The FICO score is your official credit score that lenders see when they pull your credit. Most websites out there try to sell you your credit score, but most of the times it is NOT your real credit score. These fake scores are called FAKO scores and you should not pay for FAKO scores. You can check your FICO score for free on MyFICO.com using a trick or two.
MyFICO offers a 10 day free trial to check your FICO score for free. The catch is that after the free trial, it is $14.95 per month. However, being readers of RomsDeals, you often hear me talking about prepaid gift cards and loading them to your Bluebird account. So what’s the trick?
- Buy a prepaid gift card from Chase or your local grocery store.
- Load $499 of the gift card to your Bluebird card at Walmart.
- Now that your gift card has $1 on it, use it sign up for the MyFICO 10-day free trial.
- When MyFICO tries to charge you $14.95 after 10 days, the transaction will fail because you only have $1 on your prepaid gift card. I suppose a $0.01 gift card might work too, but I didn’t try.
- Check your official Equifax credit score as often as you want for 10 days. Checking your score does not hurt your credit score.
This is the Equifax version of your credit score, the Experian and Transunion FICO scores are not free. Often times when lenders pull your credit score, they pull all 3 and take the middle score.
My Equifax FICO Score
I’ve been churning credit cards for over two years now and my score has been going up and down. I’ve applied for 22 credit cards in a span of two years. I also applied for a car loan and mortgage loan in between all that. I would not suggest churning credit cards if you have a mortgage loan within a year. I did not personally take my advice and only stopped for about 6 months, but I got lucky and qualified for a top mortgage rate. Here is my Equifax FICO Score:
I check my credit score often on CreditKarma.com, which gives a free FAKO credit score. I wasn’t sure if my real FICO score was going to be close to my CreditKarma score, but it was only 1 point off! My CreditKarma score was 756, which is considered excellent in their standards. Here is my CreditKarma Score:
Here are some observations about my credit score:
- Payment history – I’ve always paid in full and on time, which is 35% of your credit score.
- Amount of Debt – I pay my balances when they are due, so I sometimes run the balance high from manufactured spending, but they always get paid off. I might want to consider paying off some balances mid-month to keep this down. Another strategy I use is charging as many expenses to business credit cards like Ink Bold or AMEX SPG Business because spending on business cards do not show up on your credit report. Amount of debt is 30% of your credit score.
- Length of History – My parents added me as an authorized user when I was younger. However, not too much I can do about this because I’m in my mid 20’s. 15% of your score.
- Amount of New Credit – This is where your credit card churning takes the biggest impact. However, as this component goes down, your credit utilization rate will go up because you have more credit line. I would think that the increase in the 30% category would be higher than the decrease in the amount of new credit category (10%).
You can read MyFICO’s website to learn more about their FICO score calculation. As I mentioned, paying in full and on time and keeping your balances low by charging your business credit cards can greatly improve your credit score. Since these categories are 65% of your credit score, it’s important you focus on these. Over time, my credit score should improve as I become older. I also apply for credit cards every 91 days to try to keep my credit score stable.
It is very important to know your credit score and monitor the impact of credit card churning. Signing up for a 10-day trial is a great way to check your FICO score for free. Even though I applied for lots of credit cards over the years, my credit score is still stable and hasn’t been affected much because I’ve paid my credit cards in full and on time and kept my balances low by charging business credit cards. In the end, do what makes you feel comfortable. Many people might not want to apply for many credit cards because it is hard to manage. I only really use 4 or 5 credit cards at a time and keep the rest in a drawer. I have my credit cards on auto-pay and I constantly monitor my expenses through Mint.com for any suspicious behavior. Hope this article informed you that you can still have a great credit score while credit card churning.
What’s your credit score?
Note: Your credit score is your own responsibility. I am not sponsored by MyFICO in anyway. Opinions are of my own.