How to Check Your Credit Score

Credit Score

Everybody knows that it is important to keep track of your credit and remain aware of your credit score; after all, it impacts what you may qualify for in the financial world. Before you apply for a loan, mortgage, or credit card, you should check your score to make sure that you qualify and to determine what interest rates may apply to you. However, there are countless people who apply for a loan or a lease and are stunned that they do not qualify or that they have outrageous interest rates.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many people still do not understand what credit is, how your score is calculated, or even how to check your score. Luckily for you, we have all of that information primed and ready for you!

Defining Your Credit

Your credit history consists of past and current credit accounts (Think cards, loans, and other such things), how many times you request a report (The more you request a hard inquiry, the more it will impact your score), and any public record financial issues, such as bankruptcies or foreclosures.

Now, your actual credit score (sometimes referred to as your credit rating or your FICO Score) is a three-digit number between 300 and 850, and it determines your “creditworthiness.” Essentially, it lets lenders know of the risks associated with your ability to repay loans, and the higher the risk, the higher the interest.

The scale created by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) typically rates credit scores as seen below:

  • 300 – 579: Poor
  • 580 – 669: Fair
  • 670 – 739: Good
  • 740 – 799: Very Good
  • 800 – 850: Exceptional

At this point, it is fair to be curious where in this range you fall—but you don’t know how to go about checking your score. Well, fortunately, there are ways for you to check your score without risking any damage.

So how do I check my credit score?

There are three primary different routes to obtaining your score, and you can choose whichever one is most convenient for you:

  • Major Credit Reporting Agencies. Once a year, you can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies: EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion. The upside to this is that it is free and coming directly from the agency itself; the downside is that you do not actually get your score, just your report. However, this is a great way, among others, to check for errors in your report.
  • Credit Check Organizations. There are several organizations out there that will report your credit score for free—with no damage done to your number! Some of the most popular examples are Credit KarmaCredit Sesame, and NerdWallet. Not only can you check your score and your report, but these organizations also give you helpful pointers on how to improve!
  • Credit Card Company. Many times, when you open up a credit card with a financial institution (such as Bank of America, Chase, and Discover), you will be able to view your credit score for free. Some banks even report it once a month! Check with your credit card company to see if this benefit is offered to you.

While there are definitely many more methods and websites out there that allow you to check your credit score (for free or not), these three are the most common and most reliable way of doing so that are also free.

Once you check your credit score, you might sigh in relief, you might shrug, or you might cringe. If you feel that you need to improve your credit score, there are ways to do that, as well.

Gita Faust

About the Author

Gita Faust has over 30 years of accounting experience in the real estate and property management industry, Gita Faust is more than just a real estate investor; she is also popular for her work as an accountant, consultant, mentor, speaker, QuickBooks Top ProAdvisor, QuickBooks Solution Provider, member of Intuit’s Trainer/Writer Network, and, of course, author. Gita is well-known for her exemplary leadership and advisory skills. In fact, she even helped pioneer the adaptation of QuickBooks to suit the needs of professionals in real estate and property management. To share her knowledge she has written a series of courses titled Simplified Accounting Solution, which provides step-by-step guidance for those working with QuickBooks.

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