How To Understand Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? Do you know how to get your credit score? Do you know what information makes up your credit score? Do you know the defining line between good credit and bad credit? Do you know why companies check your credit score? These are just some of the questions about credit scores that most average consumers don’t have the slightest idea how to answer. Your scores are not included for free in the free credit reports from all 3 bureaus system.

Most people understand that credit checks or inquiries made on your credit history are done to give companies or lenders an idea of how risky you are as a potential borrower. A higher credit score, for instance, indicates that the consumer knows how to manage their credit and is less of a liability as a borrower than someone with a low free credit score government.

What is actually on your credit report? Although each credit reporting agency usually formats their information differently, all credit reports contain the same information: Your identifying information (name, address, social security number, etc…). Your trade lines, which are credit accounts like bankcards, auto loans, and mortgages; when you opened the accounts and information like payment history. Also included are your public record and collection items, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens and judgments. And finally, credit inquiries, both voluntary and involuntary, as made by lenders after you’ve applied for a loan, or when they make you a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.

So how do you get your credit score? An online search for “Free credit score” will turn up hundreds of sites that you can use to get your credit score. However, not all of them are actually free. Most require you to pay to get your report, or you have to subscribe for a credit monitoring service that charges monthly fees straight out of the gate. The federal government now requires that consumers be able to attain a free credit score report each year. But if you have bad credit and want to monitor your progress in trying to fix it, then a site that regularly monitors your credit score and sends you updates might be a better choice for you.

Why should you know your credit score? For starters, it’s the best way to know where you stand for things like obtaining gainful employment, being able to open a bank account, getting great deals on credit cards… etc. Knowing your credit score let’s you know what lenders are usually thinking, and what kind of interest rates you are likely to get in the event you need to take out a loan, or for a mortgage, or on financing to buy a car. The higher your credit score, the better the deal. As your credit score gets lower, more obstacles begin to stand in your way, like premium interest rates and not getting approved for credit cards.

When it comes to credit scores, most people don’t really know what’s what. It’s easier to wreck a good credit score than it is to build up a better one, but obtaining a free credit report is the first step in understanding your credit and either staying on the same path of great credit history, or trying to work towards a better credit score. In the long run it saves you money, and if you have bad credit it will definitely help alleviate the stress of having to pay higher premiums on interest rates or being unsure whether or not you’ll be approved for credit in the future.

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