Each year you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). Reviewing the reports is a smart idea to make sure your information is in order and their are no mistakes. Order your free report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Note: Credit scores are not provided on the free reports and must be ordered and paid for separately.
What is a Credit Score?
A credit score is different from your credit reports. According to Wikipedia, a credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information typically sourced from credit bureaus.
Who Checks Your Credit Score?
Your credit scores and reports are constantly evaluated. Here are a few examples.
- Lenders want to assess the risk of loaning money to you and the likelihood of you making payments
- Credit card companies check your score when you sign up for their offers.
- Home and auto insurers review your score to assess risk before insuring you.
- Utility companies check your credit as well because many people forget to pay their bills and eventually have their utilities turned off.
- Employers want to know you better by exploring your financial track record.
- Landlords want to insure you have a solid payment history before letting you rent from them.
What Causes Your Credit Score to Decrease?
Do you know what causes your credit score to decrease? A lot of people don’t, which is why their credit score isn’t in good shape. If you know what causes it to decrease, you can take steps to improve it or avoid the below most common examples.
- Payment History – Your credit score can drop by more than 100 points for just a few missed payments. Repairing it takes time and consistent on-time payments.
- Amount Owed – Too much debt can hurt your score. It’s best to pay off your cards each month.
- Level of New Debt – Signing up for too many credit cards in a short period can hurt your score.
- Closing Accounts – Don’t close your accounts before they’re paid off. Also, consider cutting up credit cards and leaving the account open.
- Length of History – Long standing and healthy accounts helps your score the most. It’s not wise to open a card and close it after a few years even if it’s in good standing.
- Fines – Your score can be impacted if for example, a parking ticket, is turned over to collection agencies. Deal with fines and tickets timely.
- Bankruptcy – A bankruptcy does the most damage and stays on your report for many years. It shows you couldn’t make your debt payments.
At the very least you should get your credit free credit reports each year from AnnualCreditReport.com. If you want more peace of mind, you can consider signing up for a service, such as GoFreeCredit.com, that provides your credit scores and credit monitoring that alerts you of changes to your credit report and any suspicious activity.
FEATURED Free Credit Score Service
GoFreeCredit.com - Go Free Credit.com is a revolutionary new site which gives you instantaneous access to all three of your credit scores along with complete credit monitoring and 24/7 access to your information. Go Free Credit.com offers a 7 day free trial to check out their services. After the trial ends you’ll be automatically enrolled into the program and charged a standard rate of $19.95 a month with the option to cancel at any time.
- Information from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian
- Your updated credit scores can be accessed anytime online
- Credit monitoring & alerts
- See your 3 updated free credit scores online instantly
Get Your Credit Scores
We’ve provided a number of other services to consider in addition to our featured credit score service. Make sure you visit the website of any services you’re interested in learning more about and research them thoroughly before signing up.
Free Credit Score.com - Want to stay on top of your credit. With this site you’ll have access to credit score alerts, the credit score center and a credit score estimator. Immediately find out whenever your score has changed. Learn how your credit score is calculated and what impacts it. Discover the secret to planning ahead, the best time to try for loans and how loans may affect your credit. It is easy to get started with Free Credit Score.com! Just go to the home page and fill out your info to start your free 7 day trial. If you don’t decide to cancel the new membership within the trial period, you’ll be charged $14.95 a month for as long as you continue.
Credit Report.com - Credit Report.com is known for offering fast, secure and reliable credit data. Keep your credit protected using their state of the art 24-7-365 monitoring tools. Using these tools will help you to keep an eye on the well being of your credit. If your report ever changes you’ll receive an alert by email and have the opportunity to spot errors and learn how to take action in correcting them. To get started with your free 10 day trial, just visit the home page and sign up. If you decide not to cancel within 10 days then you’ll be charged $12.95 per month until you cancel.
Credit Karma - Becoming part of Credit Karma is easy, fast and best of all 100% free. No credit card is required and there is none of those trial period offers that those other companies offer. On Credit Karma you’ll have access to your credit score for free anytime you want it. You’ll also be able to take advantage of their numerous tracking tools to better help you understand and protect your credit. Learn how to save money with a personalized debt management recommendation based on your finances.
TransUnion - TransUnion is one of the three major credit bureaus used by most financial institutions. Take advantage of their comprehensive credit help center and learn more about protecting and improving your credit. You’ll get your free credit score instantly by just filling out a few simple forms and signing up for the 7 day trial. If you decide not to cancel within 14 days you’ll be charged $14.95 a month going forward.
Equifax - Equifax is another one of the top three major credit bureaus used by the majority of financial institutions. They offer scores and reports from all three credit bureaus along with a variety of monitoring tools and identity protection. Equifax is currently offering an introductory rate of $4.95 for the first month. At the end of the 30 day period you’ll automatically continue at a standard rate of $16.95 per month unless cancelled.
Credit Sesame - Credit Sesame is the easiest way to manage not only your credit but also build your wealth. Manage your debt, credit and loan payments all in one centralized location. Have access to your free credit score each month, and get loan rates specifically tailored to you. Credit Sesame offers you all of these services for free with no credit card required.
Identity Guard - Offers the #1 rated identity theft protections service available. Their total protection program includes all three credit scores, credit monitoring and report updates. They also offer lost wallet protection, SSN and address monitoring, along with $1,000,000 ID theft insurance. Signing up is simple and their offering a free two week trial. After the two weeks are finished you will be charged a monthly rate of $17.99.