How to Check Your Credit Score
The three digits of your credit score can affect your life in numerous ways: they can help you prove yourself to a potential landlord, prevent you from financing a new car, and even influence your ability to buy a home. Maintaining a healthy credit score won't just improve your own financial situation; it could also boost your family's happiness. Because of this, it is tremendously important that you know your credit score. And luckily, these days it's easier than ever. In fact, in less than fifteen minutes, without paying a cent or harming your credit, you can discover your current score. Read on to learn how to check your credit score for free.
How to Check Your Credit Score for Free
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires consumer reporting agencies (including the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to let you see your credit record at least once a year without cost. Considering how much influence a credit score can wield on your personal and financial life, this requirement makes a lot of sense. However, it's important to note that the requirement only specifies that your credit report must be accessible, not your credit score. Be sure that your chosen method of access will provide you with that all-important, three-digit number.
Although some companies will attempt to charge you for the service, there is no reason for you to pay to check your credit score. Here are two of your complimentary options:
- Ask your credit card provider. Many credit card providers are adding FICO credit scores to the monthly statements they send to consumers. For example, issuers like Discover, Barclays, Citi, and Chase are offering this helpful bonus. Check your statement or give your provider a call.
- Use a free website. Check out CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com, or Credit.com to receive a truly free credit score. These websites won't even ask for your credit card information, so you can be sure that you're not unknowingly paying for your score. If a site does ask for your credit card number (for example, FreeCreditScore.com), skip it! There are plenty of free options available.
Nearly all credit experts recommend that you check your credit report at least once a year. Not only will this help you stay on top of your score, but it will also give you a chance to check the report for errors and omissions. If you spot any mistakes, be sure to contact the credit bureau that is showing the incorrect information. To ensure that your credit score accurately reflects your financial history, you will need to send the bureau a letter that includes your name, your address, the item in the report that you believe is incorrect, why you dispute the information presented, and your request (i.e., deletion, addition, correction, etc). When you send the letter, request a receipt to be sure that it ends up in the right hands.
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Checking your credit score is easy, it's free, and you can do it from the comfort of your couch! So . . . what are you waiting for?
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