Free Credit Scores: Can you really get them online? Credit reports are available for consumers whenever they need them. Consumers should get credit reports with credit scores on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of the information reported. Many people do not take advantage of the opportunities to receive free credit reports each year. Some people may have an interest in obtaining free credit scores online, but they just don’t know how. There are many opportunities to receive credit scores, but consumers should proceed with caution because not all companies that provide free credit scores online are the same.
Free Credit Scores Overview
Credit scores became a widely used way to determine credit worthiness around the 1980s. Before the use of credit scores, lenders used their human judgment to decide if consumers should receive credit. The process of judging consumers was unreliable so consumers had to find a more reliable, standard manner in which to make lending decisions. A credit scoring system was created that assigned points in order to eliminate the previous biases that existed. A statistical model was created that used a combination of variables to create the credit score. The process has made the lending process extremely quick and effective for lenders.
A credit score is based on information obtained from credit agencies. Lenders rely on this number to determine the risks involved in lending money to consumers. The credit score determines credit limits and interest rates so investors with the highest credit scores receive the best credit option. Other groups use credit scores to determine eligibility for credit. Insurance companies, cellular phone companies, government agencies, and other organizations use credit scores to determine if they should extend credit. FICO is the most widely used credit score model used by lenders in the U.S.
How to Find Offers for a Free Credit Score
- Search online for companies that offer free credit scores. Many companies offer free credit scores for consumers who want to know where they stand in the FICO scoring. Some of these companies offer free credit scores for a set amount of time and consumers must pay to continue receiving the services. Many of these companies come with enticing offers such as access to all three credit scores and an analysis of credit accounts. The price to continue to receiving the service may be small for those who are interested in having constant access to their credit scores, credit reports, and credit analysis tools.
- Consumers can receive free credit scores with paid credit monitoring programs. Credit monitoring programs offer consumers the chance to have unlimited access to their credit reports and credit scores. These types of program update the credit reports and credit scores every three months to reflect any changes. These programs are convenient for consumers who are serious about maintaining their creditworthiness.
- Consumers can apply for a personal loan, auto loan, or home loan. Lenders depend on the information obtained from the three credit bureaus to determine if consumers receive credit. It only takes a few seconds to run credit. Lenders usually check consumers’ credit while they wait so it is easy to get their credit scores quickly. Consumers have the right to know what their credit scores are so they should ask.
Important Things to Avoid When Searching for Free Credit Scores
- Avoid companies that ask for personal information in e-mails. Consumers may get a free credit score, but their personal information may be sold to others in the process. Some companies sell information to third parties, and consumers may find themselves receiving an abundance of junk mail and pop up ads. Some websites offer links to top free credit score companies so that consumers do not have to do as much research to find good companies that they can trust.
- Avoid companies that sign consumers up for monthly services after a free trial. Consumers may get free credit scores and enrollment in monthly services. They generally ask for credit card numbers in order to access the credit scores. Once consumers provide this information, they may have to go through a great deal of trouble to terminate the services. Consumers may incur several months of charges to their credit card before the services are terminated.
Free credit scores are great as long as there are no strings attached. Consumers do not have to sign up for services or provide their credit card number to get a credit score that is supposed to be free. It is always a good idea to ask lenders for credit scores when they pull credit in person.