You have applied to one of the three bureaus that provide free credit report, but you still don’t know how to get that crucial number (credit score) that is the deciding factor for all your credit applications?
Well, none of the free credit reports from these three bureaus (EquiFax, TransUnion and Experian) provide you with the credit score. They just provide you with the list of credit accounts or loans that you have taken and the public information as regards your credit, like monetary judgments, bankruptcies etc. But what you really need to know while applying loans is your credit score. It is even more critical when the credit score is limiting your ability to receive credit.
Here it is important to mention that there are various types of credit scores that are being used by the lenders for the purpose of checking the credibility of a borrower:
- You have the FICO score from Fair Issac Corporation. This is the score that is most prevalent and most people generally refer to FICO score when talking about credit scores.
- VantageScore is a score (or a scoring mechanism) that was developed by the three credit reporting agencies (EquiFax, TransUnion and Experian) in order to counter the FICO score and create a new revenue stream for them.
- Scores offered by each of the credit reporting agencies.
It’s relatively easy to get your credit scores and check your financial health. There are different sources that provide the credit score and these can be obtained through email, over the telephone or posted through US mail. However, unlike credit reports, you do not get credit scores for free (except when you have applied for credit and the lender provides you the score that they have in turn obtained). You will also be asked to prove your identity by providing your social security number. This is to ensure that the financial information is not being bungled by any other person.
Given below are some recommended sources to get your credit scores:
1. Annual Credit Report Service: This has been established by the Congress to enable consumers to get their credit score from the reporting agencies.
2. You can check credit scores online through MyFico.com: The consumer Internet site of Fair Issac Corporation which developed the FICO Score.
4. Mortgage lenders: If you were wondering how to check credit score for free, this is one source from which you can get it for free if you have applied for a mortgage loan. The lenders in turn, get the scores from one of the other sources.
While it is relatively easy to get your credit score from any of the reporting agencies, it is strongly recommended that you review your free credit report before obtaining your score. You should do a thorough review of your credit report and ensure that it contains correct information with regards to your credit accounts, the credit limits on your accounts, payment information and other information e.g. bankruptcy, settlements etc. You must also be aware that some information should go away from your credit report after a certain period of time e.g. bankruptcies should go away from the report after 10 years. In case of any discrepancies, you must immediately get them corrected through the creditor/agency.
Though the credit score may not have any immediate importance for you but it certainly becomes the most important figure when you really need credit. So it is prudent to keep it checked and corrected so that you don’t lose out on your urgent needs of loans or other credits.
Also note that credit score is only a snapshot of your credit information at a particular point of time and can change at over a period of time depending on your financial transactions. You should recognize this fact and ensure that you avoid things (e.g. late payments) that would harm your credit score. However, note that even a small mistake (e.g. missed payment) can harm your credit score to an extent where it would take a few months to get it back to the previous level.