The free credit score likely will come from one of the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, but the company won't be able to discuss your credit score.
"We are the source of the credit report used to calculate the score. But we're not the source of the credit score itself," says Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian.
The agencies won't be able to tell you how much a missed payment deducts from your score or even which trade line is valued the most in the score. But what they can do is go over your credit report and make sure there are no mistakes. They can also help you understand the factors that affect your score, which are included in the disclosure notice.
"It seems like a contrary message," says Griffin, "but consumers shouldn't worry so much about the number, but instead focus on the risk factors. That's what is going to improve their scores."