Anyone Can Easily See Their Full Report
Your Credit Score is your (almost) permanent financial record, it can determine the car your drive, the house you live in, and even how wealthy you will become. The first step to understanding credit, and using it to your advantage, is to understand your personal history.
Below we detail the multiple options for finding your personal credit score and report. '
1. Free Credit History
2. Free Credit Score
4. What About Credit Karma?
Accessing Your Credit Report
Free credit reports are limited and can only be accessed from each bureau once per year. to have continued access to your credit score as well as your credit history report, most would recommend those serious about their financial health to use credit monitoring services. Transunion, one of the three major credit bureaus, offers affordable credit reporting allowing you unlimited access to your credit history. Some credit repair services also include credit monitoring.
Free Credit History Report
While your credit score gives a numerical value to your buying power, your credit history is the reasoning behind it. Your credit history can contain loan payments, credit cards, medical bills, and housing history.
Each year every American citizen is entitled to one free credit report from the three major reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can request each report individually:
However, the best way to get your free credit history from all three bureaus is through My Annual Credit Report. You can request all three reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only authorized website to distribute official reports from the three major bureaus.
Free FICO Credit Score
Beware; there are thousands of sites online that use the keywords "free" and "FICO Score" without actually offering either of those things. Most are free trials that will later charge you a monthly fee. In the finance world always greet the word "free" with a healthy amount of skepticism
The best way to get your official FICO credit score for free, without unwanted sign-ups and charges, is through the Discover Credit Scorecard. This service is free and available to everyone, even if you are not a Discover customer. Even more good news, using the Discover Credit Scorecard does not show as a credit inquiry on your report. and thus will not negatively impact your score. In addition, you should be able to receive your free FICO if you are an American Express, Citi Bank, or Bank of America member.
What about Credit Karma?
Credit Karma is a financial service website that is most well known for offering free credit scores.
Credit Karma is a useful tool if you want to save your annual report or have already used it. There is less information required and the process is a little quicker. However, Credit Karma is not necessarily the best representation of the credit score prospective creditors will see.
Credit Karma uses VantageScore, the competitor to the more popular FICO score, to provide you with a score.
According to Investopedia:
“Although VantageScore's system is accurate, it’s not the industry standard. Credit Karma works fine for the average consumer, but the companies that will approve or deny your application are more likely to look at your FICO score.”
To learn more about your credit see our post on Understanding your Credit Score & Report.
TL;DR: Go to annualcreditreport.com for your free credit history report.
For your free FICO credit score use Discover Credit Scorecard.