Protect your digital identity with AARP’s fraud resource center. Try it today!
by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, September 17, 2010
Q. What's the best way to get my credit score?
A. The best way is to buy it. There are different types of scores, but what you want is your FICO score, the type that most lenders use in evaluating your credit-worthiness. The cost is $15.95 at MyFICO.com (1-800-319-4433). You can also buy directly from credit bureaus Equifax.com (1-866-493-9788 toll-free) or TransUnionCS.com (1-800-888-4213).
Expect slight variations in the scores, because each credit reporting bureau has its own FICO for you, depending on the data and formula it uses for calculations. The third big bureau, Experian, stopped selling FICOs to consumers last year.
Wherever you shop, select the "single score" option costing no more than that $15.95, because all these companies also sell more expensive services that include credit scores.
The trouble with the "free" credit scores offered at websites such as FreeScore.com and FreeCreditScore.com is that they come with strings attached: You're automatically enrolled in what may be an unnecessary credit monitoring service. Unless you cancel within seven days, you end up paying up to $20 a month.
A no-strings freebie "estimated" score can be had at Credit.com and Bankrate.com, while Quizzle.com provides a free score based on a formula developed by the firm CE Analytics. Still, you're not getting your actual FICO score, just something that's reasonably close to it.
There's only one way to get your FICO for absolutely free, no strings attached, but you probably won't want to get it this way: Under the financial industry overhaul bill signed by President Obama in July, if your score contributed to your being turned down for a loan, home rental or job, you are entitled to get that score for free from the party that rejected you.
Ask Sid a question about scams, deals and other consumer issues.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at