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Published: Jul 03, 2024 7 min read

Your credit score is a very important number to know and understand. The terms on just about every credit card, personal loan or mortgage you apply for are influenced by those three little digits. That’s because lenders consider your score an indication of how risky or reliable you are as a borrower.

Because of this, it’s essential that you check it often. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different ways you can check your credit score.

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FICO Score vs. VantageScore

Before you check your score, it’s important to remember that there are two different scoring models: VantageScore and FICO Score.

These models are both used to gauge your creditworthiness. However, by and large, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers and other financial institutions typically rely on FICO scores.

With this in mind, it's important to confirm the type of credit score you're viewing when checking yours, as it might not match the score your lender uses to evaluate loan or card applications. While VantageScore gives you a good idea of where you are credit-wise (both scoring models evaluate you using pretty much the same factors), the FICO score gives you a better idea of what potential lenders will see when they look into your credit history.

How to check my credit score

Check your online banking account

Many financial institutions allow you to access your credit score and report through your online account.

Here are some banks and credit card companies that provide free credit scores to cardholders, as well as which type of credit score they offer.

Financial Institution

Type of credit score

American Express


Bank of America


Capital One






Commerce Bank




First National Bank




US Bank


Wells Fargo


To access your credit score through one of the companies mentioned above, you’ll need to log into your account either through their website or mobile app. Specific instructions for checking your credit score should be available on your account dashboard once you’ve logged in. Note that, if you have a credit card from one of these banks, the score might also be noted in your statement or in their digital portal.

Use a credit-scoring website or app

Credit-scoring websites and apps have flooded the market in recent years. Well-known examples include Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, LendingTree, Mint and myFICO.

You can typically use these services to check your credit score for free, but you have to create an account. This requires providing personal information such as your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. Once signed up, they use your data to retrieve your credit score from one or more of the credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

In addition to your credit score, many of these websites also give you access to a summary or full credit report. They also offer other bells and whistles, such as budgeting tools, bill payment trackers, educational resources and credit monitoring services, for an extra cost.

When using a credit-scoring site, make sure you verify whether they provide VantageScore or FICO.

Get your credit score from a credit bureau

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the three major credit bureaus are required to provide you with a free credit report once per year, upon request. But they aren’t legally required to provide your credit score on this free report.

However, you can get your credit score from all three bureaus, although it might not be for free in every case. All three bureaus have several subscription tiers and product packages that include your credit score. However, if all you’re trying to do is check your credit score, select their free option. Otherwise, you’ll be shelling out for additional services like identity theft monitoring.

The free plans from Experian and Equifax also come with basic credit monitoring features and tips to boost your score. TransUnion’s basic plan includes similar credit monitoring and educational features, as well as identity theft insurance.

The free credit scores from Experian and Equifax are updated monthly. TransUnion’s plan says credit score updates are available daily.

Other ways to check your credit score

Besides the options mentioned above, you can also access your credit score through credit monitoring or identity theft protection services. These are designed to help individuals keep track of their financial data by sending real-time alerts when there are changes to their credit reports — like new accounts, credit inquiries or credit limit changes.

However, note that credit monitoring and identity theft protection companies usually charge monthly fees of around $20 or more. So, before signing up, carefully review the services included and the cancellation policy.
For more information, check our guides on the best credit credit monitoring services and the best identity theft protection services.

Does checking your credit score lower it?

Regularly checking your credit score is a smart money move, and doing so won't affect your score at all.
Checking your own credit is known as a "soft inquiry" or "soft pull." This type of inquiry gets listed on your credit report, but it doesn't lower your credit score.
Soft inquiries are different from "hard inquiries" or "hard pulls," which happen when lenders check your credit report as part of a credit card or loan application process. Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years and temporarily impact your credit score by a few points.

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How to Check Your Credit Score FAQs

How to check FICO Score?

Start by verifying whether your bank or credit card issuer provides complimentary FICO Scores on your monthly statements or your online banking portal. If not, you can obtain your FICO Score through myFICO.com. Through this website, you can acquire a one-time credit report and score starting at $19.95.

What is a good credit score?

What is considered a good credit score depends on the credit scoring models used. For example, good FICO scores fall within the range of 670 to 739. For VantageScores, the good range is between 661 and 780. A score above that is considered very good or excellent.

What is a benefit of having a good credit score?

A good credit score improves your chances of getting approved for loans with favorable interest rates and high credit limits. It also makes you eligible for many premium credit cards with attractive rewards and benefits. Lastly, a good credit score can make it easier to rent an apartment and can lead to lower insurance premiums.

Summary of Money’s How to Check Your Credit Score

Regularly checking your credit score gives you a snapshot of your overall creditworthiness, which can help you take proactive steps to improve it. This is crucial when applying for loans or credit cards since it increases your approval odds and helps you qualify for lower interest rates and higher credit limits.

Several banks and credit card issuers provide your credit score on your monthly statement or through your online banking account. You can also check your credit score through credit-scoring websites or by subscribing to a credit monitoring service.

No matter how you obtain your credit score, it's important to confirm the type of credit score you're receiving (whether it's a FICO Score or VantageScore). This is particularly crucial if you're checking your score before applying for a credit account since lenders generally use FICO Scores over VantageScores.