How To Get Free Credit Scores: A Look At Credit Scoring Services

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-07-2012

You may see a lot of companies in the credit management industry that love to emphasize the fact that they offer free credit scores. And for a long while, when you signed up with those services, there would be a catch. You were only offered free trials for a designated period of time, then once the trial was over, you were charged for access to your credit score. Of course, you can always get a FREE credit report as we are all entitled to receive one annually from each of the credit agencies, by law. But what about credit scores? This number is a bit of an obsession for Americans because it’s the key to securing not just good financing terms, but any kind of financing at all! Your credit score is one desirable way of easily checking the health of your credit by boiling down your rating into one number.

Recently though, new companies have sprung up that are challenging the way credit scores have been presented to the public. They have actually come up with products and services built around truly FREE credit scores. Let’s take a look at some of these great resources:

Where To Get Truly FREE Credit Scores

I’ve actually personally met a few people behind these great credit score offerings, given that these companies are right in my backyard.

1. Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame Free Credit Score and Debt AnalysisI personally know the folks behind and they’ve really got a pretty good product you can check out. By becoming a member, you’ll have immediate access to your credit score, which you can check on a regular basis without cost. This score is based on data from Experian. Beyond the credit score, they also offer you features and tools that help you assess your debt picture and give you recommendations about what you can do to improve your situation. They also have a mortgage tool you can use to help you find targeted loan offerings based on your profile.

This company is based in Mountain View, California, and from my dealings with them, I believe they’re doing a fabulous job with offering a service that’s pretty valuable to users. You can read more about them in our Credit Sesame review. To become a member, you’ll need to supply your personal information, including your social security number, so that they can draw the necessary information from your credit file and process this information according to their algorithms.

2. Credit Karma

Completely Free Credit ScoreCredit Karma was the first site I came to know that offered free credit scores. Of course, there may have been more such sites around, but this company is probably the most well known for their focus on free credit scores. They will charge you nothing for your score but like Credit Sesame, you’ll have to provide your social security number so they can retrieve your credit history. They assure us that they’ve taken steps to ensure the security of our SSNs; as you’d expect, it’s encrypted and shielded on the site. With some exploration, you’ll see that Credit Karma makes their money through the typical affiliate sales and advertising monetization model that free service web sites provide. I’ve perused their blog as well, which has lots of useful credit-related info. For more on this company and their services, you can check out our Credit Karma review. Note that the credit score you receive here is based from data from the TransUnion credit bureau.

3. Quizzle Credit ScoreNow here’s an innovative scoring tool. — which is brought to you by Quicken Loans. They’ve undergone a bit of a makeover over the last couple of years, when they used to provide a custom grade for several aspects of your financial life (e.g. they offered specific scores for your mortgage, monthly budget, rainy day fund and your home value and appreciation). But they’ve since reoriented their services to include a credit report from Experian, credit score, home value estimator, home loan recommendations and a budget planner. All of these are free, with no trial periods (as the case with all other services I’m mentioning on this list). What more, you can receive all this info without having to supply your social security number. You will need to supply some personal and financial information though, to get results.

If you look closely, you may also spot the upsell, which includes monthly subscriptions to a Quizzle Improvement Program that gives you concrete advice on how to improve your credit and financial picture (this is $29 a month), credit monitoring ($5 a month), ID theft protection ($15 a month) and debt management (which has a free trial but then will hit you with a monthly fee). By contrast, Credit Karma is promoting a new free credit monitoring feature on their site, and Credit Sesame’s whole premise is about giving you visibility into your debt via free debt analysis reports.

With all that, it may be a good idea to get yourself an account in all these sites!

4. (formerly known as Credit ScoreFrom, you’ll get some idea about what your credit score is, without the nitty gritty details. A few years ago, this site had a different name — it used to be called, but I figure the name just got a bit too long so management changed it accordingly. Back then, I found the site to be a bit sparse. This time around, I didn’t see much more going on when I checked their Sign Up Page. The overall premise and goal of the site is to give you some idea of your creditworthiness; it works by giving you a credit grade from A to F, which is formulated through algorithms applied to your credit report and real credit score. They mention that they have relationships with credit bureaus from whence they get the raw info to produce your credit grade. But this site wants to offer more: once you register and get graded, you are supposed to be taken to your “personalized offers page”, where you’ll be pitched real-time credit and loan products that may suit your credit profile. The credit grade calculation is one step; while the second step involves matching you with credit and loan products.

Unfortunately, it looks like the site is under development or in “beta mode” and has a message for prospective users: you can only supply them your email address so they can message you when their service is ready. Supposedly, existing members can log in. Let us know if you’re a user of the site and if you have any feedback on Centrro.


This option won’t be handing you a free credit score, but it will offer you the next best thing, your free credit report, which is actually the basis of various credit scores anyway. If you’re fine with just picking up your credit reports with all their gory details, then you can get them for free from By law, you’re entitled to receive one free credit report each year from each of the big consumer credit reporting companies — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You may order these reports all at once to check them against each other and make comparisons, or you can decide to order one every few months so you’ll always have a snapshot of your credit health throughout the year.

