5 Easy Ways to Check Your Credit Score

Irina Tsymbaliuk
Easy Ways to Check Your Credit Score

Whether you need a specific card or are interested in getting a personal loan, checking your credit score is an essential step in these processes. It will determine the types of services you can access, so checking for any issues or areas of improvement is a great strategy.

In this article, you will learn how to check your credit score, its purpose, and what to know before you do this.

Why Should You Check Your Credit Score?

Why Should You Check Your Credit Score

Some of the common reasons to check credit score regularly include:

  • Seeing exactly where you stand to be able to improve your financial health if needed;
  • Ensuring your score coincides with the information provided in your credit report;
  • Knowing exactly when your score becomes higher so you can check your eligibility for better cards, etc;
  • Consistent monitoring of the score allows you to see what hurts it and what improves it the most.

Finding out your credit scoring is considered a soft inquiry, so your score won’t be negatively affected. If you’re working on improving your finances, it’s wise to check your score roughly once a month.

Things to Know Before You Check Credit Score for Free

Things to Know Before You Check Credit Score for Free

First off, remember there’s a difference between your score and your credit report. A credit report is a comprehensive record of your credit history provided by one of the major bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. It doesn’t show your score, but the information it contains is used to calculate it.

Second, be aware that reports aren’t always perfect. They can contain mistakes or leave out essential details. So, before you look up your score, take a close look at your report to ensure everything is accurate and up to date.

The third thing to remember before checking your score is that there are two different credit scoring models used: VantageScore and FICO. Depending on which type you choose, your score can be different. Both of these types of credit scores prioritize your payment history as the most important factor, but additional factors hold different weights, so the obtained score varies.

5 Best Options to Find Out Your Credit Score

5 Best Options to Find Out Your Credit Score

The final question to answer is where to check your credit score. There are several options you can choose from.

Get a credit score from your financial institution

Depending on your bank, you may have access to scores from it. If you decide to get a loan statement from a loan company, you are also likely to see your score. A lot of modern financial institutions allow you to look up this information online, so you don’t even need to visit them in person.

Use a specialized website

One of the easy ways to get your credit score is to use a specialized website. There is no shortage of websites that allow you to check your score. In most cases, you need to sign up, and you will receive updates on your credit activity, which is convenient. Some such websites include Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, and LendingTree.

Contact a nonprofit credit counselor

Another option is to communicate with a credit counselor. This is a particularly great option for people who also need help paying off debt. You should make sure that the individual you contact is trained by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A counselor can give you guidance on how to manage debt and provide access to scores.

Request your score from credit bureaus

Another alternative to how to find out your score is through one of the main bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. You should keep in mind that these bureaus offer both paid and free monitoring services.

With Experian, you need to sign up for CreditWorksSM Basic to get a free FICO Score. Equifax offers the Equifax Core CreditTM program you can enroll in for the same purpose. TransUnion works slightly differently, as you can typically get their free score through their partner banks.

Get your score from a card issuer

Nowadays, more and more card issuers allow their customers to access credit scores, often right in their mobile apps. This is extremely convenient, so you should browse through your credit card account to see whether this option is provided.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of options for checking your credit score without paying, and it’s undoubtedly something you should do regularly. When you know your exact score, you can notice any possible errors and see why your score increases or decreases. You will also know what your lenders see. In this way, you will be informed about what services, loans, and credit cards you are eligible for.