Many people know what their credit score is at least once a year. Is that enough, though? The reality is that you need to know on an ongoing basis. It’s time to check my credit score – and this shouldn’t be an annual reminder to yourself.
How Often Your Credit Score Can Change
Did you know that your credit score can change from month to month? Depending on what it is that you’re doing, you can see small changes on a monthly basis. The goal is to check my credit score enough to see a trend. If it’s going down by a few points each month, you need to get it under control. If it’s going up by a few points each month, you’re doing something right.
Establishing your credit will actually take less time than if you have to repair your credit. If you’ve never had credit, you can expect it to take about six months. Meanwhile, if you’ve dealt with bankruptcy or foreclosure recently, it may take up to 10 years to fix it to an acceptable score.
Considering that your credit score can change on a monthly basis, it’s good to know when it’s changing. This way, you can do something about it right away. Otherwise, you run the risk of it getting so low that it takes longer to make the needed improvements.
The Benefits of Monitoring Your Credit
Credit monitoring allows you to learn more about your credit and credit score throughout the year. While the credit score is important, your credit report can tell you a number of other things, too.
What if there’s an account showing up on your report that isn’t yours? What if you have a credit card company reporting late payments when you always pay on time? These are issues you need to be aware of. The sooner you learn about them, the sooner you can address them.
Regular credit monitoring allows you to learn about errors. It also allows you to find out if you’re experiencing any kind of identity theft. If you don’t catch these kinds of things quickly, they have a tendency to spiral out of control. It’s one of the reasons why you should be proactive. Check my credit score – definitely, but focus on active credit monitoring at the same time.
Essentially, regular monitoring of your credit score and credit report will tell you if there’s activity happening on your credit. Such things include:
- Hard inquiries, identifying someone in your name is applying for accounts
- New accounts that have been opened in your name
- Name changes or address changes
- Balances and payments being made on balances
- Bankruptcies and other records that affect public records
All of these things are important – and it’s best for you to know about what’s happening monthly rather than to pull a credit check once a year and learn that dangerous activity has been happening for months and months. Some issues are red flags, and with a call to your bank or the reporting bureau, you can resolve many issues that may present themselves.
Know When to Apply for a Loan or Other Things
Why check my credit score? You may be working hard to get your credit score to what’s considered to be good. A “good” score can depend on what it is that you want to do, but you should be looking at a score of 650 or 700 to avoid issues.
As soon as your credit score reaches an acceptable number, you may be ready to move forward on buying a car, a house, or even applying for a line of credit. Whatever it is, you want to know when you reach the number you’ve been working so hard to get to.
If you’re only checking your score once a year, you may be waiting months longer than necessary. Especially if having better credit can help you save money by taking action, you don’t want to wait longer than you have to. Think about it – buying a house can be cheaper than renting. Even getting a credit card with a better credit score can help you achieve a lower interest rate.
Utility companies, landlords, credit card companies, and others reward higher credit scores. It can save you from having to put down a deposit or it can help you save a few points on your interest rate. Either way, when you finally have a respectable credit score, you want to know about it right away.
Take Control of Your Financial Future
The only way for you to be in full control of your financial future is to know what’s on your credit report. How do I check my credit score? That is the question you should be asking. There are free options out there, so you have no reason not to know your score – and you should never have to pay to find out.
Your credit score is part of who you are. Know what makes up your credit score so you can always be improving it. Until you reach the highest score possible (FICO 850), you can improve. Your payment history, the amount you owe, the length of your credit history, the mix of credit types you have, and even new credit are calculated to establish your score.
Checking your score monthly is the only way to identify issues. By using alerts and more, you can stay on top of what’s happening. It allows you to do something about the drops in your score and celebrate the increases.
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