Routinely checking both your credit score and your credit report is increasingly important these days. Between identify theft and more rigorous credit assessments for everything from AT&T demanding a larger security deposit for high credit risks to what rate you’ll pay for a car loan, if you’re not checking both of these routinely, you’re incurring risk and expense unnecessarily – especially since you can monitor/improve your standing for free. While you can get your credit report from free as mandated by the government at annualcreditreport.com, (don’t fall for the paid sites with similar names, it’s often not actually free when they’re through with you), there is no government mandated free credit score option. But you can get your credit score FREE – see below.
Why is Your FICO Score So Important?
The only widely accepted and utilized credit score in industry is the oft-cited FICO score. This score is compiled and provided to corporations for them to assess credit risk when determining what interest rate they should charge you. In effect, by having a lousy credit score, you’re likely incurring tens of thousands of dollars in additional interest payments over a lifetime regardless of whether you ever default on a loan. The only way to know if this is happening to you and whether you need to take immediate action to improve your credit score is to start by obtaining your score.
Why Prioritize This?
You should act today – This is a process that takes a few minutes but could save you thousands of dollars on your next loan. You never know when you’re going to have to up and move for a job and take on a new mortgage or if you get in a car accident tomorrow and need to buy a new car and finance the amount your insurance company didn’t cover.
How to Quickly and Easily Obtain Your Free FICO Score
You have to go to myFICO.com which is run by Fair Issac, the originator and owner of the FICO score model. Sign up for the Free 30-day trial of Score Watch and you have to provide some simple info like your name, address, DOB, and SS#. While you have to provide your credit card, you won’t actually be billed unless you decide to stay with your 30-Day Free Trial of Score Watch. This is a legit company, so you don’t have to worry about the same tactics some of the “free annual credit report” companies utilize to block you from canceling.
- Upon answering a few questions posed by the process, you get immediate access to your score and other key measures you’ll surely find useful like types of new credit, payment history, etc. and how your history is viewed by ratings agencies.
- A very cool feature as well is how they’ll tell you where your rate falls on a scale and what that means for a mortgage interest rate scale (great credit scores get the best rates and poor FICO pay much more).
- A Very, Very cool feature if you stay with it is that you can have myFICO actually update you in real time each time your credit score changes or hits a range you’re targeting. This could help inform when you should make a large purchase to save thousands in interest payments.
- Remember that 30 days of Score Watch are free and if you decide to to stay with the program, the cost will be $89.95 a year. Depending on whether you want just a one month peek at your credit or whether the auto-inform option suits you, you can opt whether the annual fee is worth it. It really depends on your situation.
- If you opt to cancel, it’s simple and quick – you can do so right from your account interface. No emails, phone calls, written notification. Simply do so through your account settings.
How my 800+ Credit Score Saved Me Thousands
I view this as one of those “High ROI” Financial activities that’s absolutely worth the couple minutes to complete. Having benefited tremendously from having good credit myself and getting a 4.625% mortgage rate (30 yr fixed conventional, no points!) and 0.9% finance rate from Honda when only the highest credit scores were being offered the best rate (car companies sometimes advertise a very low rate but most credit scores don’t meet the requirement and they get you to buy at a higher rate anyway), I can’t reinforce enough the benefits we’ve realized from having good credit. To find out where you stand and whether you need to take action on this, visit myFICO.com.
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