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Best Checking Account Bonus Offers

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

It’s easy to stick with the same bank your whole life. If you’re not rate-chasing for the best deals out there, all you really need from an account is convenient access to your money to get by each day. At least that way, you get to avoid the hassle of switching your money and accounts, even if it does mean you miss out on some great savings rates.

Banks realize that it’s easy to stay put, too. So in an attempt to gain some new customers, banks can offer some great bonus offers on checking accounts. The promise of a few hundred dollars just for opening an account can be enough to incentivize potential customers to open an account. These bonus offers can be so tempting, that many people chase bonus offers to try and make a few extra bucks.

When looking for bonus offers, it’s important to look past the promotional dollar amount that’s being advertised. For starters, make sure you trust a bank before opening an account with them. You don’t want to be stuck with a new bank that has terrible customer service! Also, be sure to check what’s required of you to snag that bonus offer. Often, it’s opening the new account with a certain balance and maintaining that balance for the next few months. It could also require several direct deposits posted to the account. Make sure you can fulfill these requirements before opening an entirely new bank account.

If you should see an offer you like, just be aware that you may have to open the account from a specific webpage to qualify for the bonus. Other banks could require you to visit a branch to redeem your offer, so it’s important to double check the application requirements.

The 11 best checking account bonus offers in 2019

BankBonus*Minimum Deposit to Earn BonusWhen the deal expires
Aspiration$100 + 2.00% APY$006/30/2019
SunTrustUp to $750Up to $100,0007/1/2019
Citibank$600$50,0006/30/2019
CitibankUp to $500$15,0006/30/2019
Wells Fargo$400$2511/27/2019
Chase$300$07/15/2019
TD Bank$300 $2,500No current expiration date
Fifth Third Bank$250$06/30/2019
Chase$200 $257/15/2019
Elements Financial$200$500No current expiration date
Citibank$200$5,0006/30/2019
*Terms apply

Methodology

The best checking account bonus offers are — simply put — the ones with the biggest cash amounts we could find at the time of publishing. Below, we’ll detail each of the 11 best checking account bonus offers. You’ll find out whether it’s available in your area and what the requirements you have to meet to earn the bonus.

You might also want to read more about what each account is like on its own. For example, you might want to snag the highest bonus, but what if the account normally charges a monthly fee that you can’t afford? Check it all out below.

Featured: Aspiration — $100 cash for a direct deposit + 2.00% APY, no minimum

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: Starting 6/1/2019 and ending 6/30/2019, new customers need to open an Aspiration Spend and Save Account via the link on the bonus offer’s advertisement and fund the account with at least $10. Then before 9/1/2019, customers must make at least one direct deposit into the account in order to receive their $100 bonus. It may take until 9/19/19 for the $100 to post to your Spend and Save Account.

Who’s eligible: New customers to Aspiration are the only ones eligible for this offer.

Account details: The Aspiration Spend and Save Account offers one of the highest APY rates available for a cash management account at 2.00%. While customers may opt to voluntarily pay Aspiration a monthly fee, 10% of which the fintech will donate to charity, this donation is at the customer’s discretion and doesn’t affect the features the account offers.

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on Aspiration’s secure website

SunTrust — $250, $500 or $750 cash bonus with up to $100,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 7/1/2019

Offer rules: This checking account bonus offer applies to new SunTrust Advantage Checking accounts. You can potentially unlock three reward levels by meeting qualifications. All levels require you to deposit at least $100 within 14 days after account opening, make at least $3,000 in direct deposits into the new SunTrust Advantage Checking account within 60 days of your account opening and make at least 10 debit card purchases within 60 days of account opening.

  • Meeting all three of those steps will earn a $250 bonus.
  • To earn a $500 bonus (total), you must open the new account with $25,000 in total new balances (not money already held in a SunTrust account) within 30 days of account opening and maintain that balance for at least 90 days of account opening.
  • To earn the maximum $750 bonus, you must open the account with at least $100,000 in total new balances within 30 days and maintain that balance for at least 90 days of account opening.

Your total balance includes money in the new SunTrust Advantage Checking account, any linked Purpose checking accounts, personal Savings, personal money market, CD and SunTrust IRA accounts that have you as the first-listed owner.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available to new SunTrust personal checking customers. You can’t even be a secondary account holder on another account or have closed a personal checking account within 180 days of July 6, 2018. You must also have a mailing address in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or D.C. to qualify.

