There are certain tricks you need to know to get a one time credit score for free. While the Fair Credit Reporting Act guaranteed that consumers could get a their free annual credit report. They also began to regulate how that sensitive information could or could not be used and what information a credit agency could gather. As a result, what the industry has grown into is not exactly what was planned. Providing consumer credit scores and reports has turned into a multi-million dollar business.
Trying to get that totally free credit report now seems to get more and more people in deeper trouble as they discover that they have signed up for expensive credit monitoring services and other programs without intending too. There are numerous companies who make their monies by hooking people in with the promise of a free report but subscribing them to services as well.
What Your Credit Score Means In 2012
Your credit score is almost your life. Once you get on the credit path your history begins to build and build – the good and the bad. Oddly enough, the more of a credit line (money I owe) and the more consistent the payments, the better my credit score may be. If I am careful to pay cash for everything, my credit score will be poor as there is nothing to report. If I miss payments or default on payments, I will also receive a poor credit rating.
The following is a list of the credit score ranges and what they mean:
• 300 to 499 is a bad credit score
• 500 to 579 is a poor credit score
• 580 to 619 is a low credit score
• 620 to 679 is an average or OK score
• 680 to 699 is a good credit score
• 700 to 850 is a very good or excellent score
Your credit score affects more than just your ability to enter a payment arrangement for a car or other large ticket item (think mortgage) but nowadays, it can also affect your ability to get a job. Many employers are looking at credit scores when considering who to hire. Landlords are also using them as a way of determining who they rent to as well.
Finding out your score
There are three nationwide consumer reporting bureau’s: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All three of these credit rating agencies will provide you with a free annual one time credit report. You can contact them directly or use one of the clearance sites to access your report. The annual free report is only available from the main three reporting agencies and it may take a while to arrive. It can take three to six weeks for a report to arrive, although each offers an option where you can pay a small fee to have the report expedited.
Pay Options For Your Credit Score
You can also go to any independent consumer reporting site and pay to get your annual credit report immediately. It is a costly process but in some cases it is worth it. If you are needing your report in order to see if you can make an application, this is worth it. Every time someone else accesses your report it can bring it down a few points and you do not want other credit reviewers to see a recent history of credit applications – that just does not look good.
The only problem with paying for reports or choosing to only get your report from one agency is that all of them gather their information from different sources. There is really no one source that will provide you with a clear and whole picture of your score. Unless you pay to get your score from as many places as you can, you could still be surprised. You should also check the FAQs on the site of any pay for score service to see who they list as the source of their information, if it is not the nationwide three then you are probably not going to get your money’s worth.
Get it for Free and Stay Ahead of Everything
The credit rating agencies will give you your credit report for free once a year. This is all you need to stay on top of your credit history and make any repairs to it that are necessary as well as get any wrongly reported information off the report. Pay for Information agencies have their place, they can be invaluable in providing you with security monitoring of your credit score and credit history so you will be immediately aware of any suspicious activity.
The more involved you are with your credit report on a yearly basis, the better your score will be. Not just because you are better protected, but because you will be more aware of how different things affect your score. The best way to be prepared is to stay on top of the reality of the information that is available about you. While not everyone can access your credit report at will, the people who can – bankers, landlords, and employers need to see the right information.