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Free Credit Scores From ALL 3 Major Credit Bureaus + Free Credit Monitoring + $50k in Free ID Theft Insurance (No Credit Card Required)

Updated 2019. The government requires the credit bureaus to provide you a free credit report once every 12 months. However, the services listed below provide you a free credit score updated throughout the year either daily, weekly, or monthly. The best ones also offer free daily credit monitoring and/or free identity protection services. As of 2019, all three major credit bureaus are covered: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

None of the services below require a trial or credit card number to sign up, so you don’t have to worry about any surprise charges. These are either ad-supported (they will pitch you stuff) and/or they are “freemium” services with a paid upgrade option (but you can stay on the free tier forever). Each of them offers something unique, and together form a comprehensive daily monitoring of your credit.

Credit Sesame offers a free credit score every month, based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore 3.0). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best parts about Credit Sesame in my experience are that they have the most reliable credit alerts and the free $50,000 in ID theft insurance.

  • Free daily credit monitoring. Credit Sesame also offers free daily credit monitoring of your TransUnion data, with alerts coming via e-mail, text, or smartphone app. This service tracks more than 40 different credit activities such as a balance change, address change or when a new account is opened.
  • Free identity protection and restoration services. Credit Sesame also includes $50,000 in identity theft insurance and access to identity restoration support in their free membership level.

Credit Karma offers you two free credit scores, based on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports and updated weekly (VantageScore). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about Credit Karma in my experience is that you get two credit bureaus covered in one service.

  • Free credit monitoring. Credit Karma also offers free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your TransUnion data.
  • Free identity theft monitoring. Credit Karma uses your email address to search and notify you of breached accounts and threats to your identity. offers a free credit score every month, based on your Experian credit report (FICO 08). Score range is 300-850. They require your full Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. They don’t have ads, but instead ask you at every opportunity to upgrade. The best part about in my experience is that they are a rare free option to track changes to your Experian report, which rounds out the two above.

  • Free credit monitoring. They also offer free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your Experian data.

WalletHub offers a free credit score based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore), updated daily. Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about WalletHub in my experience is that they offer daily access to your full TransUnion credit report, if for some reason you want to check your full report that often.

Note that some of the scores above are not FICO scores because Fair Isaac charges more money in licensing fees and these companies may not be able to cover those costs with their advertising. However, these services are still be very useful for tracking changes in your credit history. I enjoy getting alerts if a credit card balance is paid in full, if there is a new credit inquiry, or if my credit utilization ratio gets too high on a specific credit line. This is also a great way to get early warning of any fraudulent activity.

Bottom line. Used in combination, I use the services above to keep track of any daily changes to my credit reports across all three credit bureaus for free. None of them require my credit card number, and they alert me to things like new accounts, new credit check inquiries, and high credit line usage.

Amazon Prime: $9 Echo Dot (3rd Gen) + Music Unlimited Trial

Amazon has a another good deal for Prime members interested in a cheap Echo Dot (newest 3rd generation). Sign up for a 1-month Amazon Music Unlimited membership for $7.99, and you get can get an Echo Dot (3rd gen) for only $0.99 (total cost $8.98). Here’s how:

  1. Click here for the combined Echo Dot + 1-month trial. You must pay with a credit card (no gift card), which will be used to enroll in Amazon Music Unlimited at $7.99 per month. The shipping is free at checkout.
  2. The membership will auto-renew, but you can cancel your Amazon Music Unlimited trial at any time, even before the month is up if you’d like.

This promo sold out quickly last time.

Mental Model For Expenses: Past, Present, and Future (With Animated GIFs!)

The theory behind financial independence is simple. Spend less, save more, invest it into income-producing assets. The reality is complex, full of daily decisions about balancing income and spending. The Morningstar article (yes, M* is writing … [Read the rest]

Super Simple Portfolio Rebalancing: Check Once A Year, Rebalance Every 6 Years On Average!

All this talk about portfolio rebalancing is to improve your risk-adjusted return, not to maximize absolute returns. You are trying to squeeze the most return out of a given degree of risk. Otherwise, if you do nothing eventually whatever has a … [Read the rest]

How to Recover Lost US Savings Bonds

Here's a drawback to US savings bonds that you might not have considered: Savings Bonds are easy to forget about. Paper savings bonds are often left in safe deposit boxes and forgotten. Electronic savings bonds do not generate a paper trail … [Read the rest]

Savings I Bonds November 2019: 2.02% Inflation Rate Prediction

Savings I Bonds are a unique, low-risk investment backed by the US Treasury that pay out a variable interest rate linked to inflation. You could own them as an alternative to bank certificates of deposit (they are liquid after 12 months) or bonds … [Read the rest]

Best Brokerage and IRA Transfer Bonuses – October 2019

Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, Interactive Brokers, Ally Invest all now offer free stock trades. Vanguard offers free trades on all ETFs, not just their own. The new differentiators are things like user interface, customer service, and … [Read the rest]

Financial Freedom and New Car Loans Don’t Mix Well

Apparently, my rule of thumb about affording cars isn't exactly going viral. If you are serious about financial freedom, you shouldn't be taking out loans for luxury items. A new car is a luxury item! Basic transportation will cost you under … [Read the rest]

Robinhood’s New Savings Account is FDIC-Insured! 2.05% APY

Robinhood brokerage has finally re-launched the high-interest cash sweep option after their failed (and illegal?) 2018 mash-up of checking accounts and SIPC-insurance. Robinhood Cash Management is basically what many other places like Betterment … [Read the rest]

Simple Bank Bonus: $500 Bonus + 2.15% APY for $20,000 New Deposit

Bonus updated. Simple is one of many fintech startups adding fancy tech and smartphone app sprinkles to your vanilla checking account. They were acquired by the big European-based bank BBVA in 2014. It looks like they are trying the direct route … [Read the rest]

Sprint Unlimited Kickstart: Unlimited Talk, Text, Data For $35/Month

Updated with new price of $35 a month. T-Mobile and Sprint have been doing the merger dance since April 2018, which meant Sprint is still highly incentivized to keep their subscriber numbers as high as possible. October 16th, the FCC approved the … [Read the rest]

S&P 500 Return Breakdown: Earnings, Valuations, Dividends (2015-2019)

The financial news industry loves to provide constant updates of the S&P 500 along with endless guesses as to why it blipped up or down. I like reading about finance and it still drives me crazy! It just makes people focus on the short-term and … [Read the rest]