What's your preferred site to get your FICO score?
April 19, 2009 5:36 PM   Subscribe

What's your preferred method for getting your FICO score?

Hi everyone,

I know about the free gov't programs to get your credit report, but I'm also interested in getting my FICO score. I believe one needs to pay a fee to get their FICO score. Google yields lots of sites that offer FICO scores, but I'm hoping to get recommendations from real folks, not search engines or marketing departments.

I'm curious what the cheapest, most reliable, and safest sites are to get your FICO score. Further, what's your preferred method for getting your FICO score?

Thanks in advance!
posted by xotis to Work & Money (13 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
If you are an American Express member, they have a special going on now where you can get your Experian score for free. Just login to your account, there's a link in there somewhere. It's only for a limited time though.
posted by icebourg at 5:40 PM on April 19, 2009

My preferred: start at annualcreditreport.com, and pay the ~ $8 to get my score (from any of the agencies) without jumping through hoops or ending up on the wrong end of some shady "freebie" where I then have to cancel whatever it was that the smallprint just signed me up for.

In my book "cheapest", "reliable" and "safe" don't mix. Spend the 8 bucks and go straight to the source - experian/equifax/trans union.

(that said, the AmEx option looks good if you're eligible)
posted by devbrain at 5:56 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

My Credit Union gives me a free credit report (with FICO) any time I want one.
posted by torquemaniac at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, the annual credit report is probably the best place to get this. At other times I prefer to get the score from myfico.com; there's always a discount code you can find stickied in the Credit subforum of creditboards.com to keep the costs down.

Also beware, the American Express - Experian credit score and a large number of such "deals" touted as "credit scores" are not actually FICO scores but are the bureau's own score. To add insult to the mix, Experian does not make your own FICO score available to you anymore. A lender can pull it up for you, but you cannot!
posted by crapmatic at 6:21 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I signed up for the free 30-day trial at myFiCO a year or so ago and it was easy to cancel after I got my score. No hassles at all, as I recall.
posted by zinfandel at 6:50 PM on April 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, and unless something in your life changes radically, or you are working hard to bring your score up, I don't think there's any reason to check your FICO score annually. It's just a single number. Credit reports are different, as they have detailed information on your accounts - those you should check more often.
posted by zinfandel at 6:54 PM on April 19, 2009

Actually, there are three different credit reporting agencies, and they each calculate the score using slightly different data.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on April 19, 2009

My credit union has a free service that provides your FICO score each month. It's not a full credit report, but it's good to know where you stand, and they also provide a little explanation of why your score is what it is, and how you can improve it.
posted by LolaGeek at 7:14 PM on April 19, 2009

You can also get the same sort of thing LolaGeek mentions at Credit Karma.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:16 PM on April 19, 2009

Best answer: I had to do this a few days ago, and what I did worked well.

For the Equifax score, I used the ScoreWatch 30-day trial at myFico that zinfandel linked to, so that will cost nothing.
For the TransUnion socre, I purchased it from myFico using the current discount code (CPPSAVINGS) to get 20% off so it only cost about $12-13.
It's currently not possible to get the FICO score from Experian.

You have to be careful to avoid FAKO scores [like the Exerpian PLUS score] - if you're not getting the scores from myFico, check any terms/conditions to make sure they are the actual FICO scores.
posted by radicarian at 8:19 PM on April 19, 2009

I helped design Scorewatch and other credit products for Equifax and also was one of the designers for annualcreditreport.com when it first launched. To my mind, Scorewatch is useful if you're hoping to make a big jump in score in order to do something big, like buy a home. Credit reports are more useful if you want to see history and clean up your record (or check for mis-reporting and identity theft).

In the latter case, I'd visit annualcreditreport every few months to get a report from one of the big 3. It gives you a view over time and lets you check on your file over the course of the year for free. Even though each bureau may calculate your score differently or have slightly different line items in your file, you'll get enough of the big picture to take action (or not).

When I worked for Equifax a few years ago, I'm almost positive scores were pulled directly from FICO.
posted by mdiskin at 5:28 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use Privacy Guard. I can't remember who originally started it - I think it may have been some early 2000 era BofA spin-off. I've been a member for a number of years and never really had a problem. It's a little pricey, and there may be better services, but I like being able to check my full credit report as often as I like (i'm paranoid and do it weekly).
posted by krisak at 7:20 AM on April 20, 2009

CreditKarma gives you your credit score for free in return for showing you ads and offers. Not so sure on accuracy, but it was within 30 points of the score I paid to get from myFICO.
posted by xiaoyi at 5:10 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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