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Awesome FREE Place to Check Your Credit Score – Can You Beat Me? ;)

by J. Money on Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Credit Sesame Credit Score

I don’t know why I’m so late to the parties these days, but color me a new fan of Credit Sesame – a place where you can get your credit score for free and then have ‘em email you when it changes (so you can tell ASAP if something wonky is happening!).

I usually don’t trust the “new players” to the game when it comes to anything financial online (cuz I’m pretty stubborn and/or busy as balls), but I gotta admit I need to quit being that way ;) Some of these companies popping up are helping all kinds of people with interesting products these days to make our lives easier. And even though they ARE in it to make a profit (or what kind of business would they be?), it doesn’t mean they’re not awesome. In that case I’d never be able to visit TJ Maxx or Target, or even use USAA or Mint or anything! Haha… But that’s not the point of today’s post – just me rambling a bit on a distracted Tuesday morning…

The 1-2 Punch!

What I really want to get into is that of the awesome Credit Score. Not only because it plays such a huge factor in any and all loan processes (thereby affecting your interest rates and the extra money you may end up paying for the exact same thing!), but also for reasons such as identify theft and just overall financial goodness.

Even if you’re not in the market lately for a new car loan or mortgage or credit card or whatever, it’s still good to know where you stand. Which is where places like Credit Sesame and Annual Credit Report excel. The latter one, btw, being my usual go-to place to download my ENTIRE credit report at – which you can also do for FREE once a year! :)

So it’s nice 1-2 punch: Hit up Credit Sesame for your free score, but no report, and then Annual Credit Report.com for your entire report, but no score (which I used to end up paying $5 or $10 for each time). Pretty cool, right?

When I sent this around to my V.I.P crew last week, here’s what people sent back to me (Oh, what’s that? You’re not a member?  Well sign up already, homey!):

“I love, love, LOVE Credit Sesame.  Been using it for about six months – Awesome rec, buddy”

“Cool website, my wife and I are looking to buy a condo early next year so this will be a great resource to make sure there are no surprises when trying to secure a mortgage. PS – 802, I win!!!”

“Thanks for the share J. Money. I’ve always hoped for a site that can give you quick and easy access to your credit score without any fees or gimmicks. It seems like Credit Sesame is it.  With that said, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my score is a hefty 811 =)”

The Credit Score Challenge

As for my own credit score, the last time I blogged about it we were soaking up a 791 :) This time around though, it looks like I dropped a few points and we’re now at a 788 – which is still killer, of course, but I want it to go UP not DOWN over time! Haha…  Anything above 740 is pretty dope though and usually qualifies you for the lowest rates out there, with the highest you could ever hit being a 850 (at least on Experian’s National Equivalency Score). If someone has ever gotten that close, let me know how!  I can’t seem to break the 800s…

If you wanna take me up on my challenge today, go check out YOUR score now and then let me know how you’re doing!  Even if it’s not too hot, always remember you can improve it! It takes a little time and patience to do so, but it’s surely possible.  It’ll save you TONS of money down the road too!  Not only in terms of better interest rates as I mentioned, but also in late fees and general financial no-no’s (cuz if your score is high it means you’re paying attention and staying on track!).

So that’s your mission today if you haven’t done it recently.  Go to Credit Sesame or your own favorite free score place (and if there is another one let me know about it so I can check it out too!), and then to Annual Credit Report to download your free *report*.  They all use the appropriate security online to make sure all is good, but of course if you’re not comfortable doing it then don’t.  You just won’t know if you’re beating me or not ;)

At the end of the day, though, the only score that matters is your own. It’s fun to compare it with others to see how you’re doing in the grand scheme of things, but it’s really just for YOU.  Keep working at it to improve your overall finances, and you’ll be one happy (and sexy) camper down the line.  Keep workin’ it!

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PS:  While it only takes 60 seconds to sign up to Sesame, there’s a part in the process that’s kinda annoying: It asks you to tell them an area you’d like to improve your finances in (which you have to do if you want your free score).  I just did eenie-meenie-miney-mo, but of course if you DO need help in other areas you may find it useful.  Either way, just thought you should know… and also that I’m now an affiliate with them cuz I’m a huge fan!

PPS:  My wife wanted to remind you all that she has beaten me, yet again, for the 2nd time in 3 years ;) This time with an 811. Which she finds hilarious as I’m the money guy!


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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike D. May 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

Thanks for the post. Signed up. My score is 840.

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2 Jane Mc May 8, 2012 at 7:33 am

810 and I just bought a used car!

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3 melissa May 8, 2012 at 7:44 am

Nice site. Credit score of 829!!

