Checking your credit score is an important step when managing your finances. Even if you’re paying your bills on time and being careful with your debt, it still pays to be vigilant. Credit fraud does happen at an alarming rate, so make sure to check your credit score as it is the best way to catch problems early.
In addition, knowing your credit score is essential to making smart money decisions. If you’re looking to make a big purchase in the near future, like buying a home or a car, you need to make sure your credit score is in top shape. Luckily, you can easily check your credit score for free.
In this guide, we’ll break down how to not only check your credit score for free, but also how to fix any errors you might find along the way. Let’s get started.
What is a Credit Score?
First, you need to understand what your credit score is. Your credit score, also known as a credit rating, is a number that describes your creditworthiness. A higher credit score means you’re more likely to repay your debts on time, whereas a lower score might indicate you’ve experienced debt problems in the past.
e is. Your credit score, also known as a credit rating, is a number that describes your creditworthiness. A higher credit score means you’re more likely to repay your debts on time, whereas a lower score might indicate you’ve experienced debt problems in the past.
Your credit score is calculated by considering all of the things on your credit report, such as open lines of credit, amount owed, and your payment history. It sums up all of this information into a single number, and knowing this number can help you make improvements or know if you’re eligible for new lines of credit.
How to Check Your Credit Score
Now it’s time to talk about the best way to check your credit score and credit report. Through the major credit bureaus, you’re eligible for a free copy of your credit report every year. In addition, through Equifax, you can get another credit report within 90 days of a rejected credit application. Other credit reports might require you to pay to receive your report if you’ve already made a request within a year.
Where to check your credit score and credit report:
For your full credit report, you will likely need to provide your full name, address, date of birth, any previous addresses, and a driver’s license number. Your credit report will then be mailed within 10 days.
Use an Online Provider for a Score Estimate
If you want to get your credit score more frequently, you can actually use an online score estimator. A number of online providers will pull information from credit reporting agencies to provide a reliable measure of your credit rating. Because your credit score is dynamic and always changing, it’s worth reviewing it regularly.
Free online credit score providers:
Why Check Your Credit Score?
Why should you bother checking your credit rating at all, let alone checking regularly? In essence, your credit score is important to your overall financial health. It influencers how much credit lenders are willing to give you as a borrower, and also it shows if you’re a financial risk.
More importantly, checking your credit rating can help protect you from becoming a victim of fraud. When checking your credit report, you can see if any enquiries and listings weren’t made by you. When criminals steal your identity, they often will attempt (or succeed) to take credit out in your name.
If you’re able to identify any cases of fraud early, you will have more options for eliminating this incorrect history from your report. It pays to be vigilant about your own financial wellness.
When exactly should you check your credit report?
- At least once a year
- Before applying for a loan
- Anytime you suspect your personal information might have been stolen
What to Do if You Find an Error?
There are a lot of errors that can appear on your credit report or within your credit score. You might find things that are inaccurate, out-of-date, or even fraud. Things might not be listed correctly, there could be duplicates, or your repayment record could be incorrect.
If you do notice an error, don’t panic. You can request to have this changed for free as long as you can prove the information is incorrect. If the information is false, out-of-date, incomplete, or fraud, it is relatively easy to change these listings.
The first thing to do is to get in contact with both the institution who incorrectly listed the error as well as the credit reporting agency. All credit agencies have contact pages where they explain what to do in the case of an error, and sometimes it’s as simple as submitting all the evidence.
In addition, you should talk to your credit provider. They might quickly solve the problem on your behalf. If you’re unable to reach an agreement with your credit provider, you can escalate the issue by going to the provider’s external dispute resolution scheme. In the past, this was usually the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO). Now, all financial services complaints are dealt with by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
Once the errors have been resolved, you should see your credit score updated soon. Keep an eye on it to ensure everything runs smoothly. Your credit report has all of your personal information, so it’s worth making sure this information is correct. If you’re worried about credit problems, set up credit alerts through credit agencies to ensure you’re always notified if a problem occurs.
Be Smart About Your Credit Score
#Now that you know how to check your credit score for free, there’s no reason not to know your financial standing. You’ll need your credit score to open lines of credit, so be sure to stay on top of it frequently.
Once you know your credit score, you can create a plan for improving it or maintaining it depending on your needs. If you need help getting started with a financial plan based on your credit score, contact the friendly money experts at Debt Busters on 1300 368 322. We can help you put your credit score to work so it takes your financial goals even further.