Your credit score is a three-digit number that banks and other credit insitutions use to approve your applications for credit cards, loans, and other credit-based services. Utility companies, landlords, mobile phone providers, and even some hospitals also check your credit score. You should personally check it regularly, too.
It is important to know where you stand before applying for anything. Reviewing your credit score will give you an idea of your chances of getting approved and the kind of interest rates that you can expect. People with credit scores lower than 620 find it challenging to get applications approved and are often paying higher interest rates. Below are five ways to get your credit score, either purchased or access for free:
This is the only place where you can purchase your FICO score. Most lenders use this score and you can order your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
2. Credit bureaus
There are three credit bureaus and you can request an individual report from each of them. Just note that each credit bureau has its own credit scoring model. Do not expect your score to be the same across the board.
3. Free credit score websites
Several websites online provide free credit scores such as Credit Sesame, Credit Wise, and Credit Karma. Be careful when ordering your free credit score online. Never give your credit card number to anyone or other personal details.
4. Your credit card statement
Certain credit card issuers are participating in a new FICO service that allows cardholders to view their FICO scores for free. If your credit provider participates, you can see your report with your monthly statement.
5. Your rejection slip
Of course, this is not an ideal way to get a credit report, but lenders and credit card issuers are required to send a copy of the credit score used in a decision to either deny an application for credit or to approve the application. If your credit score plays a role in an unfavorable application, you’ll automatically receive the credit score along with other details on why your application was rejected. Review it and find ways to improve your score immediately!