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4 Alex May 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

Is this a real score or a fake one like Credit Karma?… Cause I’ll take my Credit Karma one.

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5 butterandjelly213 May 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

819! Wow! I’m feeling all puffed up and proud of myself now :)

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6 Matt May 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

This seems a bit higher than what I expected. I was at 803 about 6-8 months ago according to experian and now this shows 826. I hope its correct although I don’ t plan on borrowing money anytime soon.

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7 Chris C. May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

Can’t beat you, but 752 isn’t that bad considering I don’t have a mortgage. This seems to be working against my score for the time being.

@Alex, It looks like it is a fako. I pull mine through MyFico.com and using the 1996 Mortgage model I had somewhere around a 725-735 a couple of months ago. I am 100% certain MyFico is using a real (albeit older model) credit score. That being said it is all relative, for example AMEX uses their own in house model only pulling data from the bureaus.

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8 Kellyology May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

Credit Sesame never works for me. I believe only works if you do not have a credit hold on your accounts (which I do), an important security measure needed to prevent fraud.

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9 Beckey & Jeff May 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

OK, so my credit score took a hit about 4 years ago when my ex and I broke up. Since then I’ve been very diligent about paying things off (4 credit cards and car payment is paid of in 2 more months!). My score is 646, which to be honest is about 50 points higher than the last time I checked (almost 2 years ago). I’m quite happy with a 646, at least its going up!

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10 Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think May 8, 2012 at 8:56 am

Ah man, I was hoping Credit Sesame would tell me my FICO score. I haven’t seen that one in years. Primarily because I really don’t want to pay for it. I do periodically pull my credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com to review them for errors.

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11 Sarah H. May 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

Only a 742… But that was when you first blogged about it. I got an email recently, but I thought they were just trying to sell me stuff so I deleted it. Now I need to log back in and see what the change was!

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12 Joe @ Retire By 40 May 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

I’ll head over to sign up later today. Haven’t check my credit in about a year so it’s time. I’m guessing around 780 or so.

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13 theCase May 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

833, I’m 55, retired, no mortgage, pay off our two credit cards per month, no other debt. Net worth about 2.5 million.

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14 J. Money May 8, 2012 at 9:47 am

Well, it didn’t take long for y’all to beat me! Haha… well played friends, well played ;)

@Mike D. – Damn son! Now THAT is incredible.
@Jane Mc – Wow, you too!
@melissa – Jeez, awesome!!
@Alex – They use Experian’s National Equivalency Score, so not a fako, but not fico either (hah!). Not sure what Credit Karma uses but I have heard good things about them too.
@butterandjelly213 – Haha, you SHOULD be – that’s great! You can tell everyone you know you crushed J. Money’s score ;)
@Matt – Nice! Yeah, only matters if you’re about to need some of that credit, but still – pretty dope it’s gone up like that.
@Chris C. – Not bad at all! And yeah, Credit Sesame uses Experian instead of Fico.
@Kellyology – Yes! That’s probably why :) Def. smart to have too if you’re worried and/or wanna play it super safe.
@Beckey & Jeff – Good!!! The key is being on the right path and it certainly looks like you are now :) 50 pts is pretty significant!
@Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think – Yeah, I wanted Fico too actually but I think I always ended up paying for Experian anyways so it works for me. Plus not looking for any real loans anytime soon, so maybe then I’ll pull it just to see :)
@Sarah H. – Haha, me too!! I logged right back in thinking it would have changed but it didn’t :( So they WERE upselling us! ;)
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – Will be interesting to see how far off or not you are :) I’m gonna go with 802 for you. Haha…
@theCase – WOW. Okay, you win the prize! Haha… that’s sexy as hell, yo.

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15 Trinnie May 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

808, baby! it’s been 808 for about a year and a half, now…pretty happy w/that!

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16 Veronica May 8, 2012 at 10:40 am

794, baby!! WOO! Proud homeowner and credit card user (but not abuser!). Hopefully I’ll be above 800 when it’s time for us to move Fall of 2013!

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17 Jessi May 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

Holy cr*p, my credit score is 806 according to Credit Sesame! Woo! I knew it was pretty good, but that’s pretty awesome.

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18 Mercedes May 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

I think Credit Karma uses your Transunion score. So if you use them and Credit Sesame you can get a general idea of how your score sits. Of course the third can be substantially lower (or higher) depending on what they have on your report.

My Credit Karma score it at a 740, was at 755, but then I bought a car and had to take on a little bit of a loan, but once that sucker is paid off it should bounce back up some.

