Check your credit, whenever

By Mir
February 19, 2008
Category Hot Hot Hot!

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score periodically, especially if you’re rebuilding less-than-ideal credit. Some say you should check it every 6 months or so just to make sure there are no errors, too. And there are various services which will pull your score from the three major credit reporting bureaus for you, but you’re generally limited to once or twice a year.

Over at Credit Karma you can check your TransUnion credit score as often as daily, for free. Use code CKFRND to get started. (Be sure to use your designated junk email address, as they’re powered by advertising and partner relationships.) Looks like they use a “soft” pull of your score, too, which won’t impact your rating the way a “hard” credit inquiry will.


  1. FYI They have their own proprietary algorithm to calculate the credit score similar to FICO. So it’s not exactly your FICO score…some people have found vast differences between them.

  2. Agreed, Lauren. Also, it doesn’t give you any details, so if something’s awry you’ll still need to do a hard pull of the info to sort it out. But it’s definitely worth what it costs. 😉

  3. Good to know! Thanks!

  4. Apparently I have absolutely no credit history whatsoever. Lovely. Does a long-standing Visa or Master Card with a direct link to one’s bank account mean nothing to these bureaus?

  5. It all depends on the company you have your card with Elizabeth. Some report to all three agencies, but most report to only one or two.

  6. It seems like they have trouble with an RD (rural delivery) address too.

  7. Cool. Thanks!

  8. This was wonderful – thank you! Checking my credit score, and that of my husbands, is always on my mental “to do” list. Thanks for making it easy oh Pretty Mir. 🙂

  9. Hi Mir,
    Believe it or not I used to work for one of the big 3 and actually helped design the “official” credit-score-pull site, The best way to use the site, which lets you pull your report from all 3 bureaus (one at a time), is to pull each report a few months apart throughout the year. So you could get the Equifax one in January, the TransUnion one in April, the Experian one in September, and then start all over again in the new year (or pay for another pull around the holidays, perhaps).

    The official site offers a free pull, but as you go down each bureau’s “pipeline” you are offered several other products. You don’t have to buy any of these to pull your score, but depending on your past history or current goals (improving a terrible score, for example) you may want to check them out. It’s annoying to have to jump through these screens, but you have to remember that the bureaus have been forced to make their one main product free to the public, and what other company or manufacturer has to do that? (I have no affiliation with any of these companies, it’s just my opinion that I can’t hate them for trying to salvage something out of the law.)

  10. Melissa, that’s exactly what I do! I pull one of the credit bureaus every 4 months so that it’s spread throughout the year. I do that for myself and for my husband. I’ve never bothered with my credit score, though, because I’m not in the market for any credit (we are a cash-only family with the exception of the oh-so-convenient gas card that we pay off every month).

    I want to second what Lauren said (comment #1) about this score not being a FICO score. They do have their own formula but it will still give you at least a rough idea of where you stand. FICO only goes up to 850 and my score they gave me today was 893 so I know that it’s a different formula. But at least I can walk away knowing that there isn’t anything major affecting my score negatively.

  11. Being forced to provide one free copy a year to consumers via is one of the best things ever. I had never viewed my own credit report before that went into law because of the expense.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask that people be able to see information about their own finances that impacts their ability to do anything from get a credit card to buy a car to buy a house when it’s been notoriously inaccurate and difficult to change when it is found to be wrong. Plenty of companies have to provide a person’s personal information to them for no charge. Can you imagine if your bank wanted to charge you money to just eyeball your own records? Your doctor? They could all make more money by charging us for that kind of thing (and some do if you do it too much or want what they consider special services).

    The credit reporting agencies make their money selling people’s information to other companies, that’s their main product, so it’s not the worst thing in the world to have to give the public access to their own information ONCE a year for free. It’s just been a bonus that they could make people pay up to see their own records, too. They can still double-dip if a person wants to see it additional times that same year.

    That’s all .02, of course, and not meant to make Melissa feel like I was going after her for her opinion (really, Melissa!). It’s always a touchy subject when you feel like your work (or former work) is under attack. I’ve been there before, too.

  12. Bah,
    My bank issued the credit card – perhaps they’re not reporting. Hmm…

  13. Good points, JB — just playing devil’s advocate, really. I realize in my above comment that I conflated the report with the score. The score isn’t transactional info per se (in the very strictest sense), as compared to the way bank records are personal transactions. Perhaps the issue is that if you keep up with your bills and make wise choices, the report isn’t going to tell you much you don’t already know, unless someone has stolen your identity and is wreaking havoc on your credit.

    I also designed several of the other credit info products sold, and one of the cool things about working for the company was that employees could keep tabs on their own info, for free, more often than the general public (it was actually a good way for me to see if my designs held up with real info — I plugged in my own).

  14. I love this new service. The score I got on Credit Karma is within 5 points of my FICO. Also, they say they don’t provide on personal information to advertisers — been 24 hours for me and no spam yet!!

    Bring on the free scores.

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