To qualify, you must use the application link on this SunTrust page. You can also use the page the email yourself a coupon to bring into a SunTrust branch to redeem the offer.

Account details: The SunTrust Advantage Checking requires at least $100 to open. It earns interest on all balances, although the rate is minimal . The account charges a monthly maintenance fee of $20. You can waive this fee each month by meeting a certain balance or transaction requirements. The account also includes three free non-SunTrust ATM transactions per statement cycle.

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on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

Citibank — $600 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019

The offer: To earn the $600 bonus on a new Citi Priority Account Package, you can apply at a Citi branch, call a Citi representative or through this Citibank page. You must make an initial deposit of at least $50,000 within 30 days of opening, between the new checking and savings accounts in the Package.

You must also maintain at least that balance for 60 consecutive calendar days following account opening.

Who’s eligible: Only new-to-Citibank customers who are opening a new Checking and a new Savings account qualify for this bonus offer. To open these accounts online, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident who is at least 18 years old.

Account details: The Citi Priority Package earns interest on its checking account, although at a minimal rate. You’ll also have a savings account, either Citi Savings or Citi Accelerate Savings, that earns interest depending on your balance. The package includes access to Citi Personal Wealth Management Financial Advisors by phone, investment resources and financial planning tools. It also adds extra perks like waived fees for overdraft protection, checkbooks and incoming wire transfers.

The Citi Priority Package charges a $30 monthly service fee. You can waive it by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts.

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on Citibank’s secure website

Citibank — $400 or $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: You can earn $400 in bonus cash if you open a new eligible checking and savings account in a Citibank Account Package. You’ll need to deposit at least $15,000 in new-to-Citibank money within 30 days of opening. Since the package includes a checking and savings account, you can split that deposit between the accounts. You’ll need to maintain at least that much money in your accounts for 60 consecutive days to receive the bonus.

You can earn $100 more — for the total $500 bonus — when you complete at least one qualifying direct deposit (within 60 days of account opening) each month for two consecutive months.

Who’s eligible: You qualify for this offer if you are a new Citibank customer opening a new Checking and a new Savings account. To redeem the offer, you can visit a Citibank branch, call a Citibank Representative or apply online. You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident to apply for these accounts online.

Account details: The Citibank Account Package

earns interest on your checking account balance, but at the lowest rate compared to the bank’s other accounts. The savings account earns interest according to balance tiers. The account includes certain perks like a free order of checkbooks, fee-free ATM access (when you meet balance requirements) and the opportunity to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards.

The Citibank Account Package charges a $25 monthly service fee. You can waive the fee if you keep at least $10,000 in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts with the bank.

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on Citibank’s secure website

Wells Fargo — $400 bonus with $3,000 minimum direct deposits

Offer ends 11/27/2019

Offer rules: You have a couple requirements that you’ll need to meet when you open a new Everyday Checking account with Wells Fargo in order to snag this checking account bonus offer. This offer can also apply to an Opportunity Checking account. For starters, you’ll need to open the new account with at least $25. Then within 150 days of account opening, you’ll need to receive at least $3,000 in direct deposits for three consecutive months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this checking account bonus offer directly from this online page or by bringing in an offer code, also found on that page, to a Wells Fargo branch in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, Orlando, Fla., and Phoenix areas. You cannot use this offer if you already have a Wells Fargo consumer checking account or have received a Wells Fargo bonus offer within the past 12 months.

Account details: The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account is simple, with a Platinum Debit Card and access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs. There is a $10 monthly fee on the account, which you can waive in a few different ways:

  • Make 10 or more debit card purchases or payments
  • Receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students)
  • The primary account owner is between 17 and 24 years old

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on Wells Fargo’s secure website

Chase — $300 bonus with direct deposit

Offer ends 7/15/2019

Offer rules: It’s pretty simple to earn this $300 bonus offer when you open a new Chase Premier Plus Checking account. You just need to make a direct deposit in this account within 60 days after opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Eligibility: You cannot apply for this offer if you’re an existing Chase checking or fiduciary account holder. You do not qualify if you had an account closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Account details: Like its name suggests, Chase Premier Plus Checking is a high-end account. It earns interest, although at a minimal 0.01% APY on all balances. It has a high fee of $25, which you can waive with an average beginning day balance of at least $15,000 in combined balances between this account any any linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other accounts.