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19 Joe May 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

825. Have opened 5 credit cards in the last 18 months and the score has gone up about 20 points.

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20 Jon B May 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

Found my score out! It’s not as great as most of you guru’s, but 750 isn’t bad!
I’ve always wanted to see where I stood with credit, ya know, just to know…and now I know!
Thanks for recommending this J$!

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21 LB May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

717 baby! Not too bad :) So I didn’t beat you, but still very nice, although if I apply for student loans they want to give me 12-13% interest rates so not that good.

Oh well whatever. My new life plan is: Sell my house, pay off remaining debt if we accumulate any from fixing up said house, move and rent for a little while I finish school with no loans. :) I might even take a fun hobby class like fixing bicycles before I move. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being debt free. Not too excited about where I am looking at moving, but I have hated where I live for quite awhile now. Thanks for the cool site. I am now going to go check out my credit report (which I forgot to do this year).

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22 Aaron May 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

800 but I’m not sure how accurate it is. I’ve had a credit card that I’ve paid off since I was 18 (23 now) but since I’ve never had any type of loans, I guess the number is just derived from my cc usage.

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23 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving May 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

790 at credit sesame; I barely beat you. :-)

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24 Jen May 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I didn’t bother trying Credit Sesame. I have another one I used at home (can’t reach it here) and two years ago when I refied the house, I checked it there. The refi and a used car purchase last April showed I was at 770. Not bad at all, considering I now have student loans and a credit card that’s lingering on with less than $1700 on it.

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25 Jen H May 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

724 at Credit Sesame – not too shabby for someone with a bankruptcy still on their credit report (only 3 years to go!)

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26 Angella May 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

My husband came across that site last week. Mine was 799, my husband is at 624 – he took a hit with a recent short sale, I expect it to go down a bit more, but I know we can get it back up there.

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27 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm

How does your wife have a better score than you?

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28 Mike Collins May 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

811. Just started using Credit Sesame recently myself. It’s not exactly your true credit score that lenders use, but it should be in the ballpark and at least give you an idea of how you’re doing.

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29 sassy May 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thank you for posting this. I like the site. Mine was a 707, which is much better than when I was preapproved for my mortgage in 2009 at a 620! Don’t ask… lol

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30 Lulu May 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Credit Karma says 776 and Quizzle says 740. I am working on getting that up a bit more so I can join the 800 club!!!!!

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31 Jacob @ iHeartBudgets May 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

787! Not too bad. I got my wife’s as well and she’s at 791! Hopefully we can break the 800 mark at some point, though I don’t care too much about my credit score :)

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32 T. Thema Martin May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I have been using Credit Karma, Quizzle, and Credit Sesame starting in June 2010. I use them to monitor my changing score, which could indicate if someone has stolen your identity. Unfortunately, someone stole my identity by stealing my information from me filing my tax return online via TaxAct.com. Trust me, it is a headache. But, fortunately, it looks like whoever stole it has NOT tried to apply for credit. S/he just filed a phony tax return under my name, SSN, and DOB. So keep track of your credit score and be mindful that someone can steal your identity and file taxes using your information.

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33 Squeezer @Personal Finance Success May 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm

It’s not a FICO score, so it’s meaningless.

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34 Lance@MoneyLife&More May 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm

805! I have been using credit.com as well as creditsesame.com. I feel both offer quality information for free assuming you don’t follow any of their recommendations they make money from.

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35 Kris @ Debt-Tips May 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Last I heard credit sesame isn’t any official credit score. Sure, it might be close and helpful as an estimate, but I wouldn’t trust it to be anything official.

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36 Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life May 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I use Credit Karma, which estimates my credit score to be 764. I realize that these sites aren’t an “official” score, but if you’re not willing to pay for your actual score, I think having a free ballpark estimate isn’t horrible. We were able to confirm that my credit score is much higher than my husband’s, so we know that future loan applications should have my name on them.

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37 Meigan May 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Woot woot 804! Thanks for the link!

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38 Marianne May 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Anyone know if Canadian’s can use Credit Sesame?

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39 Mercedes May 9, 2012 at 8:44 am

So I went in and checked this Cred it Sesame – It says my score is 811…. huge difference between that and my Credit Karma score of 740. I’d venture to guess my FICO is somewhere in the middle there.

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40 J. Money May 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

Man. Y’all are killing me!

