Get Your Free Credit Score — It’s Easy

Get My Credit Score

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

Whether you know your credit score or not, it’s probably having a major impact on your life right now. These three digits can impact your ability to borrow money, rent an apartment or even get a job.

What is a credit score? Well, big companies called credit bureaus monitor your financial habits and use that info to assign you a number. That number tells people how risky you are to deal with and directly affects the interest you’ll pay on things like credit cards, car loans and mortgages.

Basically, the lower your score, the harder it will be to achieve your goals — and the more it will cost you.

But don’t worry, your score isn’t etched in stone. With the help of a service called Credit Sesame, you can get your free credit score in just minutes, along with personalized advice on how to boost it fast.

Guide: How to Improve Your Credit Score

Some Credit Sesame users have added close to 300 points to their score in only six months. By following this guide, you may be able to do the same.

So, if you want to:

  • Check your free credit score.
  • Understand how your free credit score works.
  • See how other Credit Sesame users boosted their score.
  • Learn what may be dragging your score down.

You’re in the right place. Let’s get started.

Can’t wait? Then start improving your credit score by signing up for Credit Sesame (it’s totally free).

Check My Score Now

Why this free credit score check is a good idea

When it comes to financial moves big and small, a solid score is the key to getting approved and unlocking the best interest rates.

Banks and other companies don’t like lending people money if they’re not 100% sure they’ll get paid back on time. Even if they do say yes, they’ll charge a high price to make up for the risk.

With a low score, you might not be able to snag that credit card you want or borrow enough money to launch your small business.

Some potential employers and landlords will check your credit reports before they make a decision, so maintaining a good score could also help you land your dream home or dream job. And the vast majority of auto insurers use your credit history to decide how much to charge you.

Checking your free credit score regularly will give you a clear picture of your situation and help you spot any errors or suspicious activity like identity theft that could do long-term damage.

With Credit Sesame, you can get your free credit score in just seconds — anytime, anywhere.

And if your score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, Credit Sesame will give you a free credit strategy to help get back on track.

What goes into your credit score?

The most popular scoring system takes five main factors into account, each with its own weight.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how your financial habits form the number you see:

35% Payment history

+
Expand
Hide

Do you pay your bills on time? Your payment history is the single biggest factor that determines your score. Even a single missed payment can cause your score to drop and could stay in your credit history for up to six years. It’s essential that you make your payments on time each month and, whenever possible, in full.

30% Credit utilization

+
Expand
Hide

How much are you borrowing? Your “credit utilization ratio” is the amount of credit you’re currently using compared to the total amount you have available. Ideally, your ratio should be under 30% to show you’re borrowing well within your means. So if you’ve got a credit card with a $5,000 limit, aim to keep your balance below $1,500 at any given time.

15% Credit age

+
Expand
Hide

How long have you been a borrower? Your credit age is the length of time you’ve had a credit history, and it shows lenders how much experience you have with borrowing. The easiest way to maintain your credit age is to avoid closing your oldest credit accounts, even if you don’t use them very often. If you need to cancel one of your credit cards, try to start with the one you opened most recently.

10% Account mix

+
Expand
Hide

How many types of credit do you have? Using a variety of credit products — credit cards, auto loans and mortgages, for example — shows that you’re able to manage payments in a number of different scenarios. Just be aware that not all of your creditors will report every account to every credit bureau. If you’re trying to diversify your mix by opening a new credit account, make sure to check whether the lender will report it.

10% Credit inquiries

+
Expand
Hide

Have you applied for credit recently? Whenever you try to open a new loan or credit card, the lender will pull your credit history to check out your score. This is called a “hard inquiry” and it will cause your score to tumble by several points. The hit is only temporary, but you should try to avoid stacking up multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time; that makes you look desperate for cash.

I Want My Free Credit Score

What does my credit score mean for me?

If you haven’t checked your free credit score in a while (or ever), you might not know how to interpret it.

Your score will fall somewhere between 300 and 850, with 300 being the lowest and 850 being the highest.

Here’s how the most popular scoring system labels each tier and what that says about your current credit situation:

High

720-850

+
Expand
Hide

A score between 720 and 850 suggests that your payment history, credit utilization, credit age, account mix and number of hard inquiries are all right where you need them to be. A high score means you’ll qualify for the best rates on credit cards, loans and car insurance and could open up other exclusive perks offered by lenders to their best customers.

Medium-High

680-720

+
Expand
Hide

A score between 680 and 720 means you may have a bit of work to do, but you’ll still qualify for decent rates and perks from most lenders. If your score is on the high end of the medium-high range, following Credit Sesame’s free credit strategy could help you take your credit to the next level in just a few months.

Medium-Low

640-680

+
Expand
Hide

While you could definitely stand to bump your score up, a number between 640 and 680 means you’ll likely be approved for a credit card, car loan or mortgage. However, you may not qualify for the best interest rates and you likely won’t be eligible for many rewards cards. It’s often a wise move to wait and lift your score to medium-high range before you make a big financial decision, like taking out a mortgage.

