I first became aware of the FreeScore.com website a few years ago, back when Ben Stein was doing commercials for them.
I’m not exactly sure what Ben Stein’s official involvement in the company was (just spokesman? or a part owner too?). As far as I know, he was only a paid spokesman for this website and allegedly that’s why he lost his column for the New York Times.
Now personally, I have nothing bad to say about the guy. Several years ago I actually had a job with him for a DirectTV commercial he did (it was a Ferris Bueller parody).
I remember he forgot to bring his original tie from the movie (which he still has) so someone had to drive from the set (at USC) down to his home (Laguna Beach) to pick it up and drive back. If you know LA traffic, you will know doing that in the middle of the day takes a great deal of time. As a result, there was a lot of talking going on and he’s a super nice guy.
So I regret to say it, but he didn’t exactly make the wisest decision in taking the FreeScore.com gig. My review will explain why…
Problem #1: What exactly is this “score” you are getting?
After them, there are a slew of credit score formulas which aim to correlate with FICO, but they can never truly replicate it since they’re using a different formula.
So what type of credit score is FreeScore.com using? Well unfortunately, the answer isn’t very obvious! I poked around the website and didn’t see details about what type of score they are using.
However, in their “Credit Score Ranges” article which is linked to from their homepage, they talk quite a bit about FICO credit scores. Then right below, they have a large button that says “SEE YOUR SCORES NOW” and I find that confusing, because you aren’t getting a FICO credit score.
Apparently this isn’t anything new though. A Wall Street Journal quote way back from 2009 said the same thing about the confusion of FICO information on the FreeScore site:
So what type of credit score are you getting from them? Well that I can’t say, because I didn’t see it (perhaps I missed it, but I look diligently and didn’t see it). The only info I see is that they give you 3 credit scores (of some sort?) and they calculate 1 score for each of the 3 agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
But what I do know is that there are only two websites that sell FICO scores directly to consumers and you can see that info straight from the horse’s mouth on MyFICO.com:
So your two options are MyFICO and Equifax.
Problem #2: FreeScore.com isn’t always “free”
The most common reason people seem to allege FreeScore.com is a scam is because you will have to provide your credit card number and signup for a 7-day free trial.
Now in defense of FreeScore.com, they do tell you this on the page 2 of the enrollment process. At the top it says:
So the fact that you have to cancel the FreeScore.com membership or get charged is not the biggest complaint, at least for me personally.
Many websites employ the same trial technique for their so call “free” whatever, so this don’t really surprise me. However I suppose given the name of their business – FreeScore – it would still confuse some people, even though it’s spelled out in the enrollment.
Problem #3: Price for not cancelling the FreeScore.com trial
Now let me be clear that I didn’t go through and complete the signup for a trial, so I personally don’t have any experience with what their cancellation process entails (how easy or difficult it is).
But when I looked at the info for how to cancel the FreeScore.com membership, they do seem to be straightforward by offering different options to do so (a) calling 1-800-316-8824 (b) emailing “[email protected]” or (c) using the site’s contact form.
So from what I can see, the cancellation process appears to be fair, without undue rigmarole. But if you forget to cancel, there’s an ugly price to pay…
Being charged $14.95 per month for “membership” in their credit monitoring service is quite expensive. Even though the price is comparable to many other services, the beef I have with paying for FreeScore.com is that you aren’t getting a FICO.
So is it really worth paying that much money just for monitoring + non-FICO scores?
Even though my review isn’t the most flattering, technically speaking, FreeScore.com is not a scam because they do tell you upfront that you are paying if you don’t cancel. But is it a good or lousy deal? Well, I will let you draw your own conclusion on that.
If you want to get your real FICO score (not an imitation formula) for free then check out this new card which includes it as a benefit for no additional cost in 2014:
This review was written or last updated for Jan 2013