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While the Fair Credit Reporting Act1 allows you one free credit report2 from each bureau every year, it doesn’t include free credit scores.
Most of the free credit score apps will give you one or two VantageScores for free. However, you can get your FICO score for free from all three credit bureaus by using a little-known hack.
Skip down to the Experian CreditWorks section below to find out how!
Best Free Credit Score Apps in 2022
- Credit Karma: Best Overall
- Experian CreditWorks Basic: Best for free FICO Scores
- MyFICO: Best for Paid Scores
- Nav: Best for Small Business Owners
- Credit Sesame
- Discover Credit Scorecard
- CreditWise from Capital One
Best Free Credit Score Apps Compared
|Brand name||Scoring Model Used||Credit Bureau Pulled||Price|
|Credit Karma||VantageScore 3.0||TransUnion & Equifax||Free|
|Experian CreditWorks Basic||FICO 8||Experian||Free with upgrade options|
|MyFICO||12 FICO scores||Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax||$19.95/month to $39.95/month|
|Nav||VantageScore 3.0 and business scoring models||Experian, D&B, & Equifax||Free with upgrade options|
|Credit Sesame||VantageScore 3.0||TransUnion||Free with upgrade options|
|Discover Credit Scorecard||FICO||Experian||Free|
|CreditWise from Capital One||VantageScore 3.0||TransUnion||Free|
|MyCredit Guide from American Express||VantageScore 3.0||TransUnion||Free|
|Credit.com||VantageScore 3.0||Experian||Free with upgrade options|
Credit scores are made up of many different parts, including payment history, account ages, credit utilization, and more. Having access to frequently updated scores and reports allows you to make better credit decisions and manage your personal finances effectively.
Below are the details on these 10 best credit monitoring and scoring apps.
1. Credit Karma: Best Overall
The Credit Karma app was one of the first credit score apps on the market. This company uses VantageScore 3.0 for credit calculations.
Credit Karma provides credit reports and scores from two of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. They also give you access to various credit monitoring tools to help you better understand credit.
From articles on various credit topics to a summary of what cards your credit score can get approved for, Credit Karma’s goal is to help you keep track of your credit.
In addition to credit scores, reports, and associated tools, Credit Karma also offers checking and savings accounts through their app.
All of these services are free as Credit Karma makes their money from commissions earned when their customers apply for a recommended credit card.
Credit monitoring is where Credit Karma really shines. As the screenshot above shows, you can get daily credit monitoring updates based on your TransUnion credit report and scores.
Also Read: Credit Karma vs. Credit Sesame
Most credit monitoring services only update your reports and scores once per month – so Credit Karma really goes the extra mile here!
2. Experian CreditWorks Basic: Best for Free FICO Scores
Screenshot from Experian’s web app
The Experian credit bureau offers its own credit monitoring service called CreditWorks through their Experian Credit Report app.
The CreditWorks tool allows you to view information from your Experian credit report as well as receive a your FICO 8 credit score once every 30 days. (FICO 8 is your “main” credit score. It is the OG of all credit scores.)
Also Read: Best Credit Building Apps
In addition to credit monitoring, their free Basic package offers you access to credit alerts, score tracking, and their proprietary Boost tool that gives you an immediate boost to your credit score by adding recurring payments for your bills (internet, cable, streaming) to your credit report.
In addition to the free service, Experian offers their CreditWorks Premium for $24.99/month, which comes with credit scores and reports for all three bureaus, identity theft protection, and a credit score simulator.
Also Read: Best Credit Monitoring App
After signing up for the free CreditWorks Basic plan, you will be asked if you want to start a 7-day free trial for the CreditWorks Premium plan. Say yes to this. It will unlock:
- Your FICO 8 for TransUnion and Equifax
- Your credit reports for all three credit bureaus
- Your FICO scores relating to mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards from Experian.
You can download pdf versions of your FICO scores and credit reports. After you look at them and download them, immediately cancel your free trial.
In our experience, Experian doesn’t care if you use their free trial again and again. So it’s something you can get and cancel multiple times within the same year.
3. MyFICO: Best for Paid Scores
The myFICO app is backed by the Fair Isaac Corporation and offers you access to your actual FICO credit scores. But there is a catch. While the app download is free, access to your FICO scores is not.
MyFICO mobile app screenshot
MyFICO has three different plans. Their basic plan, for $19.95/month, gets you access to a credit score and report from Experian. You also get access to identity theft insurance as well as all of their other tools and resources.
For $29.95/month, you get access to all three credit bureaus with information being updated once every three months.
Their Premier plan will set you back $39.95/month and gets you access to all three credit bureaus’ information updated monthly.
In addition to your FICO 8 scores, the middle and top tier plans give you access to FICO scores relating to mortgages, auto loans, credit cards for all three credit bureaus.
If you’re looking to buy a house or a car, it’s probably worth springing for a paid plan. Even though the other apps on this list are free, we realize that sometimes paying a one-time low fee of $30 or $40 is worth it to get access to all of your correct FICO scores straight from the source.
4. Nav: Best for Small Business Owners
Nav is a unique app because it is the only one on this list that lets you monitor not just your personal credit, but also your business credit. It has been called “Credit Karma for Business”.
