NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You might already know that visiting AnnualCreditReport.com will get you the free credit report you’re entitled to each year thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but what many people don’t realize is that this report doesn’t come with a free credit score. For that you’ll have to pay a bit extra (Equifax, for instance, charges $7.95 to see its version of your score).
As MainStreet has previously reported, there is more than one credit scoring model out there, so consumers don’t necessarily have to shell out cash to get an idea of where they fall on the credit spectrum. Here are a few places to get a free version of your credit score before the new year.
The credit advice site CreditKarma.com uses credit reports generated by TransUnion to provide consumers with a free version of the bureau’s TransRisk New Account Score, which, like the popular FICO scoring model, ranges from 300 to 850. You can also view a free version of your VantageScore, which has a range of 501 to 990. An analysis of the score is also provided.
To get the free score, consumers must create a free account on CreditKarma.com. Doing so requires you to enter your Social Security number and answer some questions about the accounts appearing on your credit report – such as which lender is associated with your auto loan – to verify your identity. However, the website is encrypted to protect your personal information. You are able to access the free score and its accompanying analysis every time you log onto your account.
Credit monitoring site Quizzle.com will provide users with a free copy of their Experian credit report along with its accompanying score. To get the free report and score, you must create an account, also free on Quizzle. While you won’t have to enter your Social Security number, you will have to answer some questions about your credit history to verify your identity. The site is also encrypted. Quizzle gives you the option of signing up for additional credit monitoring services after receiving the report and the score, but you don’t have to pay for these services to get the initial analysis.
You can also get a free version of your Experian score on CreditSesame.com, for which you’ll need to give your Social Security number and answer some personal questions to verify your identity on the encrypted website. The site also provides you with a brief analysis of what you can do to improve your credit. You are able to access the free score and its accompanying analysis every time you log onto your account.
Credit Sesame also has a free iPhone app that will provide a free score as well as monthly updates on its status. The personal data required to use the app is protected with a PIN and the app can be de-activated from the Credit Sesame website if your phone is lost or stolen.
What other steps can you take to repair and/or build your credit score in 2012? Find out in MainStreet’s year-end credit checklist!