What is my credit score? Is there any way to find out? How can I improve it if I don’t even know what it is?
These questions, among many others, may be on your mind. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, you’ll come to find that checking your credit score is a simple task.
Before we get into the finer details of checking your score, let’s touch on some other important points of consideration.
Your credit score is a numeric representation of your credit history. The higher your score, the better your credit history. This number ranges from 300 to 850.
Your credit score is made up of five separate components, all with a different level of impact:
- Payment history: 35%
- Amounts owed: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- How many types of credit are in use: 10%
- Account inquiries: 10%
As you can see, your payment history is the most important piece of the puzzle. That’s why it’s so important to pay all your bills in full and on time.
How to Check Your Credit Score
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to check your credit score. It only takes a few minutes to get the information you’re looking for.
Generally speaking, there are three places you can turn to obtain your credit score:
- An online service (many of which provide your credit score for free)
- Your credit card company
- Your financial institution, such as bank or credit union
Look into all three options to ensure yourself of choosing the simplest one.
Tip: your credit score can and will change from month to month and year to year, so make sure you check it regularly.
Also, here’s an important reminder from Equifax:
Many people think if you check your credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus, you’ll see credit scores as well. But that’s not the case: credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus do not usually contain credit scores. Before we talk about where you can get credit scores, there are a few things to know about credit scores, themselves.
How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
Since your credit score is based on information from your credit report, you want to check that as well.
This is also easy to get your hands on. The best way is to request a free copy from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus:
Keep in mind that your credit report could differ from one agency to the next, so request a copy from each one. This will help you pinpoint any inconsistencies, which could indicate an error.
Your credit history and credit score are among the most important aspects of your personal finances.
If you can’t remember the last time you checked your credit score, take the time to request it today. This will give you a better idea of where you stand, as well as if you need to take action to improve it.