3 Important Times To Know Your Credit Score
Accessing your personal credit score used to be a real challenge. Often, you could only do so through credit card or mortgage applications. Today, there are many services offering an option to check your credit score at any time, but they often come at a price. Most people can’t see themselves paying a fee every time they want to view their score.
Thankfully, some companies are improving the process and making it easier than ever before to obtain your personal credit score. Let’s look at a few of the important times in life when you’ll need to know your credit score, and where to get it for free.
Online Credit Score
There are now online providers, such as Credit Sesame, that give you access to free credit scores. To get started, you need to sign up for their service, and upon doing so, you’ll receive a free FICO credit score. In addition, you’ll benefit from the extra service of free credit monitoring.
“We believe complete financial transparency is a consumer right, which is why we worked so hard to bring free credit monitoring to consumers. Your credit score and information on your credit report have a very real impact on your bottom line,” says Adrian Nazari, CEO and founder of Credit Sesame.
Services like these make it easy to access your credit score from a minimum of one of the three major credit bureaus, such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. A report from any of the major three will give you an accurate picture of your own individual credit status. That said, you should be wary of any provider that asks for your personal credit card information.
The great thing about checking your score this way is it doesn’t count as a hard inquiry, meaning it won’t negatively impact your overall credit.
Credit Card Issuers
If you already have access to a credit card under your name, you’re in luck. There are a number of issuers who will provide credit monitoring or complimentary credit scores for their cardholders as a bonus.
Those credit card issuers may include things like:
- American Express offers its clients free monthly FICO scores, which are the most common type of credit score.
- Barclays provides free FICO scores, along with credit monitoring.
- Capital One offers a free VantageScore 3.0 credit score through their monitoring tool, known as CreditWise.
- Discover provides a complimentary FICO score on each personal monthly credit card statement.
- Chase gives all of their cardholders access to their own FICO scores through their online portal.
It’s worth considering a credit card that offers rewards, especially when they have no monthly or annual fee. Many of them offer rewards that give you cash back or travel points. Having access to your personal credit score is just the icing on the cake.
Taking Out A Loan
Many Americans rush to apply for mortgages, especially as interest rates fall to all-time lows. The benefit of doing this is getting access to your credit score as part of the application process. Also, if you’re applying for a personal loan, you’ll get access to your score, whether you’re approved or denied.
The other option would be to request your credit report from any of the major three credit bureaus once a year. However, credit reports unfortunately don’t include your score.
Why Do I Need To Know My Score?
Knowing your credit score and history ensures that you get the absolute best deal from lenders. It can also help if you’re trying to buy or rent a place to live, lease a car, get discounts on insurance, and more. Regular monitoring will tell you when you’re off-track, giving you the opportunity to fix it as quickly as possible. Maintaining a good score tells lenders they can do business with you safely, and increase your chances of being approved for new credit cards.