The account includes four free non-Chase ATM transactions per statement cycle and free Chase design checks. You can also take advantage of a rent-free small safe deposit box.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

TD Bank — $300 bonus with $2,500 minimum direct deposits

No expiration details available currently.

Offer rules: You can earn a $300 bonus when you open a new TD Premier Checking account. The account needs to receive direct deposits of at least $2,500 within 60 days of opening to qualify. The direct deposit must be from your paycheck, pension or government benefits from your employer or the government.

Eligibility: To qualify for this checking account bonus offer, you must be a new TD Bank customer, without any previous or current TD Bank personal checking accounts. You must also open the account through this web page.

You cannot redeem the offer if you’re a Canadian cross-border banking customer.

Account details: The TD Premier Checking account earns interest on balances of $2,500 and over, but the rate is pretty minimal. You’ll also have free access to non-TD ATMs and the chance to get reimbursed for other ATM surcharges. The account also includes a free first order of standard checks, money orders, stop payments, paper statements and incoming wire transfers.

The account charges a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which you can waive when you keep at least $2,500 in your account.

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on TD Bank’s secure website

Fifth Third Bank — $250 bonus with $500 minimum balance

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: You have the option of opening a new Fifth Third Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free checking account to earn the bank’s $250 bonus offer. While you don’t need to open the new account with a specific deposit amount right away, you have 45 days to reach an account balance of at least $500. Then you’ll need to maintain at least $500 in the account for 60 days to qualify completely for the bonus.

Availability: To redeem this offer, you will need to visit this Fifth Third webpage, email yourself the offer coupon and bring it to a Fifth Third branch to redeem. This limits the offer’s availability to customers near a branch, which you can find in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

You do not qualify for this checking account bonus offer if you are already a Fifth Third Bank customer, or have closed an account with the bank within the last 12 months.

The account: Unlike most other banks, Fifth Third Bank allows you to choose which checking account – Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free (when available) — you’d like to open with the bonus offer. This gives you the flexibility to open the account that works better for you in the long run. The Fifth Third Enhanced and Preferred Checking accounts earn interest on your balances, with the Preferred Checking earning at a slightly higher rate. As for fees, the monthly service fee ranges from $8 to $25, which you can waive with minimum balances.

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on Fifth Third Bank’s secure website

Chase — $200 bonus with $25 minimum deposit

Offer ends 7/15/2019

Offer rules: When you open a new Chase Total Checking account with at least $25 and set up direct deposit, you can get a bonus of $200. The direct deposit needs to be made to the account within 60 days of account opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Opening the checking account alone can earn the $200 bonus. If you would also like to open a Chase Savings account along with the Chase Total Checking, you can boost your total reward to $350.

Eligibility: You cannot open a new account with the checking account bonus offer if you already have a Chase checking account. The offer also doesn’t apply to those with fiduciary accounts, who have had accounts closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Account details: Chase Total Checking is the bank’s most popular checking account out of its three checking options. It’s also the most basic and straightforward without any added perks or features. It charges a $12 monthly service fee that you can waive with either direct deposits of at least $500, a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in combined linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Elements Financial — $200 bonus with $500 direct deposits

No expiration details available currently.

Offer rules: To snag Elements Financial’s $200 cash bonus, you’ll want to open a High Interest Checking account and make recurring monthly direct deposits of at least $500 each within 60 days of account opening. Direct deposits include employer payroll, retirement benefits or government benefits. You’ll need to use the promo code “CHECK200” to successfully redeem the offer.

Who’s eligible: You are not eligible for this bonus offer if you already have an Elements checking account. Health Savings Accounts are also not eligible for this offer.

If you close your new account within six months of opening, the bank may deduct the bonus amount from your account balance at that time.

Elements Financial is a credit union that requires membership before you open an account. If your company is an Elements partner, you can open a checking or savings account or complete an application for a loan or credit card to start the application process.

Account details: The High Interest Checking account charges no monthly fee when you enroll in electronic statements. earns at a competitive 2.00% APY on balances between $100 and $20,000. Balances larger than $20,000 will earn at 0.10% instead. These rates apply when you make at least 15 qualifying transactions per statement cycle. This includes debit card purchases, checks, bill payments, ATM withdrawals and ACH withdrawals. If you don’t meet that qualification, your balance will earn 0.05% APY.

