There are many reasons you may want to check on your own credit scores. You may be applying for a mortgage or loan and want to see what the lender will be seeing before you apply. You may want to monitor your rating for identity theft. Whatever your reason is, it is important to know that you can get your credit score for but probably not for free.
The law requires that consumers be entitled to a free credit report once each year. The credit report is a record of all your borrowing and associated repayment history. The score that is assigned to this report however is not provided for free because the reporting agencies are not required by law to divulge that information to you. You can pay a fee to get that information.
A few companies have recently launched programs that allow consumers to get a glimpse of their credit score for free. Among them are Credit.com Inc., Credit Karma Inc.’s CreditKarma.com and Quizzle.com. They also can show you the factors that go into calculating the score, some things you can do to boost your score and how your score compares to others.
Since your credit score is used to determine the cost of things like cell phone contracts, insurance, interest rates and even employment in some cases, it is essential to keep tabs on your credit rating. You can contact any of the three major credit-reporting bureaus—Equifax Inc., Experian Group Ltd or TransUnion LLC to purchase your credit score. All three will provide you with a free credit report but to get the score will cost you about $8 at each agency.
If you elect to use the free sites, you can also get useful tips on how best to improve your credit score. For example, one site warns that closing a credit card account could cause the amount of available credit you’re using to increase and your score to go down. A better option, they suggest, is to leave the account open but cut up your cards so they can’t be used fraudulently.
In case you are wondering, when you get your credit score from one of these companies, they do not share or sell your private information with third parties. Your data may be combined as an aggregate with others to develop a comparison for others to see but none of your individual information is revealed.
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