Whether you’re looking to build, improve, or maintain your credit score, having a sense of where you currently stand is a good place to start. So how exactly can you do that? Here are a few ways you can check your credit reports and scores to get a better picture of your credit health.
How to check your credit reports:
Request a free report from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Federal law requires each of the three main credit reporting agencies to provide you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. You can visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to request a free copy of your credit report.
According the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you can request additional reports if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You received a notice that you were denied credit, insurance, or employment or experienced another “adverse action” based on a credit report, you have a right to a free report from the credit reporting company identified in the notice. To get the free report you must request it within 60 days after you receive the notice. Other types of “adverse action” notices you might receive include notice of an unfavorable change in the terms or amount of your credit or insurance coverage, or unfavorable changes in the terms of your employment or of a license or other government benefit.
- You believe your file is inaccurate due to fraud.
- You have requested a credit report from a nationwide credit reporting company in connection with the placing of an initial fraud alert (you may request two free copies for an extended fraud alert).
- You are unemployed and intend to apply for employment within 60 days from the date of your request.
- You are a recipient of public welfare assistance.
- Your state law provides for a free credit report.
Through April 2021, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are all offering free weekly credit reports to help your protect your credit during COVID-19.
Contrary to popular belief, your credit report typically does not include your credit score. While this will give you a good understanding of your credit situation and is the basis from which your scores are calculated, to see your actual score, follow the instructions below.
How to check your credit scores:
Use a credit score service or free credit scoring site.
There are several sites that allow you to monitor your credit score on a regular basis, either for free or for a monthly fee. Be sure to pay attention to the terms and conditions before signing up.
Get your credit scores directly from a credit reporting agency.
Through April 2021 You can purchase your scores directly from one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion), or another provider, such as FICO.
Check your credit card or loan provider.
Some credit card companies and lenders provide their customers with free access to their credit scores, either through their monthly statement or online banking tools. Check your account or contact your lender to see if this option is available. Please note: Salary Finance does not provide this service at this time -- but it’s coming soon!
Contact a nonprofit credit counselor.
Many credit counselors are able to pull scores for you for free and walk through what they mean. A credit counselor is a certified professional who can review your financial challenges and goals, and help you put together an actionable plan to conquer debt, make a budget, and improve your overall financial health. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has resources available to help connect you with a credit counselor.