The 5 Best Free Credit Score Apps

Stay on top of your financial health with these mobile downloads

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Everyone has a credit score, but what you might not know is that you can download free apps to your phone (Android or iOS) to monitor these scores, make corrections and get alerts when something happens on your report — even while on the go. 

Credit Score Basics

There are plenty of resources out there for learning more about what goes into calculating your credit score and what the different numbers mean, but here's a quick overview:

  • A credit score indicates your "creditworthiness" to potential lenders, such as banks and mortgage lenders, as your credit score indicates how responsible you're likely to be with paying off your balances. 
  • A higher number is better; it'll fall somewhere between 300 to 850.
  • The most commonly used credit score is the FICO score, but there are other models, such as VantageScore. See this article from Debt.org for more information on these different scores.

Addressing the Notion That Checking Credit Hurts Your Score

Let's briefly address the widely held belief that checking your credit score through a service like Credit Karma (or any of the other apps mentioned below) will negatively impact your score. The truth is that checking your own credit score is usually considered a "soft inquiry," meaning it doesn't require a "hard pull" of your credit report.

"Hard pulls" (or "hard inquiries") typically happen when you apply for a new credit card, when you apply for a loan or when you apply for a mortgage, while "soft pulls" typically occur when you check your own score, when a potential employer does a background check or when you're pre-approved for a credit card or loan. This article from Credit Karma does a good job of explaining the difference between types of credit inquiries. In any case, you should rest assured that using any of the apps below won't negatively impact your credit score.

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Credit Karma

Credit Karma

Platforms: Android and iOS

Overview: Credit Karma is perhaps the best-known service for getting free credit score reports from the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus (Experian is the other major bureau). Its app for Android and iOS provide alerts for any important changes to your credit report, and if you see any errors, you can file a dispute directly from the Credit Karma app. You can also view a well-organized overview of how your credit score breaks down and look at all the accounts that are being reported and factored into your score.

 

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CreditWise

Capital One

Platforms: Android and iOS 

Overview: This app from Capital One is available to everyone, not just bank customers. It's a free download that provides a weekly update of your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 (as opposed to FICO) credit score, and it includes some interesting extras such as a credit simulator that demonstrates how actions such as paying off debt could affect your score. You'll also get personalized suggestions for improving your score, along with the industry-standard alerts for any important changes.

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myFICO

FICO

Platforms: Android and iOS

Overview: FICO scores are the credit scores most commonly used to determine your creditworthiness, so it's definitely valuable to have an idea of where you stand. If you have a myFICO subscription for monitoring your score and getting reports (starting at $29.95 per month), this free companion app is a must-have. It shows you your current FICO score across all three credit bureaus and even shows how they've fluctuated over time. The app delivers push notifications when there are important changes to your report, such as new inquiries or a increase/decrease in your score.

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Experian

Experian

Platforms: Android and iOS

Overview: As one of the three major credit bureaus providing credit reports, Experian quite sensibly has a credit score app of its own. The Experian app provides your score, which is updated every 30 days, in addition to details about credit card account activity, outstanding debt and about how your credit card activity affects your score.

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Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame

Platforms: Android and iOS

Overview: Credit Sesame's app provides a free look at your credit score using the VantageScore model from TransUnion. You also get a credit score report card, with letter grades given for things like payment history, credit usage and credit age. You'll get the expected account-change alerts as well. One of the more unique features is My Borrowing Power, which projects how much credit you may be able to access based on your current score and account information. This tool also recommends credit cards, mortgage rates and refinance options.