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on Elements Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Citibank — $200 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019
Offer rules: Opening a new Citibank checking account in a Basic Banking Package can earn a $200 bonus if you deposit at least $5,000 in new money within 30 days of opening. You need to maintain at least that minimum in the account for 60 consecutive calendar days, too, to fully qualify for the reward.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer through the offer page, by visiting a Citibank branch or by calling a bank representative. You’re eligible if you’re a new Citibank customer who is at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident.

The account: The Basic Banking Package is made for simple checking. It includes unlimited check writing and free non-Citi ATM usage for customers 62 and older. There is a $12 monthly fee that you can waive by making one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment each cycle, or by keeping a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in this account and other eligible linked accounts. Customers 62 and older can also waive the fee.

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on Citibank’s secure website

5 things to watch out for with checking account bonus offers

#1 Checking account bonus offers aren’t entirely “no-strings-attached.” You can see above the various requirements you typically have to meet to earn a bonus, whether that’s meeting a minimum deposit amount or completing a certain number of direct deposits. But there’s often more to checking account bonus offers than what meets the eye.

#2 Banks report bonus payouts as interest to the IRS. In the year you receive your bonus, you’ll also receive a 1099-INT form, indicating you need to file the “income” in your taxes for that year. This lessens the total reward you gain from the checking account bonus offer. The exact amount deducted will depend on your tax bracket, but the higher the bracket, the smaller your final bonus.

#3 Banks may pull a credit check and a ChexSystem verification report when you apply for an account. This allows them to check for a history of good account standing, or, to the opposite, any dings in your financial history, like a trail of unpaid fees or bounced checks. Even if you have nothing to hide, a hard inquiry into your credit can temporarily dip your score just a little, so if you’re just opening one account, the effect won’t be catastrophic. However, if you’re opening multiple new accounts within quick succession, your credit score can take a hit.

Opening several accounts can also appear in a ChexSystem report. Whenever a bank pulls a ChexSystems report, it shows up as an inquiry. While this doesn’t ding your credit score or financial history, it may hurt your chances at a new account if a bank sees all those recent inquiries.

#4 You need to keep the account open for at least a few months. If you thought you could quickly open an account, collect your checking account bonus and close the account before moving onto the next one, we’re here to tell you that’s not how it works. Remember all those requirements you need to meet to redeem the offer? Not only is there a minimum deposit requirement, but you also need to keep your balance above that minimum for a certain number of days, typically 60.

Even after waiting two months to fully qualify, you may not see the bonus deposit into your account until months later. For example, Citi will deposit your bonus into the qualified account 90 days after you complete all the required activities. You may need to wait even longer if there are delays in depositing your reward. If that does happen, though, contact customer service to see what the delay might be.

You could also lose your bonus rewards if you close the new account within a certain time period. For example, Chase will deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account at closing if you close the account six months after opening with the bonus offer. This protects banks from paying out too many bonuses without getting any new account deposits in return.

#5 Finally, make sure you’re opening your new account the right way. To snag a checking account bonus offer, you often need to start your application through the right webpage. Other banks may require you to visit a branch to redeem the offer. Pay attention to the specific bank and account requirements; otherwise, you could find yourself with a new checking account, just without a bonus.

Think beyond the bonus offer when committing to a checking account

Although it’s tempting, you shouldn’t open new accounts left and right just for a checking account bonus offer. Once you snag that bonus, you’re stuck with an entirely new checking account. You should make sure that you’re comfortable enough with the account to make chasing the bonus worthwhile.

Pay attention to the account’s fees. Banks are quick to advertise the checking account bonus offer and the account’s many benefits. But make sure you also look for the account’s monthly maintenance fee. Once you open that account, you’ll be responsible for paying that fee each month. Plus, don’t forget that it takes months to meet the offer requirements in the first place, and another few months for the bonus to be deposited into your account. Paying that fee over those months can really add up, cutting into the total bonus you’ll actually receive. No one wants to be trapped paying an unnecessary and high fee that could have been avoided.

If you do choose to close your new account, whether before or after snagging the bonus, you’ll likely face a fee for closing it early. Paying this fee certainly isn’t worth it if you didn’t earn the bonus. But even if you do earn those extra dollars, paying any fee lessens the total reward you could have received. Some banks may also deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account if you close it too early, leaving you with zero net gain.

