Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Not FICO, But It's Not Bad...Free Credit Scores

The last post on free credit scores for active members of the military brought a response from somebody linking to Credit Karma, a commercial service that does indeed give you a free credit score from one of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion.  I checked into it.  No, it's NOT a scam.  It's not the official FICO (formerly Fair Isaac Corporation) score, but it's, by many accounts, close, and can give you a good approximation of what your score would be from one of the companies.  Best of all, you are not lured into IT'S FREE (but only if you cancel really quick). How can they do this?  They sell advertising to you.  Essentially, their advertisers are paying for your credit score, and Credit Karma delivers your eyeballs to their advertising.

There are a couple of others that work the same way.  Credit Sesame and Quizzle do this with the score from Experian, another of the major credit bureaus.  It may not be the same as you would get from FICO, but according to this article, it should be close. 

In closing, you can get some credit scores for free that are not official, and not exactly what a bank will use when checking you out, because they will probably use the score from FICO (which costs money).  But they will probably be close.  Use all three of the freebie ones if you wish to check, and if you want to keep it really free, resist any offers they have to buy side services. 

Another source of free personal credit checking is Wallet Hub, which is legit if you simply want to keep tabs on your credit.

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