Check Your Credit Score

This article explains how to check your credit score by using FICO, contacting the credit bureaus, taking advantage of credit monitoring services, or getting your annual free credit report.

10 Second Summary


Using FICO

  1. Go to the FICO website to access your credit score directly. FICO, or the Fair Isaac Corporation, develops and maintains the FICO score many lenders use. Visit their website to purchase your credit score at
    • FICO scores are used by most lenders who offer instant approval. FICO is therefore the gold standard of credit scores.
  2. Be prepared to sign up in order to get your credit score. MyFICO lets users access a utility called Score Watch, which tracks their credit score.[1] Users may get a 10-day free trial before having to pay to keep track of their credit score.

Contacting the Credit Bureaus Directly

  1. Purchase a complete credit report directly from any one of the three major credit bureaus. The major credit bureaus in the United States are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and each of their websites will allow you to directly purchase.
    • You will need to supply personal identification information before gaining access to your credit score. The process requires answers to questions only you may know, such as what your mortgage payment is or your Social Security number.
    • Purchasing a credit report along with your score can be helpful. Errors on your credit report could affect your score and should be reported to the credit bureau.
  2. Fill out information, answer security questions, and provide your credit card information. If you need to look at your credit score and you've already used up your annual free credit report, you're going to need to dish out a little money in order to take a gander.
  3. Know that each of the credit bureaus offer 3-in-1 reports, providing you with copies of your credit report and scores from all 3 credit bureaus. Each of the credit bureaus sets their own costs associated with purchasing your credit reports and scores in this manner.

Taking Advantage of Credit Monitoring Services

  1. Credit monitoring services allow individuals to monitor all activity on their credit reports over the course of a month. These services charge a monthly fee and provide you with your credit score. Credit monitoring can be helpful for those who have been victims of identity theft or those who wish to carefully monitor their credit reports.
    • Credit monitoring services are available through each of the credit bureaus and through
    • Third party providers also offer similar programs.You should ensure they are legitimate companies prior to using them.
    • Some credit monitoring services will report any changes in your credit report to you as they are filed. Others wait for you to visit their websites to update you on changes that have occurred.
    • Most services allow consumers to see an updated version of their credit scores on a monthly basis.
  2. Choose a credit monitoring service for safety, security, and ready access. Why choose a credit monitoring service that provides you with a credit score check each month?[2]
    • Get alerts and daily monitoring of credit scores in case something unexpected happens and you want to dispute it immediately.
    • Get protection against stolen or lost property. If you lose your credit card, or it is stolen, this service allows you to instantly cancel all your credit cards in one fell swoop.
    • Get insurance in case of identity theft. Credit monitoring services also provide insurance against someone stealing your identity and abusing your credit score.

Getting Your Annual Free Credit Report

  1. Go to to view your credit score once per year. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, every person is entitled to a free credit report once per year from each of the major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.[3]
    • You can also request these reports by calling 1-877-322-8228. Do not contact the bureaus directly for your free credit report. However, you will need to contact them for your credit score, which the bureaus do not provide for free.
    • You may also complete the Annual Credit Report Request form from the FTC website and mail it to the following address: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Find the form at
  2. Once at, select your state and enter in any prompted personal questions. This information will include information about your name, address, previous address, and social security number. To the best of your ability, be as accurate as possible.
  3. Prepare yourself for a barrage of questions related to your finances. Because credit reports contain private information about your credit history, your identity is taken very seriously. Expect to answer questions about:
    • Any mortgages or loans taken out
    • Credit card information
    • Personal information, such as the number of bedrooms in your house
  4. Expect to be asked "trick" questions. A lot of the questions you'll be given are trick questions. You may be asked how many mortgages you've taken out over the past five years, when you haven't; you might be asked to name how many bedrooms are in your house, and not find the appropriate amount selected. Expect to come across trick questions like these.
  5. Print out each credit report and go over the information. Because you are only allowed one free credit report per year, and you often can't go back and access credit reports at a later date, it's a good idea to print out each credit report. Your credit reports do not contain your credit score.
    • However, your credit report may contain errors that affect your credit score unfairly. Sometimes your credit report may contain someone else's transactions or negative actions (such as late payments), so reviewing your report can help you keep a good score.
  6. Dispute any numbers of transactions that are inaccurate. If you see a transaction or number that looks out of place or flat-out inaccurate, contact the credit bureau to dispute it. Disputing a wrong number can significantly increase your credit score.



  • Checking your credit score does not negatively impact your credit report or score. This is not seen as an inquiry on your credit report. Inquiries happen when lenders check your score to determine if they should lend to you.
  • Credit scores change often. Checking your score around the same day each month is a good way to note any significant changes.

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