Your credit score is one of the most important numbers when it comes to your financial health. This score can be anywhere from 300 to 850, and the higher it is, the better off you’ll be whenever you need to borrow money.
Since there are a variety of factors that affect your credit score, it’s good to check your score periodically to see where it’s at.
This is especially true if you’ve recently taken any actions that resulted in a hard inquiry on your credit score, such as applying for a loan with a bank. Note that not all loan applications result in a credit inquiry.
For example, you could apply for all the car title loans online in the world without having any hard inquiries, because those lenders don’t check your credit score at all.
There are a few simple ways to check your credit score, which include:
- Using an app or website that offers credit score monitoring
- Seeing if your bank or credit card issuer has credit card monitoring
- Requesting your credit report
Here’s a closer look at how each of these work.
1. Using an App or Website
There are apps and websites out there that will show you your credit score when you sign up.
One popular financial app is Mint, which is excellent not only for keeping track of your credit score but also keeping track of where your money is going. Credit Sesame is one site where you can sign up and see your credit score without paying a dime.
Make sure you find an app or site that won’t charge you for this. The two options above are free.
2. Using a Credit Monitoring Service Offered by Your Bank or Credit Union
To provide better customer service, many banks and credit unions now provide free credit monitoring to all their account holders.
The exact process of checking your score will depend on the financial institution, but you can ask them about it by calling or emailing them.
Some of them will have basic credit monitoring available free of charge and more advanced credit monitoring available for a fee, but the former will be fine if you just want to check your score.
3. Request a Credit Report
Federal law requires each of the three major credit reporting agencies to send you a free copy of your credit report every year. These reporting agencies are:
This will give you the most accurate and detailed result since you’ll also be getting your full credit report. It takes a bit longer, though, and you can only get the report free from each agency one time each year.
All the above methods are simple and effective ways to find out what your credit score is without paying anything. Keep in mind that with credit monitoring services, including those mentioned in the first two methods, the services will typically provide you with your score from one of the reporting agencies but not all three.
There can be a difference between your scores. For example, if your bank shows you your Experian score, your Equifax and TransUnion scores may not be the same.
What are you doing to check your credit score for free? Share your thoughts and comments below.