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Do I have to pay for my credit score?

Credit reporting companies may charge you a fee for your credit scores, but you may be able to get a free score from your credit card issuer, another lender, or from a non-profit credit or housing counselor.

You actually have more than one credit score. Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit reports. If the information about you in the credit reports of the three large consumer reporting companies is different, your credit score from each of the companies will be different. Lenders also use different scoring models for different types of loans, and different models might generate slightly different scores.

Some credit score sources provide an "educational" credit score to consumers, instead of a score that a lender would use. The CFPB published a report on the differences between educational scores and those used by lenders . For most people, an educational score is similar to the scores lenders use and can be helpful. But the scores can be quite different for some. Our report found a meaningful difference for one out of four people. When choosing where to get your credit score, find out what kind of score is offered.

How to get a credit score

There are several ways to get a credit score:

From a mortgage scoring notice: If you apply for a residential mortgage loan and the lender uses your credit score, the lender will send you a notice with the credit score.

From an adverse action notice: If you apply for credit and get turned down, have to pay a higher deposit fee (like for a cell phone plan), or are offered different terms due to your credit, you may receive a disclosure from the lender with your credit score.

From a risk-based pricing notice: You may receive a notice of your credit score from your lender if you received credit on terms less favorable than the terms available to most consumers who got credit from that lender.

From your financial service provider: Many major credit card companies and some auto loan companies have begun to provide credit scores for all their customers on a monthly basis. The score is usually listed on your monthly statement or can be found by logging into your account online.

By talking to a non-profit counselor: Non-profit credit counselors and HUD-approved housing counseling agencies can often provide you with a free credit report and score and help you review them.

By using a credit score service: Many services and websites advertise a “free credit score.” Some sites may be funded through advertising and not charge a fee. Other sites may require that you sign up for a credit monitoring service with a monthly subscription fee in order to get your “free” score. These services are often advertised as “free” trials, but if you don’t cancel within the specified period (often as short as one week), you could be on the hook for a monthly fee. Before you sign up to try one of these services, be sure you know what you are signing up for and how much it really costs.

By buying a score: You can buy a score directly from a credit reporting company. You also can buy your FICO credit score at . Other services may also offer scores for purchase. If you decide to purchase a credit score, you are not required to purchase credit protection, identity theft monitoring, or other services that may be offered at the same time.

Free credit reports

You are entitled to get a free credit report annually from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies. It’s a good idea to review your credit reports for free every 12 months. Most or all of the information that goes into a credit score comes from your credit report. Your credit report tells you much of the key information about your credit record. Learn about the difference between a credit report and credit score.

When you visit, you may see steps to view your updated credit reports at no cost, online. This gives you a greater ability to monitor changes in your credit. In addition, you are entitled to six free credit reports every 12 months from Equifax through December 2026 as part of the agreement to settle charges against Equifax related to its 2017 data breach.

You can access these free reports online at or get a "myEquifax" account at  or call Equifax at 866-349-5191.

Learn more about how to get and keep a good credit score.