Most people know that they are entitled to free copies of their credit reports but getting a copy of your credit score is trickier and can be more expensive. One easy and inexpensive way is to ask for your score whenever you apply for credit. For example, if you are applying for a new mortgage, refinancing an existing mortgage, buying a new car or even applying for a payment plan with an oil heat company, the organization extending you credit will have pulled your credit report and credit score. These individuals can easily tell you what your credit score is -- at no cost to you.
But what if you haven't applied for credit lately and don't intend to -- or you want a glimpse of your score before you bother applying for credit? You can certainly contact one of the major credit bureaus like TransUnion, Equifax and Experian and request your credit score but these agencies will charge you a fee. Similarly, the website that offers you your free annual credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) will give you your score for a fee of $10 or so.
If you don't want to pay a fee for the score, you can get a pretty could idea of the range of your score by visiting www.credit.com and www.creditkarma.com. These sites also offer valuable information on how your score is determined and how you can improve it. For more information on your credit score, the various organizations that provide credit scores, and tips for improving your score, check out this recent Wall Street Journal article.
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