You get access to three credit reports a year thanks to the government, but you really don’t get access to free credit scores unless you pay for them or you enrol in some form of credit monitoring service.
The catch is that the scores you will be looking at aren’t your FICO scores. They do come pretty close, though, so you will at least have a rough idea of what your actual FICO score is.
Personally, I really like the idea of it all. If I am concerned about my credit score and would like to see if my actions have helped or hindered its growth, then I would at least like to know the direction I’m going. The scores may not be 100% accurate, but I will have a pretty good idea of how I’m doing score-wise.
If you need to actually use a credit score, though, then I still suggest you cough up some money for a score directly from FICO. This is what most lenders will use to determine your interest rates as well as the maximum amount they will lend to you.
So while the scores offered by CreditKarma and CreditSesame aren’t 100% comparable to FICO scores, they can at least serve as a useful tool for tracking the effects of your financial actions on your credit score.