Checking your credit score.
Maybe its something you've overheard a coworker talking about on a lunch break, or perhaps you've seen an ad the other night on tv mention a thing or two about your credit score. You know it's something essential to stay on top of, just like visiting the dentist regularly, it's just something you haven't had a chance to get around to... until today that is!
Because today we're going to show you how you can check your credit score in less time then it takes to book a dentist appointment, and it won't cost you a cent!
To get started with checking your credit score, there's a few things you should know before you get started.
What is a credit score?
A credit score simply put is a number that lets lenders know how much risk they're going to take on if they were to approve your credit application. The higher your credit score, the less risk you are to lenders, and in turn allow you to qualify for better interest rates.
Different credit bureaurs use different methods on how to calculate your score, but it should roughly be a number between 300 - 900. Any number above 750 is considered to be a great credit score for reference.
You'll need to have your social security number on hand, and you should be prepared to have to answer a few questions related to your credit history to verify your identity when you're checking your credit score for the first time.
If you're unfamiliar or want to learn more about your credit score, you should check out our post "Everything You Should Know About Your Credit Score" for more information.
Let's get started with checking your credit score using one of these free methods!
The first method is checking your credit scores directly from the credit bureaus themselves. They're obligated by federal law to provide a detailed credit report to you once a year free of charge, while any additional requests may (and usually will) come with a fee.
To help avoid these fees, people will request one report from one bureau wait 4 - 6 months then request from a different credit bureau.
If you live in the States, you can start this process by heading over to annualcreditreport.com and request your report from all three bureaus at once, or at seperate times, which makes this a convenient option to see your entire credit history.
Quick Note - Consumer Disclosures vs Credit Report
When checking your credit history with bureaus, they can some times use different names in order to provide you additional services at a cost.
While other methods will cover will be more convienent and allow for more frequent updates, it's a good idea to request your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus incase these other methods fail to catch an item reported by a different credit bureau.
Next up we have CreditKarma, which is a great way to check your score as they let you refresh your report every week, free of charge!
This allows you to monitor your score for any suspicious activity without having to pay for monitoring service, or watch your credit score grow if you're trying to rebuild it.
To get started you'll just need to head over to their website CreditKarma.com (or CreditKarma.ca if you live in Canada), click on the sign-up button, follow the three-step account creation, and you'll know your credit score in less than a few minutes.
If you have any questions about CreditKarma check out our post "FAQs About CreditKarma".
Mint is already a fantastic tool to help you quickly build a budget and manage your spending, but did you know you can also check your credit score for free with Mint as well?
If you haven't already created an account with Mint, we strongly encourage you to do so, and once you've made it to your Overview dashboard, you'll see an option to check your free credit report. This feature as it turns out currently is still only available in the States.
This last one is for Canadians since you can't take advantage of Mint's offerings. What's nice about Borrowell is they are showing your credit score from Equifax, while if you signed up for CreditKarma earlier, they show you your TransUnion score, so by using both these services you can check both scores frequently for free!
If you head over to Borrowell's website and create a free account, you'll be able to access your free credit score from your account's dashboard. The only limitation with Borrowell is they refresh your credit score once every 3 months.
Keeping an eye on your credit score is imparitive, and being able to leverage these free services instead of having to pay for costly monthly credit monitoring services, means you can spend your money on other things instead!
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