I check my credit score at least once a month for free. I didn’t have to sign up for any special programs, I don’t pay a yearly fee, and I get my actual Transunion FICO score. I also get a very limited view of my credit. I can see how many accounts I have open, how many are closed, how many delinquencies, how many derogatory items, how many inquiries, and my total revolving amount of credit.
If you have a Washington Mutual credit card, you can too! They have it right on their website. It is updated once a month when WaMu does their monthly credit check. All creditors will do a monthly credit check. It’s considered a soft inquiry and doesn’t affect your credit. They are just keeping tabs on you. The only reason I even keep my WaMu credit card is for this awesome feature.
If my identity gets stolen it won’t notify me immediately, but I will know within a month, and that is better than waiting up to a year until I can get another free credit report. Plus you get your score, which you don't get with the free credit reports. You have to pay to see your score.
I also find it fascinating to find out how certain transactions affect my score. For example, when we bought my minivan my credit score dropped about 20 points. As soon as we made the first payment it went right back up to where it was previously. However, when we put the entire cost of landscaping the backyard on a credit card it dropped 70 points and stayed there. I assume when we pay that off it will return to its previous highs.
Once you are on the Washington Mutual website and you are under the “accounts” tab there should be a link next to your credit card account that says “Visit our credit card servicing site”. If you click that link it takes you over to what used to be the Providian website. You will have to sign in again (and maybe even sign up again) once you are over there, then click on the “credit profile” tab and you will see your credit score.