Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images
Did you request your free credit report(s)? If you requested by phone, then you may still be waiting for those reports to be delivered. While you’re waiting, you can view your credit score for free.
According to My FICO, the three types of FICO (which stands for Fair Isaac Corporation – the company that creates the software for the credit bureaus) credit scores from the three credit bureaus are: the Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model score from Experian, the EMPIRICA score from TransUnion, and the BEACON score from Equifax. I will share today how I get our Experian score for free.
What is a credit score? Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report. Having an accurate credit report with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion will give you accurate credit scores.
This score is determined from your past and current accounts to help lenders make a decision on extending credit to you. If you needed to open a credit card, line of credit, car loan, etc., then the company with which you desire to borrow money will ask to pull your credit score. Usually companies have a predetermined number to which they will extend credit.
Your score will increase and decrease in point value based on a number of items:
1. How many times your credit is checked? You can check it as often as you like without affecting your score. But each time there is a hard pull from a possible lender, you can lose up to 3 points. If you are looking for a lender, then only allow businesses you are seriously considering to pull your credit. This same principle applies to credit cards. Be sure you will use that Sears card before allowing the employee to pull your credit during the credit card application.
2. How many times you were late with a payment? Having a delinquent account will hinder your score. If you find errors on your credit report, then address them immediately with the creditor.
3. How long your oldest account has been active? Creditors like to see that you have accounts in good standing for long periods of time. Over ten years is a great goal. If you find that your oldest account is just lying around and not being used, then put it away safely. DO NOT CLOSE THAT ACCOUNT. You want to keep your oldest account open, active, and in good standing.
4. The debt owed to available credit ratio. Your score will increase if you have more available credit through your credit limits than you have debt. If you are considering closing an account that has a $10,000 credit limit, you might want to consider how closing that account will influence your credit score.
Though I am not an expert in this field, I have researched to find how to keep my finances in check. I am just sharing what I have learned along the way. My goal is to make sure my credit reports are accurate and that my credit score is in good, very good, or excellent status. In the event I need to refinance my home, I am already in a good financial position to move forward.
OK, enough about what the credit score is and why it is important . . . let’s get your credit score for free!
If you are following the schedule I use, then you may have requested an Experian report. Since I choose to request via telephone, I have to wait 2-3 weeks before the report is delivered to my mailbox. If you live in a neighborhood with mail theft, dislike paperwork, or prefer the immediate on-line version, then you could download your Experian annual credit report and credit score at the same time from www.Quizzle.com.
NEW INFORMATION ADDED on April 22, 2012: This Update on Quizzle article gives the most current information regarding requesting your free Experian score through Quizzle.
TIP: If you have already requested your report from www.AnnualCreditReport.com, then don’t request your credit report from www.Quizzle.com. You will be charged a fee since you already have one free report for the year.
SIDE NOTE: I am extremely careful with our social security numbers. So, I do not make a practice of giving out our numbers on-line or over the phone. However, if I have to give it, then I prefer over the phone. At a later time, I will share how I put passwords on our accounts to circumvent using our social security numbers for identification. Currently Quizzle is advertising no social security number required. You can make your own decision how to proceed. I am just passing along the information I have gained along the way.
What is Quizzle? Besides a funny sounding name, it is a free service to help you manage your money. In addition to providing your free Experian credit report and Experian credit score, you can also view a snapshot of your financial situation. I find it useful to see how we are doing and where we can improve.
Unlike your credit report, your credit score can be checked as often as you like. After you register with Quizzle, you will only need to log-in to check your score and overview of your accounts. This service is useful if you have already pulled your credit report for the year, and you closed an account.
You can see that your account was closed by pulling your credit report from a different agency (i.e. Equifax or TransUnion). Then you can see how your credit score was affected by logging into your Quizzle account. I really like the checks and balances that Quizzle helps me keep with our finances.
I first heard of Quizzle from Moolanomy’s post here. He gives a good explanation of the free service. I have registered with Quizzle, and I do get e-mail reminders and advertisements. (Remember, it is free).
How do I use Quizzle? I wait to use Quizzle until I have Paul’s Experian credit report in hand, and I review it for errors. When I am sure all the information is correct, then I log-in to Quizzle and choose “get my credit score.” The score will be generated immediately, and then I view, scan, and print it. I also review our big picture to see how we are doing.
ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Experian uses a 360-840 scale rather than the usual 300-850 scale. Most individuals will rank between 650 to 750, where 700 is good, 750 is very good, and everything above 800 is excellent.
Once I print the credit score and the overview, I staple them together, and place it behind Paul’s current Experian credit report. I then place both the credit report and the score paperwork into File Box #1, the front pocket labeled Credit Reports/Card documents. I then put the file away until the next credit report arrives.
Next week, I will share how I get our TransUnion credit scores for free as well!