@Trinnie – I would be too! Congrats, smarty pants :)
@Veronica – Awesome! I hope so!
@Jessi – Haha… a much better surprise than the opposite ;)
@Mercedes – Still not bad at all :)
@Joe – Woah. Now *that* is pretty interesting.
@Jon B – Awesome! Glad you found it helpful :) And you’re right – 750 is still nice!
@LB – Great! Def run it and make sure all is well :) And I LOVE that plan of selling your house and renting again! I want to do that too, hehe…
@Aaron – Yeah, there’s a lot of variables calculated in it all, but if you have limited credit or cards then I guess it affects things a bit. 800 is quite impressive though for sure.
@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Haha… yeah you did ;)
@Jen – Agreed! Def. good.
@Jen H – What? Really? Wowwwww – that’s incredible! I didn’t even know that was possible until after 7 years or so. Wow.
@Angella – Oh yeah, the beauty of all this is that TIME can work in your favor. Just like with other things in finance :)
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Shoot, you got me. She barely has any credit too, but it’s all pristine! Haha…
@Mike Collins – For sure. And some lenders use their own calculations anyways, so it’s all ballpark. Congrats on being high up there though!
@sassy – Ouch, haha… glad it went up! And that you like the site :)
@Lulu – There you go!!! You shall be there one day, my friend! And hopefully me too :)
@Jacob @ iHeartBudgets – Yeah, it’s just fun to check every now and then and make sure you’re generally okay :) Which both of you are!
@T. Thema Martin – YES!!! Great reminder indeed, thanks Thema! :) And hopefully it all gets cleared up for ya soon… I just had to cancel one of my cards cuz of my number being breached, bleh.
@Squeezer @Personal Finance Success – I wouldn’t say it’s meaningless because it does give you a great overall view of how you’re doing, and not every lender uses FICO anyways.
@Lance@MoneyLife&More – Haha, exactly. That’s how they make their money :) Though I guess it could help a lot of people if they never pay attention to anything anyways.
@Kris @ Debt-Tips – It depends on what you’re definition is of “official” ;) But you’re right, it’s not a FICO score which a lot of poeple believe is the best.
@Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life – Exactly. It’s a great place for general understanding.
@Meigan – Nice! You’re welcome :)
@Marianne – Hmm… that’s a great question! I’d venture to say no, but I’m sure there’s an answer in their FAQs somewhere?
@Mercedes – You could be right. At least you know you’re doing pretty well :) And then you can pay the extra $$ if you want to solidfy that FICO score for sure too.

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41 Beth May 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm

790 – Yay. Not bad for being up to my eyeballs in cc debt less than a year ago.

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42 Edward Antrobus May 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’ve been meaning to give Credit Sesame a try. I’ve been using Credit Karma, which works off of you TransUnion report instead. According to them, I am at a 641. That’s up 102 points in two years!

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43 Maria May 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

818! Which I thought was awesome until I saw the scores at the beginning of this list! Still, I’m happy I’m in the 800s.

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44 J. Money May 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

haha… you all are def. good! tore me up! :)

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45 Eric May 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm

There’s creditkarma.com and credit.com both of with use transunion. It’s good that there are these types of free services that are able to give us a free “ballpark” of where we are.

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46 J. Money May 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

yup! for sure…. haven’t used any of those two places yet, but good to know they’re out there, thx!

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47 Ashley May 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Mine is 683 and while that is pretty low, it better than the 510 I had years ago! I used Credit Karma for my scores and have used the site since 2007.

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48 Brent May 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

I know im late to the discussion but my credit score on sesame is N/A and on credit karma is 691. i’m pretty sure sesame is the score experian has and karma is the score transunion has.

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49 J. Money May 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm

@Ashley – Congrats! That’s a helluva jump.
@Brent – Weird… haven’t seen N/A yet! You stumped it ;)

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50 Kathryn February 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Brent – The exact same thing happened to me yesterday. Credit Karma has been carrying my score as 691 for months, and Credit Sesame had it at 741 since I paid off my closed credit card in Dec. Now Credit Sesame alerted me that my score is N/A and suggests that I needed at least one undisputed account on my report with a payment history in the last six months. I’m very confused on what to believe and how this will affect my plans to apply for a new credit card and use it (responsibly) to rebuild my credit.
J. Money – any insight you can share?

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51 J. Money February 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

How weird? I’m afraid I’m not an expert in this stuff, but I’d guess it’s the closing down of credit cards accounts that are making this happen? If they’re you’re only lines of credit/debts?

Contrary to what people might think, it’s usually best to keep paid off cards OPEN to continue showing responsibility and available credit not being touched (aka your debt-to-credit ratio), etc. Of course if you don’t trust yourself to not use them, then it’s best to cut them up once and for all, but if not you can always leave open and just use it every few months to keep it “active” and then pay off the small balance/etc… Not much you can do about that now though :(

Maybe just email them and see what they say? It looks like you guys aren’t the only ones in this boat…. Sorry to hear! And also – CONGRATS on paying off your debt! :)

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