a different set of banks and financial institutions.
Your credit score will never be the same for all of these scoring models. I usually see a 10â€“20 point difference between different assessment models. If you ever notice any significant differences, you should contact one of three credit reporting agencies.
The best way to get a free credit score is to simply log into all of your credit card accounts. Almost every credit card company now offers a free credit rating on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
For example, I logged into my Discover account and there was a link at the bottom where I could view my FICO account for free.
I clicked on this link and I got a nice graph showing my FICO score over time. He also gave me details on what factors are currently affecting my current rating so that I can try to take action if I need a higher credit rating.
It’s the same with my Citi credit card. Go to Card Benefits, Credit and Account Protection and then to FICO Score.
Citi also works with FICO, but you can see that the score varies between companies and even by day. Most credit card companies renew your account once a month.
If you are a Chase customer, you can get your credit score for free by registering with a company called Credit Journey It seems to belong to Chase, but they just used a different name for it.
If you are a Capital One customer, you must register with Credit Wise Although this is a Capital One product, anyone can subscribe to it, even if you are not using Capital One. Both Credit Journey and Credit Wise use a VantageScore 3.0 credit rating.
Other sites and services
Other sites and services
Besides the credit card companies, you have other financial companies that provide you with free credit ratings as well. Two of my favorites are Mint and Credit Karma
Credit Karma uses VantageScore and Mint is currently using FICO score, however Mint is moving to VantageScore in October 2017 as well. This score seems to be getting more popular than FICO.
Credit Karma gives you a score from TransUnion and Equifax. If you click View Account Details, you will get all sorts of information about credit factors that are helping or hurting you. These include credit card usage, payment history, pejorative remarks, loan term, total bills, and complex queries. You also basically get a full credit report, so this is a really good service that is completely free.
Mint is more geared towards those who want to manage all of their financial accounts in one place, but can also be used to simply get their credit score. I have been using it for many years, even before Intuit bought it, and it has been great at helping me keep track of all my financial information.
Again, all of the free credit rating sites listed above also provide you with details on your credit report (open / closed accounts, pejorative remarks, etc.), so even if you don’t have a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, you you can see almost everything on these sites.
There are other sites that can provide you with this information, but I would stick with them as they are owned by large reputable companies and the last thing you want to do is accidentally provide personal information to a fraudulent site. Hopefully you will not fall victim to financial scams and will be able to improve your credit rating. Enjoy!