Hi everyone! As you regulars know, I don’t usually post on Sundays, but on the odd occasion, I sometimes publish a guest post. Today’s is about how to stay on top of your credit rating without forking over money to do so. I hope it’s helpful to you!
How to Keep Up With Your Credit – The Frugal Way
Credit is getting more and more important these days. If you want to rent an apartment, have utilities turned on, or get a cell phone contract, the company is going to check your credit. They check to see if you’re going to keep up with your payments every month. The thing is, if you’ve had credit problems in the past, they can make you pay more for utilizing their services. For example, if you have a bad credit score, some utility companies will charge an extra deposit before you can get services turned on.
A brief lesson on how credit checks work: Some companies check your credit report. That’s a document that has all the information about your credit cards, loans, and any past due account that went to a collection agency. Other companies check your credit score, which is a number that sort of grades your credit report. Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850, with higher scores being better.
You can check your credit anytime, but many websites charge you to check your credit report and your credit score (up to $15 to purchase your score and report from a single credit bureau, of which there are three major ones). Forget about signing up for one of those credit monitoring services that run you from $10 to $30 per month.
You have to be careful about websites (like FreeCreditReport.com and FreeCreditScore.com) that say they’re free but ask you to put in a credit card number. These websites really just want to hook you in, sign you up for a free trial, and hope you forget to cancel the trial so they can charge your credit card every month.
Here are some free ways to check your credit report and your credit score:
AnnualCreditReport.com – The government requires each of the three major credit bureaus to give you one free credit report each year, but you have to go through this website to get it. You don’t have to enter your credit card number to get a credit to get it, just your social security number.
Quizzle.com – Here you can access a copy of your credit report and credit score once every six months. You don’t have to enter your credit card number. You don’t even have to enter your social security number!
CreditKarma.com – This website lets you access your credit score, your VantageScore (a credit score developed by the three credit bureaus), and your Insurance Risk score (used by insurance companies to decide your insurance rate). Credit Karma is free, no credit card required, but they do ask for your social security number. You can view your scores as many times as you want for free.
Your bank may offer some type of credit monitoring. Check to see if this is available for your account. But, make sure free is really free – no strings attached and no cancellation required.
Even if your bank doesn’t have a credit monitoring, the other options can help you stay on top of your credit report and credit score throughout the year without ever having to pay any money. How’s that for awesome?