Your credit score is much more than a three digit number. It has a huge impact on how much you can borrow and will follow you throughout life. It's important to know your score for many reasons:
You will know where you stand
. How can you make smart financial decisions if you don't know where you currently stand? This is especially important if you're planning to make a step forward in life (buying a house or a car, applying for a job, renting a new apartment, etc.). Most experts recommend that you shoot for a credit score of at least 700 if you want to get great rates on a loan or a credit card
You can prevent mistakes and identity theft.
When you check your credit score, don't just look at the number. Check the information within each credit report and make sure that the details are accurate. If you spot mistakes or suspect identity theft, contact the agency who generated the report (there are three major credit agencies: Equifax
®, and TransUnion
®) online or by mail and notify them of your concerns. Specify the inaccurate information and state why you believe that information is flawed or false. By law, the bureaus must investigate the issue within a timely manner (typically 30 days) and send you a response.
You can make plans for the future. Your credit score is based on several factors, including your payment history, your debt, the length of your credit history, how many accounts you've opened recently, your total number of accounts, and the types of credit you have used. If you learn that you have a great credit score, simply keep up the good work! If you aren't satisfied with your number, however, you can begin implementing strategies to improve it. For example, maybe you need to adjust your spending so that you can pay your credit card bills in full each month. Or, perhaps you should stop applying for new credit cards, especially those offered by retail stores.
If you've never taken the time to look up your credit score, do it right now! It only takes a few minutes, and just knowing that all-important number can help you plan for your financial future. Using AnnualCreditReport.com
, a website authorized by Federal law, you can view a free copy of your credit report one time each year. If you haven't already requested your score this year, why wait?