What is a Credit Score? How to Obtain for free

The time had come for me to get a new car. Now don’t get me wrong, my thirteen year old Lexus sedan still has some miles left in her.  She is affectionately known as my “vintage baby”, with special rattles and quirks with none of the bells and whistles of the newer models.  The chore of car shopping with the choices of models and makes was a bit overwhelming, but exciting none the less.  When the decision to lease my new midsize SUV was made, the salesman pulled out an application to fill out and across the application was a stamp stating the credit score necessary to apply for the lease was 740.  I was confident that I had a good credit rating, but was unsure exactly how this credit score was determined, so I researched to find out what a 740 credit rating really meant.

Credit scores are calculated by computer software containing a scoring model which in most cases is supplied by a credit bureau.  This score allows lenders to determine if the borrower will likely repay the loan.  The information contained in credit files helps to determine a person’s ability to obtain credit to facilitate the purchase of desired goods and services.  Credit bureaus maintain credit files and use the information therein to create credit reports which summarizes a person’s payment history.  The credit bureaus do not rate the consumer’s credit but merely provide a report about the consumer’s past payment history. Since credit bureaus handle such a large number of files, errors on credit reports can occur.  Therefore, it is important to make sure that your credit score is accurate.

The three largest credit bureaus are Equifax, Transunion and Experian.    There are also a number of sites on the internet that can provide you with your credit score.  It is a good idea to check occasionally to make sure that you are aware of your score.  There are also services such as Life Lock that not only monitors your credit but helps protect your personal information using a combination of data surveillance techniques and outstanding member service.  This is beneficial to credit fraud and will protect against someone trying to obtain credit in your name.

You can get a free credit report every 12 months by clicking below.

Request Credit Report

 

photo by: Andres Rueda

About Maureen Crimmins

Maureen Crimmins is co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management and a fee-only independent financial advisor. Have a financial question? ASK MAUREEN

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