Updated 2019. The government requires the credit bureaus to provide you a free credit report once every 12 months. However, the services listed below provide you a free credit score updated throughout the year either daily, weekly, or monthly. The best ones also offer free daily credit monitoring and/or free identity protection services. As of 2019, all three major credit bureaus are covered: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
None of the services below require a trial or credit card number to sign up, so you don’t have to worry about any surprise charges. These are either ad-supported (they will pitch you stuff) and/or they are “freemium” services with a paid upgrade option (but you can stay on the free tier forever). Each of them offers something unique, and together form a comprehensive daily monitoring of your credit.
CreditSesame.com offers a free credit score every month, based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore 3.0). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best parts about Credit Sesame in my experience are that they have the most reliable credit alerts and the free $50,000 in ID theft insurance.
- Free daily credit monitoring. Credit Sesame also offers free daily credit monitoring of your TransUnion data, with alerts coming via e-mail, text, or smartphone app. This service tracks more than 40 different credit activities such as a balance change, address change or when a new account is opened.
- Free identity protection and restoration services. Credit Sesame also includes $50,000 in identity theft insurance and access to identity restoration support in their free membership level.
CreditKarma.com offers you two free credit scores, based on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports and updated weekly (VantageScore). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about Credit Karma in my experience is that you get two credit bureaus covered in one service.
- Free credit monitoring. Credit Karma also offers free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your TransUnion data.
- Free identity theft monitoring. Credit Karma uses your email address to search and notify you of breached accounts and threats to your identity.
FreeCreditScore.com offers a free credit score every month, based on your Experian credit report (FICO 08). Score range is 300-850. They require your full Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. They don’t have ads, but instead ask you at every opportunity to upgrade. The best part about FreeCreditScore.com in my experience is that they are a rare free option to track changes to your Experian report, which rounds out the two above.
- Free credit monitoring. They also offer free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your Experian data.
WalletHub.com offers a free credit score based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore), updated daily. Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about WalletHub in my experience is that they offer daily access to your full TransUnion credit report, if for some reason you want to check your full report that often.
Note that some of the scores above are not FICO scores because Fair Isaac charges more money in licensing fees and these companies may not be able to cover those costs with their advertising. However, these services are still be very useful for tracking changes in your credit history. I enjoy getting alerts if a credit card balance is paid in full, if there is a new credit inquiry, or if my credit utilization ratio gets too high on a specific credit line. This is also a great way to get early warning of any fraudulent activity.
Bottom line. Used in combination, I use the services above to keep track of any daily changes to my credit reports across all three credit bureaus for free. None of them require my credit card number, and they alert me to things like new accounts, new credit check inquiries, and high credit line usage.
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