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Free Credit Score?

Question: Hello Chris, I thoroughly enjoy your segments, keep up the great work.

I tried to get my free credit score at the sight that you referred to but it only provides a "report" from each company who then want to sell you access to your own score?

I still have never seen this magic number for myself or my wife.... Do you know of any way to get my actual credit score for free? It seems like this should be info that is available to each of us with out a for fee subscription but i am not finding it. Any help here? Cheers Joe. Talkeetna, AK

Answer: Thanks to a breaking story on May 30th, I need to change my answer to this question. Here's the top of the LA Times story:

More than 160 million Americans would be able to learn their all-important credit scores at no charge -- and with no strings attached -- under a settlement by credit reporting giant TransUnion Corp. of a long-running class-action lawsuit.

The agreement would entitle consumers to at least six months of a TransUnion monitoring service, giving them access to the latest information in their credit reports as well as their current scores at any time.

The service also would notify consumers by e-mail of significant changes to their files, including reports of late payments or accounts opened in their names. The latter information could help thwart attempted identity theft.

Of course, it's only for 6 months and at the moment it only includes one of the credit reporting bureaus. My guess is that this deal is a precursor to making credit scores more easily--and cheaply--available to the average consumers.

Answer: You can't get your credit score for free. It's annoying. These days, it's easy to get a free "credit report". Check out how at www.annualcreditreport.com.

But you have to pay for that all important "credit score"--the number that largely determines your interest rate on a loan. Even when I see ads promoting a "free" credit score it turns out you first need to buy a long-term contract. Now, I don't consider that "free" by any commonsense definition of the world.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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If you just want to know your number, talk to your banker. Ours was more than willing to look up my credit score and my husband's while I waited. There was no charge.

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