How To Check Your Credit Score (2024)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Checking your credit score is a valuable way to learn more about your financial health, and it can provide helpful insight into whether you’re likely to qualify for a loan or credit card. We’ll walk you through some of the easiest ways to check your credit score, as well as the top reasons to monitor your score regularly.

FEATURED PARTNER OFFER

IdentityForce

How To Check Your Credit Score (1)

4.4

How To Check Your Credit Score (2)

Our ratings are calculated based on fees, rates, rewards and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Plan Costs

$9.99 to $17.99

per month for individuals

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

with each of their plans

$9.99 to $17.99

per month for individuals

Yes

$1 million

with each of their plans

Why We Picked It

IdentityForce offers protections for individuals and offers one of the most simple plan structures available. They offer only two different plans: one with credit monitoring and one without. Plans for individuals and families include most of the major protections you could want, from medical fraud protection to dark web monitoring.

Details
IdentityForce offers identity protection services for both individuals and families, which makes this provider somewhat unique. Among their plans for individuals, IdentityForce offers two levels of coverage—UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit.

The UltraSecure plan focuses mostly on protecting your identity with included features like bank and credit account monitoring, $1 million in identity theft insurance, fraud monitoring, dark web monitoring and investment account alerts. The main difference you’ll see with the UltraSecure+Credit plan is the addition of three-bureau credit monitoring, as well as credit reports and scores from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Overall, we like this provider because their lower-tier plan offers a wider range of inclusions than other basic plans and because all personal identity theft protection plans come with $1 million in insurance.

Pros & Cons

  • All plans come with $1 million in ID Theft Insurance
  • Qualify for a free trial with select plans
  • Discount for annual plans (pay for 10 months, get 12 months of protection)
  • The basic UltraSecure plan doesn’t include credit monitoring
  • Plans start at a higher price point than most competitors

3 Ways To Check Your Credit Score

Consumers have a number of options for accessing their credit scores, beyond just visiting the three major credit bureaus. Here are three ways to check your credit score and stay on top of your finances.

1. Free Credit Scoring Website

One of the best ways to check your credit score for free is by visiting a free credit scoring website. These websites typically offer access to your credit report, score and/or credit monitoring and are updated anywhere from weekly to monthly. There’s no fee to sign up for basic credit score updates. However, some websites offer more advanced services for a monthly fee.

2. Your Credit Card Provider

Many credit card providers also offer cardholders the ability to check their credit scores for free. Oftentimes, these tools include access to view your score history and see what led to recent changes. Some providers also let customers forecast how their scores would react to variables like on-time payments, credit limit increases and taking out a mortgage.

Keep in mind, however, that most providers require cardholders to opt in to this service, so make sure you sign up if you want to access your score.

Here’s a look at popular credit card providers with credit score tools.

Credit Car ProviderCostUpdate Frequency24/7 Credit MonitoringFree Credit Report

Capital One

Free

Weekly

Yes

No

Discover

Free

Monthly

No

No

American Express

Free

Monthly

Yes, via MyCredit Guide

Yes

Citi

Free

Monthly

No

No

3. Nonprofit Credit Counselor

Credit counseling is a service aimed at helping consumers get out of debt. This may involve providing money management advice, creating a budget, working with creditors, building healthier financial habits and helping borrowers come up with a plan to repay their debt.

Paid credit repair and debt settlement services can negatively impact your credit score in the long term, but nonprofit credit counselors are a safe and reliable way to understand your credit score and improve your finances. If you’re interested in working with a credit counselor, visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to connect with a reputable service provider.

How To Interpret Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score is easy, but merely knowing the number isn’t enough. To get the most out of your score—and improve it—it’s necessary to interpret your score and your credit report as a whole. This involves understanding the five credit score ranges and what each means to lenders. FICO scores fall into the following ranges:

• Poor (300 to 579). A score between 300 and 579 is well below the national average FICO Score of 711. Because of this, lenders consider borrowers with a poor credit score to be risky and are less willing to extend credit to them. That said, some lenders offer bad credit personal loans tailored specifically to low-credit borrowers.

• Fair (580 to 669). Still below the national average, fair credit scores between 580 and 669 typically qualify borrowers for loans. However, these loans or lines of credit are more likely to come with high interest rates, lower limits and shorter terms. Borrowers with fair credit may access better terms by choosing a secured loan that poses less risk to the lender.

• Good (670 to 739). If your score is close to or above the national average, lenders consider it to be in the good range. This means you’re less of a lending risk and more likely to qualify for favorable terms.

• Very Good (740 to 799). An above-average credit score indicates to lenders that a borrower is reliable and more likely to make on-time payments. For this reason, borrowers with a very good credit score typically have access to more competitive credit cards and better loan terms.

• Exceptional (800 to 850). Borrowers with exceptional credit are more likely to get approved for large loans, lines of credit and generally receive the most competitive interest rates.
How To Check Your Credit Score (5)

Related: What Is A Good Credit Score?

Does Checking Your Credit Score Lower It?

When a consumer checks their own credit score, it is treated as a soft credit inquiry that is not reflected on their credit report. For that reason, checking your credit score does not lower it. Instead, credit score calculations are based on five major factors: payment history (35%), amount of debt (30%), length of credit history (15%), amount of new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%). We recommend you check your credit score at least once a month.

FEATURED PARTNER OFFER

McAfee+ Advanced Identity Theft Protection

How To Check Your Credit Score (6)

Plan Cost

$89

First year price for new customers, auto-renews at price in effect at time of renewal

Credit Score and Report

Monthly

ID Theft Insurance

Identity theft coverage is not available in New York due to regulatory requirements.

