Your credit score is made up of the various accounts and other information listed in your credit report. The credit reporting bureaus generally keep your credit score to themselves so that they can sell it to lenders, or even sell it to you. Sometimes, you might run across a “$1 trial” offer that will give you access to your credit score for a week. What they won’t tell you is that once that week is up, and without any warning, they’ll charge you $35 and make it impossible to get that money back. If you don’t pay attention to your credit card/bank statement, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in these monthly fees.
Credit Sesame goes around this by not requiring a credit card to sign up. You basically answer a few questions about yourself and they show your real credit score. There are no trial periods, no gimmicks, and you never have to pay them anything (unlike most websites that claim they can give you your score for free).
It’s important to check your score from time to time since around 25% of credit reports have a mistake on them and it’s almost always negative for the consumer. Thankfully, Credit Sesame makes it fairly easy to see what is going on with your credit.
Credit Sesame Website
The site itself is simple to get around, mainly trying to get you to create an account to see your credit score. Unlike most other credit scoring websites, Credit Sesame makes their money by displaying ads around their site. In essence, they are charging advertisers what other websites charge you to see your credit score.
This is what you’ll see when you head to their website:
Click the big orange button to get started.
From there, you’ll be taken to a page where you can create your login information. They’ll send you an email so use one you check fairly often.
From there, you’ll be taken to the page above, where they’ll ask you some basic information about yourself. In order to access your credit file from Transunion, they will ask for your social security number. Credit Sesame doesn’t store this information, it’s just used one time, over a secure connection, to get your credit report. The website has been in business for 7 years and they do very well for themselves by delivering your credit score for free, they wouldn’t share your SSN.
Once you’ve filled everything and click the yellow “Get My Data” button you’ll come to this screen which contains a few personal questions only you should know:
The questions here probably won’t be the exact same questions you get when they check your credit score, but it will look pretty similar. In most cases, you should be able to get these answers pretty easily.
One place where people get tripped up is if they see a question about a loan or bank that they have never heard of before. Every question has the option of “None/Not Applicable/None of the above”, if you don’t recognize something or none of the answers seem correct, choose that final “None” answer. Credit reporting agencies throw in trick questions like that to get someone who really might be trying to steal your identity to trip up and take a guess at something that doesn’t even pertain to you. However, it can cause confusion to some individuals if you don’t know what to expect.
After you verify your identity, it will pull your full credit report. It should be noted here that checking your credit yourself DOES NOT HURT your credit score. It’s only when a lender checks it will it hurt your credit score, and even then, not by much.
Your score will show up in the green circle at the top left of the page. You should also see some information about your current loan balances in the top right hand corner as well. All of which will play a part in figuring out your credit score.
The credit analysis is an interesting tool since it gives you a little more insight into just how much of a role each credit factor plays when determining your score.
In general, your payment history is going to weigh the heaviest on your score, followed by credit utilization (how much debt you carry on credit cards/consumer loans compared to how much available credit you have on that line). Beyond that, any collections or public records will count heavily against you, but having old accounts will help you out quite a bit. Finally, the number of hard credit pulls (Credit Sesame does a soft pull, which doesn’t count against your credit score) you’ve had in the last 1-2 years will play a small role in determining your credit score.
It only took about 3 minutes from clicking onto the site until I received my credit score and could play with my credit dashboard. There are plenty of offers to take a look at if that’s what you’re interested in, plus anytime there is a change in your credit score, they will send you an email notification. This can be extremely useful if someone ends up trying to steal your identity since the inquiry itself would trigger an email, not to mention a brand new account.
Give the Credit Sesame credit score checker a shot and see what your credit looks like. It updates once a month so you can keep on top of any changes in your credit report which will reflect on your credit score.