I’ve got good news. There are more Americans checking their credit scores then there were just a few years ago. According to Bankrate and their Money Pulse survey, almost half of Americans (46 percent) have checked their credit score within the past year. This is up from the American Bankers Association 2013 survey that found only 42 percent knew their credit score.
This increase is partly due to the fact that many consumers are getting their credit scores for free. According to Bankrate’s survey, 41 percent reported receiving their most recent score—for free—on their credit card or bank statement and 15 percent used a free online credit score service. 13 percent of consumers said they bought their score from one of the 3 major consumer reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) and 6 percent obtained their score through a paid credit monitoring or identity theft service.
In an effort to provide an unprecedented level of transparency and help mitigate confusion, the Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) recently updated its credit scoring model to provide consumers with access to the 19 most commonly used versions of the FICO score from the 3 major consumer reporting agencies.
“We want to help people understand the scores lenders are actually using—FICO Scores—so they can become savvier consumers of credit products,” said Geoff Smith, FICO’s vice president for Consumer Scores.
Knowing and understanding your credit score is great, but it’s not enough. Having a 3-digit number in front of you will not tell you if there is an error on your report or if you are a victim of identity theft. That is why it is also very important to know how to check your credit report—and you can do so for free.
Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus every year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free reports. And if you stagger your requests, you can receive one free report three times a year.
After you obtain your free report, read what’s in your credit report carefully looking for errors. If you find any mistakes be sure to file a dispute with the credit bureau.
It’s important to monitor your credit health by knowing and understanding your credit score and checking your credit report—the good news is you can do it all for free.
A. Alliance Collection Agency, Inc. is a full service, licensed accounts receivable management and debt collection agency providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Founded in northern Illinois in 2005, we have been proudly improving the bottom-line on behalf of our business partners in and around Chicagoland for over 10 years.