$1 million

How To Check Your Credit Score (7)

Learn More How To Check Your Credit Score (8)

On McAfee's Website

$89

First year price for new customers, auto-renews at price in effect at time of renewal

Monthly

Identity theft coverage is not available in New York due to regulatory requirements.

$1 million

The Importance of Checking Your Credit Score

Regularly checking your credit score is important because it:

• Helps you better understand your financial situation. Without knowing your credit score, it’s impossible to fully understand your financial circ*mstances. Having a comprehensive understanding of your score can help you decide whether it’s a good time to buy a home, apply for an auto loan or make other large purchases.

• Makes it easier to improve your score and qualify for better rates. By understanding your score and how it was calculated, you can take strategic steps to improve your credit score over time, or build it for the first time. In fact, many scoring websites let users simulate changes to their score based on various factors like on-time payments, extra payments and new credit applications.

• Lets you compare financial products based on eligibility requirements. Knowing your credit score can give you an idea of whether you’re likely to qualify—and whether it’s worth applying. What’s more, lenders typically offer a personal loan prequalification process that lets prospective borrowers see what kind of interest rate they might qualify for based on income and creditworthiness.

• May include red flags of fraud. Regularly checking your credit score makes it easier to spot out-of-the-ordinary activity that could indicate fraud. By recognizing a large and unexpected increase in your credit usage soon after it happens, you can file a dispute and get your credit back on track more quickly.

Raise Your FICO® Score Instantly with Experian Boost™

Experian can help raise your FICO® Score based on bill payment like your phone, utilities and popular streaming services. Results may vary. See site for more details.

How To Check Your Credit Score (2024)

FAQs

How do you check your credit score properly? ›

Use a credit score service or free credit scoring site.

You're entitled to a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also create a myEquifax account to get six free Equifax credit reports each year.

What is a credit score answers? ›

A credit score is a three-digit number, typically between 300 and 850, designed to represent your credit risk, or the likelihood you will pay your bills on time.

How can I improve my credit score answers? ›

Steps to improve your FICO Score
  • Check your credit report for errors. Carefully review your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies for any incorrect information. ...
  • Pay bills on time. ...
  • Reduce the amount of debt you owe.

How do I find out if I have a good credit score? ›

We consider a 'good' score to be between 881 and 960, with 'fair' (also the average) between 721 and 880. However, there's no 'magic' number that will guarantee lenders will approve an application if you apply. If your credit score is poor, you'll probably find it harder to borrow money or access certain services.

Is it OK to check your own credit score? ›

Checking your credit score on your own, which is a soft credit check or inquiry, doesn't hurt your credit score. But when a creditor or lender runs a credit check, that's often a hard credit check, which could affect your credit score.

What is my most accurate credit score? ›

The primary credit scoring models are FICO® and VantageScore®, and both are equally accurate. Although both are accurate, most lenders are looking at your FICO score when you apply for a loan.

Is a 900 credit score possible? ›

Highlights: While older models of credit scores used to go as high as 900, you can no longer achieve a 900 credit score. The highest score you can receive today is 850. Anything above 800 is considered an excellent credit score.

What is a good credit score by age? ›

How Credit Scores Breakdown by Generation
Average FICO 8 Score by Generation
Generation20222023
Generation Z (ages 18-26)679 - Good680 - Good
Millennials (27-42)687 - Good690 - Good
Generation X (43-58)707 - Good709 - Good
2 more rows

How much can I borrow with a 700 credit score? ›

You can borrow from $1,000 to $100,000 or more with a 700 credit score. The exact amount of money you will get depends on other factors besides your credit score, such as your income, your employment status, the type of loan you get, and even the lender.

How to boost credit score overnight? ›

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Overnight
  1. Review Your Credit Reports and Dispute Errors.
  2. Pay Bills On Time.
  3. Report Positive Payment History Like Utilities to Credit Bureaus.
  4. Keep Old Accounts Open.
  5. Keep Your Credit Balances Under 30%

What raises credit scores? ›

Ways to improve your credit score

Paying your loans on time. Not getting too close to your credit limit. Having a long credit history. Making sure your credit report doesn't have errors.

How to boost FICO score fast? ›

4 tips to boost your credit score fast
  1. Pay down your revolving credit balances. If you have the funds to pay more than your minimum payment each month, you should do so. ...
  2. Increase your credit limit. ...
  3. Check your credit report for errors. ...
  4. Ask to have negative entries that are paid off removed from your credit report.

Can I look at my credit score for free? ›

You have the right to request one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You may also be able to view free reports more frequently online.

How do 8 check my credit score? ›

You can access your Experian credit score by registering on the Experian website. It's quick and doesn't cost anything. To get a peek at your full credit report, you'll need to register for the free 30-day trial of Experian's CreditExpert service.

What is a credit score of 999? ›

A credit score of 999 from Experian is the highest you can get. It usually means you don't have many marks on your credit file and are very likely to be accepted for a loan or credit card. However, a high credit score doesn't guarantee your loan will be accepted.

Can you check your own credit score without affecting it? ›

Good news: Credit scores aren't impacted by checking your own credit reports or credit scores. In fact, regularly checking your credit reports and credit scores is an important way to ensure your personal and account information is correct, and may help detect signs of potential identity theft.

How accurate is credit karma? ›

The credit scores and credit reports you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major consumer credit bureaus. They should accurately reflect your credit information as reported by those bureaus — but they may not match other reports and scores out there.

Is the FICO score the same as the credit score? ›

Is "credit score" the same as "FICO® score"? Basically, "credit score" and "FICO® score" are all referring to the same thing. A FICO® score is a type of credit scoring model. While different reporting agencies may weigh factors slightly differently, they are all essentially measuring the same thing.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated:

Views: 5935

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.