verity jane smith / Getty Images
- It’s easy to check your credit score, and it should always be free.
- Your credit score is a three-digit summary of your credit report, which outlines all of your credit activity for your entire history as a borrower.
- To check your credit score, consider using a free website like Credit Karma, which lets you check you credit score as often as you want, for free.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’ve ever wondered anything about your finances — whether you were eligible for a new credit card, how much interest you would pay on a loan, what mortgage options might be available for your first home — you probably came face-to-face with the credit score question.
Knowing your credit score so important for a number of financial reasons (including all those listed above, and then some), so here’s how to find your own credit score number.
1. Pick an appropriate source
While there are a number of places you can turn to for your credit score, it’s important to understand that you should be able to get this number for free. If a website is asking you to pay for your credit score, keep looking.
2. Check with your bank
Part of checking for an appropriate source should include calling your bank. Many banks offer free credit monitoring and free access to your credit score as part of their overall services, so be sure to check with them first.
3. Check with your credit monitoring service
If you pay a monthly fee for a credit or identity theft monitoring service, check with them as well to see if they offer access to your credit score as part of that package. As mentioned above, you don’t need to sign up for a paid service solely to check your credit score — if you happen to already use one, this is an option, but you probably shouldn’t join one just for access to your credit score.
4. Choose a website or app to get your score for free
You can check your credit score anytime for free at any time at sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Credit.com. These sites issue a pretty accurate estimate of your score, so they don’t make a hard inquiry — meaning you can check as often as you want without any danger of dinging your credit, even temporarily.
Personal finance site and app Credit Karma has more than 85 million members in the United States and Canada. While the site now offers many services, it started out as a resource to check credit scores for free, and it remains a popular place to do so.
Knowing that so many people use Credit Karma, we’ll use it as an example going forward. If you decide to check your credit through another free service, it shouldn’t be very different.
5. Create an account
Start the process to get access to your credit score by clicking "Sign up for free"in the top right-hand corner of the welcome screen.
To start creating an account, provide your email address and create a password. Take note that creating an account with Credit Karma and checking your score require a soft inquiry, which means your actual credit score will never be affected.
6. Explore your dashboard
Once you’ve created an account with Credit Karma, your homepage dashboard will provide you with your updated credit scores every time you log in. As of May 2019, it displays estimated credit scores from two of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax.
Your dashboard will also provide you with some other useful information, like which credit card offers your score makes you eligible for, a snapshot of how many active accounts you have, and any recent changes to your credit information — plus insight into why.
Here’s our best advice on how to increase your credit score.
7. Keep track of your score
It’s important to keep an eye on your credit score if you’re considering applying for a new credit card or getting a loan of any kind, as your number could impact your interest rates.
You’ll also want to check back after you do something that could lower your score — like opening a new card, making a big purchase on a credit card or taking out a loan — to see if your score actually has been impacted, and by how much.
- Read more:
- How to calculate debt-to-income ratio
- How to cancel a credit card
- How to get cash from a credit card
- How to send money on PayPal
- How to increase your credit score, no matter when or where you start
- How to cancel a credit card you no longer want
- Here’s exactly how to calculate how much a mortgage payment would cost you every month