Here is a must-have New Year’s resolution – get a copy of your credit report and score! If you’ve ever tried to take out a loan, buy a car, or even apply for a job, you know that your credit score determines what opportunities are available to you. Companies don’t just judge your financial health by your credit score, they also judge your reliability as a person: people with bad credit don’t make good impressions on their potential employers, landlords, or mortgage companies.
Having good credit will save you money in the long run. Not only will you have access to the opportunities you want, you will be eligible lower interest rates. A low interest rate on a home mortgage has the ability to save you thousands of dollars during the life of the loan.
What affects your credit score?
- Payment history, including late payments or delinquency
- Length of credit history; the longer you’ve had established credit, the better your score
- Total debt. The more debt you owe for credit cards, loans, or outstanding bills, the worse the impact on your score can be
- Lines of credit. If you have several loans or credit cards active at one time, that will negatively impact your score
If you don’t know your credit score, you should take the time to obtain a free credit report. You can easily obtain it by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – the only government authorized distributor of free Credit reports. You can certainly obtain your credit report from other sources, but it may not be free. Sometimes they claim to offer “free” credit reports at other sites, but they catch you in the fine-print and often you will end up enrolled in a credit monitoring service or some other service that you didn’t realize you were signing up for! Also, it’s important to realize that your free yearly credit report will not contain your credit score. The credit score can easily be obtained for a small fee, but you will have to pay for it.
When looking at your report, it’s important to look for errors and mistakes. There may be inaccurate information on the report from identity theft or mistaken reporting. Or, your credit may have been damaged more by debt than you realized. How can you ever start repairing your credit score if you don’t know what it is? With the ease of checking your credit online, there’s no reason not to get a credit report right now; it’s the first step to securing your financial future.