Many benefits come with having an impressive credit score, and this includes getting credit at lower interest rates, thus saving you cash, giving you lower auto insurance premiums, and the ability to access credit cards with some of the best rewards. Your homeownership dream will also be easier to achieve if you have a good credit score, and if you are seeking an apartment to rent or lease, you will have an easier time. You will also pay lower deposits for utilities.
You need to access your credit report to monitor your credit score and take any measures to rectify any errors or improve this crucial aspect of your financial health. However, the credit bureaus can only give you one report per year for free and will charge you for any additional reports in the year.
So, how do you access your credit score without paying for it? Here are some ways you can check your FICO credit score for free:
From your credit card company
Several credit card companies offer their customers credit scores as an added benefit for holding their cards. It is important, however, to be aware that not all companies furnish their customers with FICO score. Some companies, such as Capital One, use and give their customers VantageScore. Credit card companies that offer FICO scores include Barclaycard, American Express, Discover, Walmart Credit Cards, CitiBank, First Bank, and others.
Although both VantageScore and FICO scores are used to gauge a person’s creditworthiness, VantageScore was introduced in 2006 and is not used by many lenders. For that reason, you need to know your FICO score, which is more likely to be used by your lender or any other entity assessing your financial health.
There are a good number of financial institutions that offer free access to FICO scores to their members, and in some instances, non-members. If your bank is part of the FICO Score Open Access Program, you can check your FICO score by logging onto your bank’s online portal. Some of the banks in the program include Bank of America, Austin Capital Bank, Citizens Bank, Commerce Bank, and many others. It is important to check your score regularly so that you can take measures to improve it if it is poor. Such measures include engaging credit score repair experts like Boostcredit101.
You could check your credit score from about 40 credit unions if you are a member of any of them. To find out if your credit union is one of those that offer free FICO score access, check your credit union’s website or check from the FICO score website.
The finance department of auto dealerships
If you want to finance a new or used vehicle, the vehicle dealerships finance departments are likely to get your base FICO score and FICO auto score, which is a score that checks your history of repaying auto loans. You could request the finance representative of the dealership to show you the score. Those who finance their vehicle purchase through Ally Capital or Hyundai Capital America have full access to their FICO scores.
Credit and financial counsellors
Non-profit organizations that offer financial or credit counselling buy credit reports on behalf of their clients. If you are their customer, you can benefit from the credit reports and score they get on your behalf and use them as reference points to help you and others enhance their financial health.
Accessing and understanding your credit score is critical to help you to be on top of your financial health. You have several ways to access your FICO score for free as discussed above and even others so that you can be well-informed and take action where necessary to boost your score.