Getting your credit score(s)

We think of credit scores as a single number, but in actuality it’s more complicated than you might think. You can still get yours for free.

We all care about credit scores way too much. I even invented a word for this, pistotikophobia, or “fear of the credit score”.

This focus on credit score is misguided in every possible way. For those of us worried about our own credit score, we miss that when you’re not interacting with the debt system, it doesn’t really matter what your credit score is.

And if you’re following my program, most of the time, you won’t be interacting with the debt system, because you won’t need to.

On the other hand, those lenders and others who look at your credit scores also focus on them too much. For example, a landlord will sometimes check your credit score to see if you’re “good with debt”, in order to decide if they’ll lend to you, even though there is nothing about paying rent that has anything to do with debt!

It’s insanity. And yet, people still want to know their credit score.

Fine. Let’s do this. But first, we may want to decide what credit score we’re even talking about.

One credit score, or many?

Just like there is no one single credit report, there is no one credit score.

Most people, when they think of a credit score, they’re referring to the FICO Score, which stands for the Fair Isaac Corporation. And often, your “FICO Score” will be used interchangeably with “credit score” in standard parlance.

But there are others. There is the VantageScore, which I first heard about when CreditKarma started offering “free credit scores” a number of years ago. There was a little bit of a backlash when customers realized they weren’t getting the standard FICO Score.

(CreditKarma, incidentally, has a page on the differences between the FICO Score and the VantageScore.)

But even if you just pick one of them, you find that there is not a single score by even those companies.

For example, head to and you’ll see a lot about FICO 10, which is apparently much better than FICO 9.

In fact, if you look at this page, you’ll see all number of different FICO Scores.

(This isn’t limited to FICO, either. VantageScore is hyping its new “4.0” score.)

But unlike credit reports, where it’s important to get each one, it’s not nearly important to get each and every credit score.

You just want to be aware of what you’re looking at. Because your VantageScore could say one thing, but your FICO Score could potentially say something very different.

Where can you get your credit score

You shouldn’t need to pay to see your credit score.

Typically, you can find your credit score as a package deal with other financial instruments.

For example, I can get my VantageScore through my mortgage company:

I also get the exact same score through my account with Chase.

Credit cards appear to be a good way to get access to your credit score, as they tend to bundle that in as a way to increase their perceived value.

One credit card I have gave me my actual FICO Score:

I don’t mean to focus too much on this, but I hope you can see that my system works. While I still don’t think credit scores truly matter, if you want scores like these, I can help you get them, and also get on a much stronger financial footing too, which is much more important. Learn about my coaching program and schedule a call with me to get started.

My credit union also offers to give me my credit score too.

Point being, that if you have a mortgage, bank account, or credit card, you can probably find out one of your credit scores with ease and for free.

Signing up for myFICO

But what if for some reason you don’t have access to any of these resources? You can still get your credit score for free.

This is because FICO offers a free subscription plan to get your credit score.

I have no need for it, but because some of you might, I decided to sign up and try it out.

Thankfully, they didn’t ask for any credit card number, so I doubt they’ll find a way to charge me.

I then had to give them some personal information. Following that, I “checked out”, which was a little weird since I was signing up for a free service, but whatever. I “placed my order” and I was in.

Actually, I wasn’t, as I had to go through and verify my identity, and then they said that they wanted to sleep on it for a day. Have I mentioned recently how KYC is ridiculous?

Eventually I got in, and there, right at the top of the page, was that important number staring right back at me:

Noting that this is the FICO Score 8, not the newer 9 or 10. You need to pay for other scores through this system.

Beyond that, there was an “insights” page, which showed some of the similar information that I found on my Equifax credit report:

It’s unclear if this means that my listed credit score is purely based on Equifax data, and if so if that means I also have a Experian credit score and a TransUnion credit score. It all gets rather confusing, which I have to believe is intentional.

The rest of the page contained teasers for information that I could get if I signed up for one of their non-free plans. But none of that interested me, as I now had my credit reports and my credit score, or at least one of them. That was enough.

So, proof of concept achieved: this is a way that you can see their credit score for free.


To improve your credit score is actually fairly simple. It generally comes down to this:

  • Pay your bills on time, every month
  • Don’t take on too much debt
  • Have an established credit history
  • Remove errors from your credit report

If you haven’t done this in the past, start doing it now. Over time, your score will improve.

And either way, your credit score is not something you should be worried about.

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