Annual Credit Report

6. Credit Score Estimators

The quickest way to get an approximate credit score is by trying out a fast and simple tool that churns out some estimate of your score without requiring you to register and provide your SSN number (partial or otherwise). Some examples of these tools are this credit score calculator and this myFICO score estimator. Mind you, these are just basic tools to give you some fuzzy idea about your credit score based on some questions you answer. For the real thing, you’ll have to get it from formal sources like the sites above, from or from the credit bureaus.

credit score estimator, credit score calculator

My Thoughts On These Credit Score and Credit Report Collection Services

According to these companies, using their tools won’t affect your actual credit score since any information gathering efforts they do from the credit bureaus are actually “soft pulls”. In my mind, each of these tools have a place in the marketplace, as we all use our credit information for various reasons. Depending on your requirements, you may try out all or a few of these resources: if you’d just like some basic idea of your credit standing, some of the newer, free credit score sites may be sufficient. If you want details and the complete picture, you may want to go for all-in-one data directly from the credit bureaus themselves (check our Equifax credit score and report article for more information). But to monitor your credit as cheaply as possible (meaning: no payout, no charge), you may get by with simply receiving your annual credit reports, which you can supplement with information you garner from checking your free score or grade via the aforementioned web sites and estimators.

Created October 10, 2008. Updated July 20, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Austin Real Estate Broker October 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm

The best credit product that I’ve seen is TruCredit. It’s not free, but most things that are good aren’t. I pay $14.95 per month and get as many updated credit reports per month as I want. Also, the service sends a regular email to me about any inquiries, derogative items, etc. I don’t think it has any sort of credit guard feature like LifeLock, but for just monitoring your scores and accounts it totally rocks. The one thing that I found is that the algorithm seems to be very conservative. I refied my house a while back and both lenders that pulled my scores came up 10-15 points higher than TrueCredit. The URL is

Hope that you are all weathering the storm well!

Silicon Valley Blogger October 10, 2008 at 7:33 pm


Hey good to see you back! Well, we’re hanging in there and trying to ignore the bad news. If it gets really bad, I may have to go get a job and rejoin the work force. Sigh. I’d still blog, but I’d have to supplement the income further, right? 🙂

Thanks for the tip on TruCredit. I’ll have to check it out.

Donny Gamble October 10, 2008 at 9:38 pm

All of these sites are very good sources to obtain a free credit score or report. Make sure you stay up to date with all of your scores for the 3 combined credit agencies because sometimes they get information mixed up on your report that might not be yours.

kudzu fire November 3, 2008 at 4:58 am

Cool. I have been thinking about my once a year credit tune up.

Max Ray November 6, 2008 at 10:37 pm

1st of all i must thank you for putting up such creative information. It was really worth reading those lines. thanks a lot. and with this i would like to add few points since i have a finance background. It is correctly put that everyone should know their own credit history and manage it prudently with an even better managed lifestyle — credit cards, mortgages, family life, etc. Just remember that you can do the checks yourself and do it free of charge without credit score penalty. Actually, a good bank officer or a broker can help you in this regard.

Magali January 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Thanks for the info on these sites! I’ve been on the fence about checking my credit because I didn’t want to spend the money — so the free resources are a help!

BestCred January 12, 2009 at 8:49 am

Thanks for your post, actually, I like using myFico because l get to see my up to date report and score.

SB(One Cent At A Time) July 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Apart from the ones you mentioned, we can also get our score for free, at least once every 12 months, and after the latest Dodd frank amendment, banks should disclose you your credit scores if they take any adverse action on your account.

So there are lots of ways to know your credit score, also I like to share my review of credit sesame to your readers.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Thanks SB! Your review is pretty timely and I appreciate the diverse viewpoints given. I, too, am nervous about handing out my SSN anywhere. I’ve discussed this a bit with the Credit Sesame and Credit Karma folks, who assure us that they’ve taken the steps to secure this extremely sensitive information. This exact same issue is faced by a lot of financial sites such as the uber-popular, that requires you to provide your SSN and more in order to grab all your financial information automatically and “condense” them into one account. This mechanism of sharing information and pooling them into one source is pretty common among financial sites though, so the best anyone can do is weigh their comfort level with regards to handing over their personal information against the advantages and benefits of using free accounts. There’s always a tradeoff right?

Given that security issues are a huge concern for these companies, I have no doubt they all work hard making sure that their data is safe. Many of these companies (and banks/institutions/brokers, etc) actually share the same technical infrastructure to make things work, so customers may not be aware of this, but lots of these companies in the financial industry are using similar (if not the same underlying) services to address safety and security issues.

With regards to those companies that offer free scores without using your SSN, I believe that they many not give you as accurate a score as the others. They will do their best to give you the best estimate of your score based on the information you provide. Remember that they can only work with the information you give them. Then again, any score is an estimate of some sort anyway. The most popular credit score used by lenders is the FICO score, and these free credit scores are not FICO scores. They are useful to give you some idea of your credit and may be what you need for certain transactions; however what most lenders tend to use is the FICO score.

Susan Shaw July 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

You will be required to give your personal data and social security number to any old site that deals with credit anyway. And they charge a monthly fee so why not go for what’s free? Credit monitor + id theft companies all charge money and they know all about you.

Grace Vergara July 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

The information provided was really beneficial. I happen to be one of the naive ones thinking I have great credit because I always pay my bills on time and try to maintain a goal of trying to keep my credit cards to a zero balance. But in fact doing that may lower your score. Who would have thought? This truly was an eye opener. What you do now with your credit will affect you tomorrow so it’s best to make sure you are doing the right thing.

Bettina December 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I don’t carry much debt (the only loan I really have is my mortgage) but this is not to say that I won’t need loans in the future. I’ve been exploring the possibility of starting a new business, and if that ever pushes through, then it’s likely that I’ll need a loan to get it going. So it can only be beneficial for me to keep my credit score at healthy levels and to learn what I can to manage my credit well.

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