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Don’t Be Scuured: Checking Your Credit Score

  March 4

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checking your credit scoreJust a few days ago, I got a little monitoring alert for my credit score, and holla! it rose by 15 points.

I’m not sure why I had a positive change, but my guess is that I am slowly paying down my student loans and might have increased my debt to credit ratio by getting a new credit card.

Either way, I’m grateful to know that my credit score is excellent, just like I’m grateful to know how much debt I have, how much the hubs’ med school costs, and how long it will take me to pay off my student debts.

Why am I grateful to know this information? After all, doesn’t adding up med school loans make me want to puke? Well, yes, but my only real answer to that is knowledge is power.

You can’t hide from your debt. You can’t hide from a low credit score. You can’t bury bills and expect them to go away.

You just gotta deal with them!

That’s the responsible thing to do. I was just chatting about credit scores with a good friend of mine, and he said to me, “But Cat I’m scared! I made some bad mistakes in the past. I don’t want to know my score.” I told him he had to haha.  Besides, we’ve all made money mistakes, some worse than others, but there’s no bigger mistake than not being aware of your finances.

Granted, many people are confused when it comes to understanding and monitoring their credit score. Knowing how to find your credit report is important and learning how to check it properly is even more important. Having this  knowledge can have a positive effect on your financial future and how you live your life. After all, if you ignore it, you might be prone to making more mistakes, and we don’t want all that!

Clearing the Confusion

Many people know about the three free credit reports most people in the United States can obtain each year but what these reports do not show is your credit score. While the other information is important, not seeing your credit score means you are only receiving a fraction of the story you need to know!

So, I use Credit Sesame to look up my credit score fo’ free! I use this and the hubs uses it so I can tell you that it’s legitimate and uses data from Experian to calculate your score. It’s not an official FICO score, but it will give you a ballpark figure. Plus, like I said in the intro of this post, they’ll also send you little notes while they are monitoring your credit – fo’ free!

Knowing in Time

Remember also that timing is everything when it comes to your credit score, and so you should check it a few times a year. The more you know about your credit score on a continual basis, the easier it will be to make solid financial decisions as the year goes by.

Plus, knowing your score can not only alert you as to how your actions are affecting your credit, but it can also let you know if you have been the victim of identity theft.

So, now that you know how to figure out your score, go on and pull up your bootstraps and go find it! Don’t be scuured. Like I said, we’ve all made mistakes in the past, and the first step to getting over the hurdle and making your way to financial success is knowing the number.

Do you check your credit score regularly?

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19 responses to “Don’t Be Scuured: Checking Your Credit Score

  1. I just checked my credit score last month and I was happy to see my opening of a couple credit cards had little effect on it : ) I think it’s really important to keep tabs on it, especially if you plan on applying for a car loan or mortgage anytime soon. The rates vary somewhat depending on your score, so you want to make sure it’s accurate and as high as possible.

  2. We monitor things like this all the time. When we knew my husband would be attending medical school we started budgeting, tracking our debt, and made it our goal to get debt free as soon as possible. It is a long road but we are determined to get there. I love checking my credit score too and trying to keep it as good as possible so that one day when we do go get a house and stuff like that we know we are prepared!

    I used CreditKarma.com and used to work in a bank and recommended it to everyone to be able to see their score. I always get one of my 3 free credit reports every 4 months or so.

  3. I use credit karma but have considered signing up for Credit Sesame as well I don’t care about my credit score too much but I like to monitor it to make sure that there aren’t any shenanigans going on! =)

  4. Definitely a good idea to check your credit score…I haven’t signed up for credit alerts but I might try that. I have free credit monitoring from Target because of the whole mess there. We tried to purchase a co-op and the seller rejected us because of some minor negative things in my wife’s credit report…late payments of $17 and $29…I need to sign her up for credit monitoring!

  5. I check my credit score about once a year, because the number isn’t all that important to me, as we have low debt, good payoff records, etc, so I know it’s going to be high- plus we don’t have any plans for big credit purchases coming up. I do watch my report more often to check for theft. BUT, I had never heard of credit sesame, so I’m definitely going to check it out. I can get on board with free.

  6. CreditKarma is good for seeing your score for free too. And definitely second checking your free reports. One of my mom’s accounts was listed on mine when I checked the first time and it was destroying my credit score. If I hadn’t seen the breakdown of accounts, I never would’ve known why the score was so low.

  7. Unfortunately for me, Credit Sesame is wildly inaccurate. Their model approximates the FICO model, but because there are millions of possible variables for a credit profile, it’s not necessarily going to be on point for everybody. It does pull accurate credit data–Experian as you note–but taking that data and molding it into a score isn’t an exact science. Mine is over 40 points off!

  8. I check my credit score at least monthly. It’s like stepping on the scale. You might be scared of the 3 digit number staring back at you, but it is important to keep that number in a health area, and the only way you can do that is to check on it.

  9. Hey there, Cat. I haven’t ever really monitored my score, but I’m curious. I’d specifically like to know what the real impact of our credit card churning would be on our FICO score. Would you consider keeping a Discover It card for the FICO score, or do you think it’d be better just to use a free service like Credit Sesame?

    1. Good question! I know a lot of people really like that Discover card for that reason. As someone else pointed out Credit Sesame might not be super accurate because they pull from Experian data and could vary from the FICO score. So, if you absolutely have to know the exact number, I’d stick with FICO. If you’re cool with knowing a ballpark figure like I am for now, then Credit Sesame or Credit Karma should be fine and get you close enough. 🙂

  10. Having a good credit score is vital if you are ever going to get a house or car or credit card, which is most people. I like how Discover and Barclaycard are offering free FICO scores with their statements. It;s probably overkill but I get to check my score twice a month now!

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