Whether you want to buy a car or buy a house, your credit score is going to be analyzed and taken into consideration before you’re approved for any loans. Before you apply for a line of credit, you should be familiar with your credit score. But how and where can you find it?
Find Your Score Online
It’s at lot easier to get your credit score these days. Once upon a time, you had to pay $20 and order a report from Fair Isaac Co., the creators of the FICO credit score. Now, you can get a free credit report every year; all you have to do is request a free report at websites like CreditKarma.com, Credit.com, and AnnualCreditReport.com. Your results will consist of three reports from major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
In order to retrieve your credit score, these sites will need your social security number. Make sure that you are on a safe, encrypted page before submitting your personal information; look at the address bar of your web browser, and look for a green lock icon. If you click on the icon, you can see the security details of your connection. You should also be wary of websites that ask for your credit card information. These sites may try to sign you up for a service or a product you don’t want to pay for.
Finding Your FICO Score
Although these websites make your credit score easy to obtain, you won’t get an official FICO credit score from them. Why is a FICO credit score so important? Almost every lender looks at your FICO score. You may be wondering where to find a FICO credit score. Good news! Many credit card companies send customers their FICO score on the bottom of their paper credit card statements. Some will even provide a brief report along with the statement.
Discover and Barclays cardholders were the first to enjoy this perk. Citi cardholders, Bank of America cardholders, and Chase Slate cardholders will be able to get a free FICO score with their statements as well. Some credit card companies or banks will let their customers request their FICO score every year. Aside from your credit card statement, you can also find these scores on these credit card websites.
Understanding Your Score
Now that you know how to get your credit score, you should be able to understand it. Let’s analyze a FICO credit score, as it will most likely be the score used by a lender. First off, a credit score can range between 300 and 850; a score over 750 is considered to be excellent. A score in the 600s is fair, and you might encounter difficulty when you’re applying for a line of credit. A score under 500 is bad and needs improvement. Unhappy with what you saw? Your credit score changes every month, and it’s not unusual for it to fluctuate by 10-20 points between the months. You can improve your credit score by avoiding new lines of credit, paying down your outstanding debts, and making every payment on time.