Low

300-640

+
Expand
Hide

A score that falls anywhere between 300 and 640 is considered low, and it will have a major impact on your ability to take out a loan, qualify for a credit card, or buy a home. You may have a tough time finding a lender who will work with you, and even if you do you’ll likely be saddled with a high interest rate. However, a low credit score isn’t the end of the world. With a free credit strategy from Credit Sesame, you can start making the right moves and building up your score pronto. Some Credit Sesame users have seen their score jump by hundreds of points in less than a year.

Show My Free Credit Score

His past financial mistakes followed him around for years

John

After graduating from college, John Schmoll racked up $25,000 in credit card debt. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with, but John also owed $25,000 on his student loans.

“I was definitely in trouble,” he recalls. “I was using credit cards to fund a lifestyle I wanted but could not afford.”

It took John almost five years to chip away at his debt, and in that time his credit score plummeted.

He wasn’t sure how to get it back on track, but then a credit counseling service recommended that he try using Credit Sesame to get a free credit score and credit strategy. It was a total game-changer.

Credit Sesame analyzed John’s credit report and gave him personalized advice on how to increase his score — things like which bills to pay off first, when to bump up his credit limit and how to cut down on his spending.

“It [helped] me to monitor the number of accounts I have and to be mindful of the importance of having a good mix of credit,” says John.

When John started using Credit Sesame his score was in the mid-500s — today it’s over 830.

Try It Yourself

+
Read rest of the story
Hide

Her divorce left her credit score in shambles

Andrea

In 2017 Andrea and her husband split up, and it left her feeling drained – both emotionally and financially. She racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees, and soon her credit cards were all maxed out.

“My credit took a nosedive due to my divorce,” she says. “I needed some way to work on [it] and be able to see exactly what was going on.”

Then she discovered Credit Sesame. The free credit score and credit strategy helped make her bleak situation a lot more manageable.

“Credit Sesame allowed me to get organized,” she says. “I reviewed all of my financial information so I could gain an understanding of how I got to where I was, then I made changes to my behaviors, credit card choices and payments.”

Andrea gave her credit score the TLC it needed, and slowly but surely she started to see results. In a little over a year, her score improved by almost 200 points. Now she’s got a fresh start – and a credit score that won’t hold her back.

Try It Yourself

+
Read rest of the story
Hide

They both had good jobs but were still drowning in debt

Rosemarie

Rosemarie Groner and her husband Jon were both working full-time at solid jobs, but their financial outlook was grim.

“We earned a decent income, but our spending was out of control — especially with groceries,” Rosemarie says. “Our credit scores were both low, and we had over $30,000 in debt.”

They kept trying to turn things around but always wound up back at square one.

“Every time we tried to ‘get serious’ and reduce our spending, we'd end up right back where we started in just a few days or a few weeks,” remembers Rosemarie. “We didn't realize it at the time but we were chronically disorganized.”

She heard that using a credit monitoring service might help, so she tried out a few before finally landing on Credit Sesame.

After getting her free credit score, Rosemarie started monitoring her credit and, to her surprise, it actually made a difference — with Credit Sesame’s help, she was able to boost her score by almost 150 points.

“It’s the bare minimum of effort everyone should take to monitor their credit score,” she says. “It’s free, requires no effort and gives you peace of mind.”

Try It Yourself

+
Read rest of the story
Hide

Forces that impact your credit score

Once you’ve received your free credit score from Credit Sesame, you may notice that it fluctuates from month to month, even if you’re not trying to change it.

Many life events and small decisions can cause your score to go up or down. Here are just a few:

Positive Forces

Disputing Errors

The Federal Trade Commission says one in four Americans has found at least one serious blunder in a credit report — the documents used to calculate credit scores. Thankfully, you don’t have to take an error lying down. You can file a dispute with the credit bureau responsible, and if your claim is valid, your corresponding score should rise accordingly. Credit Sesame’s free credit score and credit monitoring will help you notice anomalies and correct mistakes before they do too much damage.

Carrying good debt

Keeping your credit accounts open and in good standing — even if you don’t use them much — can help improve your score over time. Think about it from a lender’s perspective: Would you rather hand money to someone with a long pattern of responsible borrowing or someone you know very little about? Once you’ve checked out your free credit score with Credit Sesame, you’ll be able to easily monitor your progress.

Paying Debt

Paying all of your bills on time is absolutely essential if you want to improve your credit score. Try to set a monthly reminder on your mobile device for a few days before each of your due dates. That way you won’t risk forgetting about a payment and you’ll have time to transfer money between your accounts if need be.

Increasing Credit Limit

If you’ve been a model borrower, consider asking your credit card provider to increase your credit limit. That can help bring down your utilization ratio and bump up your score. Just keep in mind that a higher limit may tempt you to make bigger purchases, and if you’re unable to pay them off quickly it could erase any progress you’ve made to your score.

