This post may contain affiliate links. Check out the disclosure page to learn more.
Ask the closest person to you what their credit score is and there's a 60% chance that they have no idea! I like to view the credit score as more of a financial GPA or report card. That along with your actual credit report lets lenders know the likelihood of you paying back or defaulting on some sort of loan or line of credit. That why it is absolutely imperative that you keep track of your score and credit history.
Check that Report
Many of you may not know that everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year. The Federal Goverment makes this a requirement of the 3 credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You can get your free credit reports from each of the bureaus above here. Keep in mind you can only pull your reports for free once every 365 days, not every calendar year. So if you pull your reports Dec 1st 2015, you couldn't pull it again March 1st 2016; you'd have to wait until Dec 1st 2016. You also aren't required to pull all 3 at the same time. If you're thinking of buying a house a year from now and want to track you history up until purchase date; you can pull from one bureau every 4 months.
I 'll go through some of the information found on the TransUnion credit (they all generally have the same information - just structured differently).
At the top it'll show your personal information: name(s), address, telephone numbers, birthdate, redacted SSN, and date the report was pulled. Then it gets into the accounts that show up on your credit report. The types of acconts shown could include utilities, mortgages, credit cards, car loans, personal loans, etc. It provides details on the type of account, date account opened/closed, status of the account (late, current, collections, repo, foreclosure), and the balance.
After the accounts section, comes the inquiries. Transunion reports three types of inquiries; regular, promotional and account review inquiries.
Unfortunately, the feds do not require the credit bureaus to provide you with your credit scores. Gotta come out of pocket for these. Each of the bureaus have different score ranges; 300-850 for TransUnion, 360-840 for Experian, and 280-850 for Equifax. Obviously, the higher the better. Each bureau scores you on the same factors:
I've pulled my reports for the year and am targeting some accounts I need to pay down to improve my debt-to-asset ratio making me a more desirable borrower. Don't need any road blocks on the path to financial freedom when I'm applying for busines loans or rental financing.
So who's going to be responsible and check their credit history? It'll help you in the long run!
FYI: I'm not a financial professional so be do the right thing and consult with someone a lot smarter than me before making large financial decisions.
Need a good read? Find One here.