Make sure you can meet an account’s minimum balance. You can often waive an account’s monthly fee by meeting further requirements, typically a minimum balance. These can reach pretty high, though, especially when accounts have several features and perks. These accounts also tend to offer higher bonuses, so be careful if you’re looking solely for the highest bonus.

Instead, look for the checking account bonus offers that require lower balances to qualify. These accounts tend to charge smaller monthly fees. Even better, look for an account that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee, no matter your balance.

The accounts with high bonuses may not be the most favorable ones. Banks create these checking account bonus offers to invite consumers to become a customer. But perhaps there’s a reason why not too many new customers are opening these accounts. If you take a look at the accounts above, you’ll see they’re all from brick-and-mortar banks. They all charge monthly fees and can require sky-high balances to waive those fees. Those that earn interest only earn at the most minimal rates. These accounts, while appealing in the short-term for their bonuses, may not be the most beneficial in the long run for your finances. You should invest in accounts that grow and save you money.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Know About the Different Credit Scoring Models

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Did you know that there are hundreds of credit scoring models being used today?

With different lenders creating different credit score models based on their own credit criteria, it is very possible that you could have a hundred credit scores. While it is impossible to obtain or keep track of all your credit scores, you should be aware of the models most used by lenders.

FICO score

The FICO score is the most commonly used credit score when applying for credit or a loan. FICO is an abbreviation for Fair Isaac Corporation, the first company ever to offer credit scores. You have different FICO scores at each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Your FICO Score ranges from 300 to 850, and is based on several factors:

  • 35% Payment History – The most important factor in determining your FICO credit score is your payment history. Delinquent payments could stay on your report for seven years.
  • 30% Debts/Amounts Owed – Your total debt. The lower your debt, the more likely it is that your score will be higher.
  • 15% Age of Credit History – The longer your credit history, the more likely it is that your score will be higher.
  • 10% New Credit/Inquiries – The number of accounts you have opened recently, as well as the number of hard inquiries you have.
  • 10% Mix of Accounts, Type of Credit – The more varied your accounts, the more favorable your score.

However, the FICO model is not as simple as the above breakdown may seem. FICO often makes changes to its credit score model to make it a better reflection of how creditworthy individuals are. As a result, there are currently more than 50 FICO credit score models that are used for different types of debt. A different version of your FICO credit score is used for a mortgage, auto loan, credit card and more.

The latest version of the FICO score is FICO 9, which allows unpaid medical bills to carry a lower weight than other unpaid debts, disregards collections accounts that have been paid off in full and factors in rent payments that are reported.

FICO 9 was developed because unpaid medical debt may not be an indicator of financial health, as an individual may be waiting on insurance payments before paying the debt, or may not even know a bill has been sent to collections.

FICO score 8 is still the most commonly used by lenders. This model does not allow for the lower weighting of medical debt.

Consumers should also be aware of the newly launched UltraFICO Score. This score is the result of a partnership by FICO, Experian and data aggregator Finicity. The key difference between it and other FICO scoring models is that it allows bank account transactions to be factored into the final score. This is a score for which consumers will have to opt in by linking their deposit accounts to their credit profiles. This can help consumers with a sparse credit history to boost their scores based on their banking behavior, which includes a history of positive account balances, frequency of bank transactions, length of time the accounts have been open and evidence of consistent cash on hand.

As this is a very new feature, there will be a slow rollout of availability. You can sign up here to receive news and updates on the UltraFICO score.

VantageScore

VantageScore is the main FICO credit score competitor, and in a similar manner, the VantageScore is constantly evolving to portray a more accurate picture of a person’s financial health. It was developed by the three major credit bureaus. While still not as widely used as the FICO score, an October 2018 study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman found the use of VantageScore rose over 20% year over year, and was up more than 300% over the past five years. Like the FICO score, VantageScore has a scale of 300-850.

  • VantageScore 4.0 was designed with these changes in mind, and it gives those records less negative impact when calculating scores for consumers who have those records in their credit files. VantageScore 4.0 also penalizes unpaid medical collections less than other types of unpaid collections, and ignores unpaid medical collections less than six months old, to give insurance companies ample time to make payments. Consistent with the VantageScore 3.0 model, paid collections (including paid medical collections) are excluded in the VantageScore 4.0 model.