Screenshot from Nav’s mobile app
Under Nav’s free plan, they offer VantageScore 3.0 from Experian for your personal credit score.
The free plan also includes “business risk grades” for your business for the top three business credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet. These are accompanied by an abbreviated version of your business credit report for each of those bureaus.
Business risk grades aren’t real business credit scores – they are just letter grades (A-F) based on your business credit scores. For example, if you have a 95/100 Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX score, your letter grade would be an “A”.
To unlock your TransUnion VantageScore and your real business credit scores and reports, you have to upgrade to one of the paid plans, which start at $29.99 per month.
Nav’s “Business Boost” plan helps you build your business credit by reporting your Nav payments to the business credit bureaus.
The most expensive plan “Business Loan Builder” unlocks the secretive FICO SBSS score, which is used to qualify your business for SBA loans. (This score is hard to get access to; Nav is one of the only places that you get can it.)
Nav also offers credit score change alerts and recommendations for business credit cards and loans.
5. Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is very similar to Credit Karma. They also use the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model.
The app provides you access to reports and credit scores for free as well as other tools and resources. These include fraud alerts, personalized credit card and mortgage offers, and zero-fee checking accounts.
They even have a cashback feature that allows members to earn rewards via online shopping through their app.
While the base service is free, the Credit Sesame app does offer various subscription plans that expand on their services.
They have a $9.95/month plan offering full credit reports from all three credit bureaus and a $19.95/month plan that comes with up to $1 million in identity theft protection.
The Mint app’s primary focus is on helping their customers budget better. By linking the app to your bank accounts, you’ll be able to track your expenses, manage your investments, and view your savings progress through the app.
Mint will also send you reminders on when certain bills are due and notify you if these bills go up in price.
One of the additional resources that Mint offers is a free credit score and report. The score you receive is based on the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model from TransUnion.
These services are completely free as Mint makes their money from ad revenue and commissions for referrals.
7. Discover Credit Scorecard
The Discover Credit Scorecard is a service that comes with one of Discover’s products, i.e. the Discover It card. But you can also sign up for this even if you don’t have a credit card or banking account with Discover.
The Credit Scorecard displays information pulled from your Experian credit report. And Discover provides you with a free FICO Credit Score once every 30 days.
Resources for understanding credit are available on the scorecard as well as alerts on changes to your credit profile.
While there is no dedicated app for the Credit Scorecard, you can access it online or, if you have a Discover account, you can access the scorecard through their Discover Mobile app.
8. CreditWise from Capital One
Capital One’s CreditWise tool is available for everyone, regardless of whether or not you have a Capital One account or credit card.
This credit monitoring tool uses the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model and pulls information from your TransUnion credit report.
In addition to the usual resources and tools for monitoring credit, like alerts, education articles, etc., CreditWise offers a score simulator.
This simulator shows you what will happen to your credit score when you pay off debt, take out a new loan, or perform other actions that impact your credit score.
Unlike the Discover ScoreCard, Capital One does offer a dedicated app for CreditWise.
9. MyCredit Guide from American Express
American Express (Amex) also offers a free credit tool to everyone; customers and those who don’t have an Amex account.
Just like Capital One, Amex pulls their information from TransUnion and provides a score based on the VantageScore 3.0 scoring model.
The MyCredit Guide also offers you various credit monitoring tools for helping you improve your credit including alerts, goal settings, and a credit score simulator.
While the service is completely free, Amex does not offer a dedicated mobile app, although you can access the MyCredit Guide tool via their mobile website.
Another app offering free access to your credit score is Credit.com. With their free service, you get your Experian VantageScore refreshed every 14 days.
You’ll also get access to a credit report card, personalized tips, and recommendations on credit products.
In addition to the free service, Credit.com offers their ExtraCredit package where you receive access to 28 different FICO scores. You also get full reports from all 3 credit bureaus, identity theft insurance, and access to a rent and utility reporting service.
The ExtraCredit Restore It package costs $24.99/month and a free trial is available.
Can You Really Check Your Credit Score for Free?
Yes, you can check your credit scores for free. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say you can check some credit scores for free.
Some apps that offer free credit scores use a different scoring model than most lenders do. For instance, Credit Karma uses your VantageScore while your bank might use your FICO credit score.
Other apps, like the Credit Scorecard from Discover, do offer credit scores based on your FICO Score.
But even if the credit score you are viewing doesn’t use the most popular scoring model, that doesn’t mean the information is useless. Even though credit scoring models vary, all of these apps do accurately reflect changes to your credit report.
Monitoring the changes to your credit report is important. It can tell you when new accounts appear, when information (like collections) fall off, can summarize changes to your credit utilization, and more.
And of course, access to this information can help you keep apprised of identity theft. For instance, if you see a new account opened that you didn’t open, then you need to dispute it immediately.
In this case, the score isn’t as important as the access to your credit information is.
Credit monitoring is an invaluable tool to have on your credit journey. Having access to updated scores and reports can help you as you work towards achieving a good credit score.
And the additional tools and resources that these credit monitoring services provide can help you make better financial decisions, helping you to maintain good credit practices in the future.
There is no risk to your credit score in using these apps, and all but two of them are free.
If you’re new to the world of credit, get started with Experian CreditWorks and go from there.
Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.