How Do You Find Your Credit (FICO) Score?
Unfortunately, you can only access your credit score when a potential creditor runs your social security number when applying for credit; or, you must pay a credit bureau or monitoring service a small fee to view your score and its explanation for your ranking. There are 3 major credit bureaus which keep track of consumer credit: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. They use a similar method to compute your FICO credit score although many times the scores from the 3 companies may vary as much as 25 points. You can view your score from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion for a nominal fee, and these companies may offer a subscription service for a monthly access fee where you can monitor your score on an ongoing basis.
Visit any one of the national credit bureaus' websites to learn more about getting your FICO credit score and monitoring your credit score using their subscription services.
Why Is It Important To Know My Credit Score?
It makes sense to get these credit scores one way or another at least once a year. Why? Because if you know your score, you can be better prepared to seek credit from the appropriate credit issuers in the form of lines of credit, credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. Also, keep in mind that checking all 3 scores may be useful when you go to obtain credit from a bank
or mortgage company. As your score decreases, your risk to the creditor and the corresponding interest rate you pay, increase.
The federal government has made provisions for citizens to access their credit reports on an annual basis from these credit bureaus (go to www.annualcreditreport.com; however, it is important to note that they will NOT give you a credit score, just a list of all of your credit accounts, their payment history and current status. The purpose of allowing free access to these reports is to identify any reporting mistakes made by the agencies and to give you an opportunity to write them to correct it. Also, in this day and age of identity theft, it is another useful tool for people to look at their credit reports periodically to safeguard themselves.
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