The most recent version is VantageScore 4.0. As is the case with FICO score 9, VantageScore 4.0 puts a lower weight on unpaid medical debt (medical debt less than six months old is completely disregarded). Both VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 exclude paid collections from their model.

While VantageScore 4.0 debuted in 2017, 3.0 is still the most widely used model. The score takes the following factors into consideration:

  • Extreme Weight: Age and Type of Credit – This refers to your length of credit history and your account mix, and is also factored heavily into your 3.0 score.
  • Extreme Weight: Credit Utilization – The V3 score calculates your utilization percentage by dividing your balances by your available credit. Generally, you should keep your utilization under 30%.
  • High Weight: Payment HistoryVantageScore uses your payment history as the number one predictor of risk. Late payments can appear on your report for seven years.
  • Medium Weight: Total Balances – Refers to your total debt, both current and delinquent. As with credit utilization, the more you lower your debt, the higher chance you have of increasing your score.
  • Low Weight: Recent Behavior – How many accounts have you recently opened? Your recent behavior includes newly opened accounts and the number of hard inquiries recently.
  • Extremely Low Weight Available Credit – The amount of credit you have available to use.

MagnifyMoney’s parent company, LendingTree, offers a free credit monitoring service that uses the VantageScore 3.0 model.

Where can you obtain your credit score for free?

It used to be pretty difficult to obtain your credit score across all three bureaus for free. Now, several financial institutions offer consumers the chance to obtain their FICO scores at no cost. Here is a sampling of banks and credit unions that offer this service:

For Experian: If you have an American Express card, a Chase Slate account, or a credit card with Wells Fargo or the First National Bank of Omaha, you can get your FICO score from Experian. Discover offers an even better service, as anyone can sign up to view their Experian score at Creditscorecard.com, even if they do not have an account with Discover.

For Equifax: If you have a Citibank card, or an account with DCU Credit Union or PenFed, you can access your Equifax score for free. Keep in mind that Citibank uses a scoring model from 250 to 900 based on Equifax and the FICO Bankcard Score 8 model, which emphasizes credit card behavior.

For TransUnion: If you have a Barclays card, select credit cards with Bank of America or a Walmart Credit Card, Walmart MasterCard, or Sam’s Club Credit Card, you can access your TransUnion score.

Knowledge is power

The credit scoring system has a long way to go before it becomes transparent and accessible. Currently, it is up to lenders to use a national score, like the FICO score, their own internal credit score, or a mix of the two.

While it would be impossible to monitor all of your credit scores, there are ways to monitor the most important factors in every score. It’s your right to get annual access to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus. You can do this at annualcreditreport.com.

Even though no lender uses the same credit score model, all scores look at the same basic information, so taking steps to build and keep strong credit will benefit you no matter which score is being used.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at [email protected]

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Investing Best-Of Methodology

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

We know that comparing the pros and cons of multiple investment services can be confusing. Our product reviews help you simplify the process by providing side-by-side evaluations of only the best choices available. The roundups weigh a broad selection of variables for each company’s product, with a special focus on fees and customer experience.

The variables we focus on will depend on audience and product type. For example, the ranking of our Best Brokers for Beginners places the emphasis on brokerage accounts with low account minimums and broad investment product offerings, while our Best Discount Brokers review places greater weight on low trading fees.

For all of the products we recommend, we evaluate three categories of variables: fees, product features and customer experience.

  • Fees: Nobody likes giving away money. Highlighting services with the lowest fees is a key objective when evaluating any financial service. Getting the best return on your investments also means minimizing the fees you need to pay.Variables: stock trading fees, option trading fees, management fees, account opening and closing fees, transfer fees, margin fees, among others.
  • Product features: Successful investing means getting the right tools to accomplish your goals. The ideal service will offer appropriate investing products, support multiple account types, provide functionality that you fits your investing style and be easy to use.Variables: number and type of tradable securities, account types, research resources, robo-advisor offerings and more.
  • Customer Experience: Researching investments, placing trades and getting advice should be easy. The best products make the investing process intuitive and simple.Variables: ease of use, mobile apps, customer support resources and others.

Please note that our editors adhere to a strict code of ethics when evaluating any products on our site.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Joshua Rowe-Heupler
Joshua Rowe-Heupler |

Joshua Rowe-Heupler is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Joshua here

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