Your credit scores give lenders and creditors a quick assessment of your financial history through a score ranging from 300 to 850. You can expect lenders, utility companies, insurance companies and even some employers to review your credit scores. You may not realise that numerous credit scores exist. While you can purchase these directly from the credit bureaus, the scores you receive aren’t the ones lenders use most often. Lenders use FICO scores, which are determined by the Fair Isaac Corporation. You can access your FICO scores from both TransUnion and Equifax before applying for a loan or credit card.
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Things you need
- Credit card
Visit the Fair Isaac Corporation website (see Resources)
Elect to “Create an Account”. Enter your name, birthdate, address and Social Security number in the spaces provided.
Choose a User ID and password. Select a secret question from the drop-down menu and enter your answer in the blank space below. This will allow you to access your account in the event you forget your password. Click “Continue”.
Enter your credit card number, the expiration date and the three digit security code from the back of the card. Read the customer service agreement in the box below. Click “I Accept” when you finish reading. Once you accept the agreement, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Fair Isaac Corporation’s ScoreWatch service.
Request an FICO credit score from both TransUnion and Equifax. You’ll need to re-enter your personal information and answer three to five security questions concerning previous accounts that may appear on your credit report. This helps the Fair Isaac Corporation verify your information before providing you with FICO scores.
Print both your TransUnion and Equifax credit scores for your records.
Call 1-800-319-4433 to cancel the Fair Isaac Corporation’s ScoreWatch service. If you cancel within the first ten days, your credit card will not be charged.
Visit the Experian website (see Resources) and select “Get Your Credit Report and Score” on the home page. Experian does not allow the Fair Isaac Corporation to calculate FICO scores for consumer use. Only lenders can access Experian’s FICO scores. Your consumer credit score from Experian may differ from your Experian FICO score.
Enter your name, address and e-mail address in the spaces provided and select “Submit and Continue”.
Enter your Social Security number, telephone number and date of birth. Select and enter a user name and password. Select a secret question from the drop-down box and enter your answer in the box below.
Download your Experian credit report and score and print the documents for your records. Your credit card will be charged 60p for this service.
Tips and warnings
- You can obtain free copies of each of your credit reports through Annual Credit Report (see Resources), the only website that is federally approved to provide consumers with free credit reports. You are not entitled to a free credit score.
- Third-party credit report and credit score providers use their own methods to calculate your credit scores. These methods are only estimates and may vary significantly from the FICO scores your lender pulls.