Ok, back in business — free FICO (credit) score and report from all three bureaus

It’s been a while. My last post on how to get your FICO score and report was full of words and not that clear. So here’s something useful, if dry, instead.

Let me remind you that what you don’t want is a “credit score” or an “educational score” or a VantageScore. Those are useless and a dime a dozen; you can get them for like 99 cents on 14th St. What you want is a FICO score, which is the actual score banks use when approving credit. And that there are three different major credit agencies, so you can get one from each one if you want to be thorough. But one’s probably enough if you’re lazy.

Experian FICO score: Provided for free at Credit Scorecard (part of Discover), and Free Credit Score (part of Experian; beware of upsell). It’s also at American Express if you have an American Express personal credit card (not business or charge card), such as the no-fee Everyday card.

Experian credit report: Provided for free at Free Credit Score (part of Experian; dodge the upsell).

Equifax FICO score: Provided for free at Citibank if you have a personal Citi credit card, such as the no-fee Citi Double Cash. The score uses an uncommon 250-900 range, so it may look artifically high. To convert it to an approximate score in the usual 300-850 range, take the number, subtract 250, multiply by 0.85, add 300. In math, that’s (((score – 250) * 0.85) + 300).

Equifax credit report: Provided for free at Credit Karma.

TransUnion FICO score: Provided for free with credit cards from Barclaycard and Bank of America, both of which have several no-fee options, such as the Barclaycard JetBlue card or the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card.

TransUnion credit report: Provided for free at Credit Karma.

You can also get you credit reports (but not scores) directly from all three bureaus once per year at Annual Credit Report; be sure to print, PDF, or otherwise save each report as you come to it, as you won’t be able to access it again.

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