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Free FICO credit scores are available to the first 5,000 Military Times readers who request them, courtesy of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
The requests must come from a .mil email address, and the offer is open only to active-duty members and their spouses. A FICO score normally costs $19.95 at myfico.com.
FICO is the standard score used by lenders in the U.S. to determine how much money a consumer can borrow, and the interest rate they must pay.
The FICO score, ranging from 300 to 850, compiles information from reports from the three national credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and takes into consideration positive and negative information, in categories such as timely payments and the amounts owed.
Military Times readers can access their credit score from a .mil email address by entering the code: DDAVUJTG in the “Financial Educator Code” field. The offer is available for a limited time — through 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 18 — or until the 5,000 free credit scores have been given out.
You can also reach the site by visiting saveandinvest.org/creditscore. Scroll down to click on the yellow icon, “Register for your free FICO Credit Score.”
By checking your credit score, you can find out if something specific is lowering your score, and start to take action to improve it.
While it’s good to check your credit score well ahead of applying for a loan, it’s also worth checking periodically for other reasons. More businesses are checking credit scores, including some insurance companies to help determine premium rates, and some employers.