A credit score is just a number. But the reality is, it’s a number that is used to rank you at various points in your life. When you turn 18 and become eligible to begin managing credit, that number will begin to fluctuate. Hopefully you will have good money management skills and your credit score will go up and never go down, but hey, life happens. If you want to check on your credit score and see what it is there’s a free way for you to do that.
Get A Free Credit Report
Your credit report is similar to a report card in school. On your credit report you will see your lines of open credit, how long they’ve been open, the credit limit and how they are currently being paid. You will also be able to see if they’ve ever been paid late i.e. past 30 days. The credit report used to be kept behind closed doors and you had to pay each time you wanted to see what was on your report. Now there is a service at annualcreditreport.com that will allow you to see your credit report once a year from all three credit bureaus for free. (Make sure you use their navigation and not your browser’s back and forward button though, or the system may think you’ve seen one or all reports and you might not be able to see them all. This I learned from experience.) Once you look at your credit report, you might be curious to know what your FICO or credit score is. Annualcreditreport.com does not give you your credit score and often one of the three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax will offer you access to your score for a fee. But there’s a nice way to get that for free also.
Get Your Free FICO Score
You can get your free credit score from a service called Credit Sesame. They are one of the companies on my list of resources for this very reason. Credit Sesame will give you your free credit score each month. They allow you to see how your credit score compares to your peers and they suggest ways for you to build and/or repair your credit. I used Credit Sesame recently when I was shopping for an apartment. I wanted to check my credit score and my credit report to make sure there were no negatives on it. It’s good to check your score and your credit report before shopping for a mortgage, a job or of course credit. Credit Sesame uses the same security measures as banks and other financial websites so you know that your information is safe. They offer this free service and they make money when you decide to use one of the services that they’ve recommended. You might be wondering “How does the Credit Sesame credit score compare to a paid service?” I actually had that same question. So I decided to pay a dollar for a free trial with one of the big three credit bureaus. I checked my credit score and it was with in 1 to 2 points difference from the Credit Sesame score. That’s close enough for me.
So keep up with your credit score and check out the free service from Credit Sesame. Have you checked your score lately?