Your credit score tells potential lenders whether you constitute a significant financial risk. Knowing your credit score allows you to apply for credit in a strategic fashion and helps you keep track of your success as you build a healthy financial life.
If you don't know your credit score, you don't know whether your current efforts are making a difference. Fortunately, there are several ways to check your credit score.
Sign Up for a Free, Third-Party Service
Consider creating an account with Web sites like Mint.com. They allow you to check your credit score from the credit bureau through which they partner. For example, one service might display your Experian score, while another offers your TransUnion score.
Request Your Score From a Lending Institution
If a lending institution, such as a credit card company or loan center, denies your application for credit, ask them for your credit score. They must comply if they used your score to make their decision, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Purchase Your Credit Score
Credit reporting agencies, such as Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) allow consumers to purchase their credit scores. This might satisfy your curiosity, but it makes little financial sense. Since you have the right to access your credit report at least once per year for free, rely on that data to protect yourself.
Ask Your Bank or Lender
Some banks and lenders allow customers to check their credit scores for free. Find out whether a credit card issuer or the bank where you keep your checking account offers this service. You might have to sign up for online banking to access it.
Checking your credit score allows you to stay on top of your financial progress. Sign up for Mint today to learn your score and to manage your spending habits.