The Basics: Tracking your Credit Scores and Points and Miles

There are a number of ways to keep track of your FICO/FACO Scores and your points and miles. But first, let’s dispel some credit score myths: 1) Checking your credit score will not lower it; and, 2) You do not (necessarily) have to pay money to access your credit score.

First off, access annualcreditreport.com to receive a free copy of your credit reports once every 12 months, from each of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This access was enabled by a 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you aren’t already checking this, you really should be. Review your credit reports for any errors, omissions or suspicious items. Note that you will not receive your FICO/FACO scores with these reports. 

Track your Credit Scores with these sites (this is not a complete list, but sites that Ryan has accessed and trusts).

  • Credit Karma, credit and financial management, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (TransUnion and Equifax).
  • Credit Sesame, credit and financial management, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (TransUnion)
  • Mint, credit and financial management, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (Equifax)
  • American Express, free access to FICO Score 8 (Experian), personal credit card account required
  • Bank of America, free access to FICO Score 8 (TransUnion), personal credit card account required
  • Barclaycard, free access to FICO Score 8 (TransUnion), personal credit card account required
  • Capital One CreditWise, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (TransUnion), no credit card account required
  • Chase Credit Journey, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (TransUnion), no credit card account required
  • Citibank, free access to FICO Bankcard Score 8 (Equifax), personal credit card account required
  • Discover Credit Score Card, free access to FICO Score 8 (Experian), no credit card account required
  • U.S. Bank, free access to FACO VantageScore 3.0 (TransUnion), personal credit card required
  • Or, you can go to myFICO and have access to all FICO Score 8 (and 9) values from all three credit bureaus for $29.95 a month!

As you can see there are ample free resources out there. Access multiple FICO and FACO Scores to get a composite understanding about how the credit bureaus and lenders evaluate you as a potential customer.

This image has little to do with the post. Ergo, vis-à-vis, concordantly. Image Credit: courtesy of The Matrix Reloaded, directed by The Wachowski Brothers (2003), Warner Bros.

The list of sites that Ryan has used to track your points and miles is more limited:

  • Award Wallet, free for limited access and paid for premium access ($30/year). However, if you login, create a premium account, and activate a PAID subscription by February 1, 2017, users will lock-in a rate of $10/year. Note: Ryan has exactly 9 free upgrade codes for new users: free-fmhlgy.

There are other sites available, some free, some paid:

  • TripIt, free for limited access and paid for premium access ($49/year)
  • Points Loyalty Wallet, free for access, but not a comprehensive list of points and miles programs

Also consider maintaining a separate spreadsheet with information about the credit cards you apply for. Basic tracking information: date of application, applicant name (if tracking for multiple people), name of card, name of issuer (e.g. VISA, Amex, etc.), annual fee amount, next fee due date, account status (open or closed), the amount of spend required, spend by date, bonus amount, canceled date. This information will be invaluable in making future credit card application decisions. Maybe, if Ryan gets around to it, he’ll attach a sample spreadsheet. Post a comment if you want one.


Other posts in the series, The Basics:

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?