Check My Credit Score
Knowing your credit score before you apply is one of the most important pieces in any credit application. Checking your credit score can help you apply to the right institution, get the best rate, lower your payment and assist in speeding up the approval process by educating you on which product to choose. We strongly advise you to identify your credit score before starting your application. If you already know your score than that is great too. You are one step ahead in the process and closer to obtaining your loan. We are here to assist you in all aspects of the loan process and truly believe that understanding your credit and your score is important when presenting yourself to possible personal loan lenders. When you know your score, you are sure to make the right decision.
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When you apply for a new credit card, loan or extension of credit, the potential lender will most likely check your credit report before making a decision. You should too. It is important to know your score the day of application and we also advise that you check your credit report several weeks or even months prior to making a large credit purchase.
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In simple terms, a credit score is a number that represents you and your ability to pay back loans to lending institutions like money lenders, credit card companies and banks. The higher your credit score, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to receive a loan when you ask for one. And conversely, the lower it is, like those with a 450 credit score, the more difficult it will be for you to convince potential creditors that you’ll be willing and able to pay back any funds they may lend you.
Your credit score is calculated by credit bureaus across numerous factors – like your current income, previous financial history, existing debt load, and even how the economy is doing.
There are plenty of situations in which someone will check your credit score. When you’re applying for a new apartment or home lease, getting a cell phone contract with a new carrier, signing up for local utility companies, looking for a new credit card or purchasing a new or used car – in all of these instances, it’s highly likely that your credit score will be taken into account.
If you’re planning to finance any large purchase, it’s a sure bet that the potential lender will take a close look at your credit score.
Your credit score can also determine the terms of any loan that you take out – including unsecured loans online – so if you have a lower credit score, you may pay a higher interest rate than people with higher credit scores.
It’s very easy to check your credit score, and many online companies even offer free credit reports. You’ll need to fill out a short application – often including personal information like your current income and job title, and even your Social Security Number, and you’ll receive a free credit report that details your current credit score.
Of course, different credit bureaus use their own algorithms to determine credit scores – so your credit score free or not, could vary depending on which bureau is being used.
You can check your credit score two times a year without any impact, as long as it’s you checking the score and not a lender. Having your credit score pulled multiple times is not a good idea because that can actually lower your score. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you’re planning to apply for financing for a large purchase – like a home, personal loan or car, plan to check your credit score before applying so you know where you stand.
If you’ve faced significant financial hurdles, you may want to work with a credit repair service, who will negotiate with creditors and address any issues resulting from identity theft on your behalf.
There are many reasons why it’s good to keep track of your credit score – the biggest being the risk of identity theft. If someone has stolen your identity and started opening accounts and borrowing money in your name, this will show up on your credit report, resulting in lower scores and harming your ability to attain a loan in the future. By keeping an eye on your credit score, you’ll be in a better position to catch this kind of activity before it really harms your financial situation.
Generally speaking, you have really good credit if your credit score range is between 700-800. The higher your score, the better your chances of receiving a loan with good terms.
Everyone’s financial situation and history are different, but here are some common items that can impact credit scores:
- how much credit you’re already holding
- existing payment history, including any late payments
- overall debt
- bankruptcy and tax liens
- numerous applications for new lines of credit
A golden rule of good credit is to always, always pay your bills on time. (If possible, set up automatic payments on all your accounts so you never fall behind.) Monitor how much credit you have access to versus how much debt you are carrying. This is called the ‘Credit Utilization Ratio’, and ideally, it should be below 30%.
If your ratio isn’t yet at 30%, there’s a couple of things you can do to get closer to that number and, in time, improve your credit score. Commit to paying off your credit card debt. As much as you can, you want your credit card balances to be as low as possible, or at zero, ideally. Although it seems counterintuitive, don’t close your credit accounts once you’ve reduced the balance to zero – that will reduce the amount of credit you have access to, and impact your ratio. Keep the account open, even if you don’t plan on using anymore. (And if it’s too tempting, cut up the card!)
Credit monitoring – whether self-monitoring or through an automated service – looks for potentially harmful actions like new accounts, or new addresses that could indicate identity theft. This type of incident – even if you’re not at fault – can show up on a credit score check. If you’ve had previous trouble with identity theft, or have discovered errors on your credit report, this may be something you want to look in to.
Improving your credit score takes time. Creating a clear financial plan, including a monthly budget, can help you address the issues that are lowering your credit score without overwhelm. First, pay down – or better yet, pay off – your remaining credit balances and don’t add to them. Pay all your bills on time. Keep old credit accounts open, but don’t use them.
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