You don't have to look far if you're trying to find out your credit score. Many websites allow you to check on your score for free, and most will take care of your needs in a matter of minutes. You can use your score to your advantage by taking care of past debts, or by determining if you have been hacked by an identity thief. Once you have your score, you can improve it or keep it in good standing, but there are three things you need to know before getting you’re a free report.
You Get One Annually
Each year, the federal government entitles you to one free credit score. This is a law and you can obtain the score online or through requesting one over the phone. You will need to give personal information to get the score, no matter where you apply. If you request it over the phone, it will be mailed to you, but if you ask for it online, it will be shown to you immediately and mailed to you.
There Are Three Credit Bureau Reporters
The Credit Bureau says there are three credit bureaus that report your free credit score. The credit rating system is what lenders use to determine whether to extend you a line of credit and how much interest they will charge on that credit. Your credit is affected by any bills you have missed, been late paying, or haven't paid. It is also affected by loans that you have paid off and what your current debt amount is. Your report will list your employment, any bankruptcies, and lawsuits you've faced, and even where you live. The three main consumer reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and they sell your information to creditors, employers, and other businesses. There are issues with these companies, though, and they can spell trouble for you.
They Aren't Always Right
Unfortunately, these reports aren't always right. There are things that can sway them to be good or bad and each CRA has its own way of reporting the scores. One CRA may list you as having a score of 600 and the other can list the score as 630, while the third may have you at 575. You don't really need to see all the scores, but if you want to make sure you haven't had your identity hacked, you'll have to consider your options – and that may include paying a little extra to look at your scores from all three reporting agencies. If you find anything out of the ordinary, the reports will have numbers listed to dispute the rating.
Getting a free credit score can be done in a few ways, either by requesting it online or over the phone. There are three main agencies that will report your score and each will report differently, and you are entitled to each once a year. Reading them carefully can help keep your credit in good standing.