These days, there are literally hundreds of places to get your credit score for free online.
Let me start by pointing out that the government-backed AnnualCreditReport.com website is not one of them (free credit score myth).
The big question is which should you use? Do you go with the one constantly advertised on TV that features an uber-annoying band, or a lesser-known name that offers a more robust suite of tools?
Well, in reality, most of these companies operate pretty similarly, though there is one glaring difference.
What Credit Score Do You Get with FreeCreditScore.com?
Where they may differ is in what credit score you actually receive. It’s easy to say, “Get your credit score free now!”
But which one are you really getting for free? When it comes to the heavily advertised FreeCreditScore.com, it’d be your “PLUS Score,” which is issued by credit bureau Experian.
No, this isn’t a FICO score, but rather an “educational score” that is NOT used by lenders.
This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, seeing that most educational and lender credit scores are pretty darn similar.
It’s just worth pointing out, seeing that some consumers out there want their actual FICO scores.
What Is the PLUS Score?
In short, it’s Experian’s answer to the educational, consumer credit score. They offer it on FreeCreditScore.com because they own FreeCreditScore.com.
Yep, always scroll down to the bottom of a website to see any business affiliations if you’re curious.
The PLUS score has a range of 330-830, which isn’t far off from FICO’s credit score range of 300-850.
But it’s still different, and could result in an unpleasant surprise when you apply for a loan with a lender who uses a genuine FICO score.
Experian even mentions this scenario in the fine print on the FreeCreditScore.com website.
What Else Do You Get?
First off, the free credit score is just a 7-day trial. After that, the FreeCreditScore.com membership costs $14.99 a month (unless you cancel).
Assuming you stick around after the initial trial ends, you’ll gain unlimited access to your Experian credit report and receive a “Monthly Credit Statement,” which gives you a rundown of your credit profile.
They also plot the history of your credit score over time so you can see where you were, and where you’re at today and why.
There’s also an interactive graph that will give you insights into your credit score.
And you can do it all from the convenience of your iPhone or Android device, seeing that they offer an app.
All in all, the offerings are pretty basic, and several companies offer similar services today completely free of charge.