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Finding out your credit score is a lot like ripping off a Band-Aid: You brace yourself, it hurts, but then you realize, hey, that wasn’t so bad. 

Still, the black hole of Google makes it a total pain to figure out which services you can trust and--gah--which ones fake you out with “free trial” fees. Here, four free websites you can rely on for quarterly “soft” pulls (i.e., ones that won’t affect your score in the slightest).


Credit Karma

How it works: To get started, create an account and confirm your identity using your Social Security number. In two minutes you’ll have your score. The scores are updated weekly, plus you can sign up for free alerts so you’re notified anytime yours fluctuates.

Why we like it: Beyond just supplying your credit score, the site gives recommendations for credit cards that can help save you cash and ones that you’re likely to be approved for based on your existing debt. The site also provides useful tools to help you better understand your score, including an A to F grading system and a credit simulator that shows you how small changes will affect your overall score.


Credit Sesame

How it works: Same deal as Credit Karma--no credit card required. Answer a few quick questions, provide your SSN and you’ll receive your score, not to mention monthly updates and trending graphs to help you track your progress as you whittle down debt.

Why we like it: It’s quick and easy to get an analysis of your existing credit and loans, and you also get $50,000 worth of identity theft insurance, plus fraud resolution assistance. (Totally clutch if you ever find yourself a victim of identity theft.)



How it works: Create an account without plugging in your credit card info or SSN. Then get your credit score (and Equifax credit report) in a matter of minutes, complete with an analysis of your total debt burden based on the info you provided (income, savings and so on).

Why we like it: Should you find an error in your report, Quizzle makes it super-easy to dispute it online right from the site.


Lending Tree

How it works: Use the simple interface to set up an account and generate your credit score (again, no credit card necessary). You’ll get not only your number but also details on how to interpret it and where you can cut back on your monthly bills to make long-term improvements.

Why we like it: It’s easy to comprehend where you stand, thanks to articulate explanations that outline why your score is what it is (for example, late payments).

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