If you want to stay on top of your credit like I do, you have quite a few options that you can take advantage of in order to monitor your credit. With the passage of the Fair Credit Reporting Act legislation the federal government gave consumers the ability to pull their credit reports from each of the three agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, once a year. AnnualCreditReport.com is the government site where you can go to get your 3 free credit reports each year. I like to stagger them every 3 months or so, to get the most impact froom checking my reports throughout the year.
While you can get your credit report for free through the government site, if you want to find your credit score you'll have to pay an extra fee when pulling your credit report. But nowadays there are also a handful of sites out there that are offering your credit score for free , in exchange for using their sites – usually which offers deals on credit, loans and other financial products.
Credit Sesame is one of those sites, and they're offering you a free credit score – with no obligations, credit cards or other strings. Today I thought I'd do a quick look at the site.
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Free Experian Credit Score At Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame has gotten quite a bit of buzz in the blogosphere recently. Why? Because they offer a free Experian credit score, without having to enter a credit card like some sites require.
I just signed up for Credit Sesame a couple of weeks ago after reading about the service on Twitter. I had just learned about Credit Karma and how you could get a free TransUnion credit score from them, and someone told me that the same thing was possible with Credit Sesame. So I decided to give it a go.
The Sign-up Process
Getting going with Credit Sesame was actually easier than I thought it would be. Basically they'll ask you for some basic personal info, a home address and then ask whether you are a homeowner or if you rent. Then in the next step it will ask for your social security number so it can pull your Experian credit file. If you're not sure about giving that info out, you may not want to proceed. The site is secure, however, and I'm ok with doing that. Once you enter your social, it will ask you to verify some information credit file information so that it knows you are who you say you are.
Getting Your Credit Score
After you signup you'll be taken to your Credit Sesame overview page where it takes a look at your current situation. Right there on the homepage under the “My Finances” heading, they'll show you your free credit score from Experian. What you're seeing is Experian's “National Equivalency Score”. Please note that each of the agencies has their own score, and this is different from your FICO score, which should be similar- but is different.
My score came up as a 789, which is comparable to the 780 that I got with Credit Karma/TransUnion. Not too shabby! How could I do better? Maybe actually use some of the credit that I have? (Do you see the “0% credit usage” in the graphic above?)
Finding Better Loan Options
For those who signed up as homeowners at the beginning of the process, Credit Sesame will also give you some further data including an estimated home value via eppraisal.com, a goals section where they show you how you can improve, and if you have outstanding loans, they'll give you some examples of how you can improve your current situation. They'll only show you loan options that you're likely to qualify for after running your credit profile and score, so there won't be a whole lot of bait and switch with rates and fees. What you see should be essentially what you get.
Their home loan technology is now actually integrated with Mint.com as that website's “home loan finder”, so you know it will be easy to use and effective – like mint.com
When I ran Credit Sesame against my situation they were able to offer me a few options our our only current debt – our home mortgage. They found us several lower rates on mortgages, but the closing costs associated with the deals made them somewhat a non-starter since by the time we would have them paid back through lower payments, we'll probably already be thinking about moving again. But for most people who are planning on staying put for a while, you'll probably be able to find some decent deals.
What's To Like About Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame has a lot of good stuff going for it. Here are a few things I like about the service.
- It's a free service – and a free credit score! What's not to like about getting a free credit score without having to provide a credit card number? You might even find a better deal on a home or other loan.
- Regularly updated credit scores: Your credit score is updated every month, so you can stay on top of your credit for drastic score swings -to tip you off that there might be a problem. Use it as part of a home-grown ID theft plan!
- Save on home loans and other credit: Credit Sesame will show you if your current loan is a good deal, and if they can find a better deal they'll give you all the details up front about closing costs, break even time for refinancing, total savings and more.
Signing up for Credit Sesame was easy, painless and only took a minute. What it offers is well worth it. They give you your Experian credit score for free, when normally you'd have to pay to see it, or sign up for a free trial offer of some sort. They also give you some good options when it comes to refinancing your home mortgage if you have one, giving you the chance to save a ton of money on your mortgage.
Credit Sesame is now becoming a part of my homegrown credit monitoring plan where I'll be using it in conjunction with Credit Karma, AnnualCreditReport.com and Quizzle. All of these services will give you a free credit report or free credit score. You don't have to pay a ton to stay on top of your credit, just use the freely available services like Credit Sesame to keep tabs!
Credit Sesame is free to use and there is no obligation to continue using it if you don't want to, so you've really got nothing to lose. Head on over today, sign up and see where your credit score is!