Diversifying your accounts

If credit cards are your only form of credit at the moment, opening a new type of account — like a mortgage, auto loan or line of credit — can diversify your account mix and increase your score. Just remember that applying for new credit will trigger a hard inquiry and drop your score by a few points temporarily, and it’s never worth taking on more debt than you can handle.

Negative Forces

Hard Inquiries

Each time you apply for new credit, the lender will pull your history and your score will drop by a few points. These “hard inquiries” are annoying but temporary; they won’t do too much damage unless you apply for multiple different types of accounts within a short period of time. Your score will still be affected even if you don’t get approved, so you should only apply for products you’re pretty confident you’ll qualify for.

Late payments

Whether you’re a month or a day behind, missing a due date will take a bite out of your credit score. You’ll also likely face other penalties, such as late fees or higher interest rates. Although not every lender will report a late payment to the credit bureaus, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your free credit score for any changes following a late payment.

Collections

Debts left unpaid for long enough can go to collections, which means your lender will either come after you or recruit a collections agency to recover the money. Not only will someone start hassling you to pay up, but your credit score will plummet. The damage is long-lasting: A missed payment that goes to collections can stay on your credit report for up to six years.

Large purchases

Putting a hot tub or other big purchase on your credit card will cause your credit utilization ratio to shoot up, and that could result in a lower credit score if you don’t pay off the debt quickly. Many retailers allow customers to pay for big-ticket items on an installment plan, which can help prevent a spike in your utilization ratio. Just watch out for fees and be sure to make all your payments — or else you could wind up taking an even bigger hit to your score.

Bankruptcy

Depending on your current credit, filing for bankruptcy can have a devastating effect on companies’ confidence in you. If your score is high or medium-high, a bankruptcy could cause it to drop by 200 points or more. Filing with a low score will have less of an impact, but either way a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years.

Signing up for Credit Sesame is totally free — and you can check your score anytime and from anywhere.

Get My Free Credit Score-05

FAQ | Frequently asked questions

Does checking my credit score hurt my credit?

+
Expand
Hide

No. Getting a free credit score from Credit Sesame won’t hurt your credit. Since Credit Sesame is pulling your score for your own personal information and not to share with lenders, it’s classified as a “soft inquiry” and won’t affect your score.

Is Credit Sesame really free?

+
Expand
Hide

Yes. Although Credit Sesame does offer premium plans, you won’t be charged for their basic services like a free credit score and free credit strategy.

Is Credit Sesame accurate?

+
Expand
Hide

Yes. Credit Sesame pulls your credit information from TransUnion, one of the country’s three major credit bureaus, and determines your free credit score based on the popular VantageScore® 3.0 scoring model.

It’s true that any particular lender may pull a different type of credit score from a different credit bureau, so the score you see on Credit Sesame may not be exactly the same as the one your lender sees. Still, your VantageScore® from Credit Sesame is an accurate representation of your overall credit status.

Is Credit Sesame safe?

+
Expand
Hide

Credit Sesame says it is dedicated to protecting your personal information and that it uses the same security practices, encryption and firewalls that the big banks do.

How often does Credit Sesame update my score?

+
Expand
Hide

Your free credit score from Credit Sesame is updated each month. This monthly check is considered a “soft inquiry” and will not affect your score in any way.

What is the best site to get a free credit report card?

+
Expand
Hide

Credit Sesame’s free credit report card analyzes your credit information from TransUnion and offers personalized advice on how you can save money on personal loans, mortgages, credit cards and more.

It’s not exactly the same as the free credit reports you can get (once a year) from the three big credit bureaus. The main difference is the level of detail.

However, you can upgrade to a premium Credit Sesame plan to receive credit report info from all three major bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

How does Credit Sesame get my score?

+
Expand
Hide

Each month Credit Sesame pulls your credit information from TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, and determines your free credit score based on the VantageScore® 3.0 scoring model.

What Credit Bureau does Credit Sesame use?

+
Expand
Hide

Credit Sesame uses TransUnion, one of the “big three” credit bureaus.

How is this score different from Equifax and Experian?

+
Expand
Hide

Although the three main credit bureaus in the U.S. — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian — all use some form of the VantageScore® credit scoring model, your score from each bureau may be slightly different.

Not all lenders report to all three bureaus, so certain bureaus may be missing information that would affect your credit score.

Some bureaus also update their credit information more frequently than others, so your score from one may be more recent than the others.

VantageScore vs. FICO: What’s the Difference?

+
Expand
Hide

The FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) credit scoring model is currently the most popular system lenders use when sizing up borrowers. That’s why the scoring calculations and ranges listed above are specific to FICO.

However, Credit Sesame uses VantageScore® 3.0, another popular scoring model that was developed by all three of the big credit bureaus. While the two models are very similar — both types of scores range from 300 to 850 and take much the same data into account — the exact weighting differs slightly.

The VantageScore® 3.0 you get from Credit Sesame provides an accurate picture of your overall credit health and will likely give you a pretty clear picture of what your FICO score might look like.

Take Me to Credit Sesame

Disclaimer

The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.