THIS PAGE MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. MEANING WE RECEIVE COMMISSIONS FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH THOSE LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
If you’re an American Express CardMember, you can see one of your credit scores for free. For a limited time, to promote its CreditSecure credit monitoring program, American Express is offering CardMembers free access to their Experian PLUS credit score and Experian credit report.
The company offered this program last April and has re-introduced it this year for a limited time only.
Be warned: This is not your FICO score that most banks use to determine your creditworthiness. The PLUS score is calculated from data on your Experian credit report and uses a range of 330 to 830, not FICO’s range of 300 to 850.
Nonetheless, the score provides an acceptable “snapshot” of your current credit; even with this number, you can determine whether your credit falls into the range of bad, fair, good or excellent. (If you have an American Express card and haven’t had any credit problems since you got the card, such as unpaid debt or defaults, chances are your credit is excellent.)
Free Experian Credit Report through AMEX
What’s even more valuable than your Experian PLUS credit score is the free access to your Experian credit report through American Express, also available for a limited time. It’s good to look at all three credit reports at least once a year. By using annualcreditreport.com, you can look at all three reports free once a year. Some people like to stagger the information obtained by looking at a different one every four months. But it’s always good to get an extra peek at any one (or all three) of your credit reports without paying for it.
You can get the report and score free by signing up for American Express’ CreditSecure program. Here’s the really cool thing: Your membership in CreditSecure will cancel automatically after 30 days if you don’t ask to renew it. You don’t have to remember to call and cancel or see a charge on your American Express card for the service. You can find out more at the American Express website.
Some users who signed up for this offer last year and tried to do it again had some technical difficulties. Most problems can be fixed in one of three ways:
- Clear your browser’s cookies and then make the request again
- Create a new Experian login
- Make sure you’ve waited a full 365 days since you signed up for the offer last (if you signed up on April 23, 2009, you’ll need to wait until April 23, 2010 to sign up again)
More About CreditSecure from AMEX
American Express also has another offer for new CreditSecure customers. You can sign up for a 30-day trial membership for just $1.99. If you choose not to cancel after 30 days, you’ll receive access to two sets of all three credit reports and credit scores each month, plus other benefits including identity theft insurance, for $11.99 per month.
Best Credit Monitoring Services
While CreditSecure is one way to get credit monitoring service, access to your credit reports and identity theft protection, there are many credit report services available to choose from. Two of the best credit monitoring services available, in our assessment, are Equifax and TrueCredit.com.
Until May 5, Equifax is offering one extra FICO score view free, for a total of four FICO scores and your three-bureau credit report. This is not a free trial offer. You will need to provide your credit card number and pay $12.95 for the first month. However, this is a quality service that shows you your actual FICO score — the one most lenders use to determine if you qualify for a loan.
For $12.95 per month, Equifax provides you with:
- your FICO score four times a year (once when you sign up initially during this special offer)
- a three-bureau credit report
- Daily credit monitoring of your Equifax, TransUnion and Experian credit reports
- Up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance
TrueCredit.com also has a trial offer going on. You can receive your three-in-one credit report, as well as VantageScores from all three credit reporting agencies, free for the first 30 days. Membership after your trial period costs $14.95, and you’ll receive:
- Access to your VantageScores (updated every 30 days)
- TrueCredit Lock (to protect your TransUnion Credit Report)
- Credit monitoring of all three bureau’s credit reports
- Identity theft insurance
While the VantageScore is not your FICO score, the VantageScore is growing in popularity. It uses a range of 501 to 990, and was developed by all three major credit bureaus. VantageScores are accompanied with letter grades of A through F to help you better understand your score.
Any of these tools can help you better manage your credit.