Credit score is the one financial number that all of us should know. This is because this three digit number has the capability to make a difference between approval or disapproval on your next airline miles or even loan applications. Besides that, so many businesses would use your credit score to make importance decision about you. Hence, this is important that you know what a credit score is and how you can improve it.

Why Credit Score is Important?

Credit score is usually made up of factors such as payment history, debts, credit history length and new credit. To put it simply, this all comes down to that: Your credit score will start dropping if you miss a payment. Moreover, it will get more difficult for you to apply for new cards and loans until you improve your credit score. Also, if you are interested in applying for a travel credit card, you should know that they check your credit score in order to issue you a travel credit card.

What is a good score?

The overall credit score limit for everyone is 300-850. Meaning that no one can fall below 300, no matter how poor their credit history is. Now, you must be wondering ‘what is a good score?’ In order to get a good score, you have to land above 700. A credit score of more than 800 is classified as ‘excellent’ and you enjoy better chances of getting approved for loans and new travel cards etc. [i]

What is a bad score?

There are a lot of variations that exist when it comes to defining a bad credit score. Since each lender has to determine if they want to extend you credit, they might have their own criteria for a bad score. However, you should keep this in mind when checking your credit history:

  • Low credit score: 580 to 619
  • Poor credit score: 500 to 579
  • Bad credit score: 300 to 499

Although the aforementioned limit is legit, it is still important to note and remember that a lot of lenders consider applicants with credit score less than 620 a credit risk.

If you want to get your credit score for free, we got you covered. Though there are several ways to get your credit score, we have picked the ones that are most reliable for giving you free credit score. This way, you can take a look at any possible irregularities, errors for reporting debts and ultimately think of ways to improve your credit score.

1. Get Your Annual Credit Report For Free

Did you know that you could order free credit reports from this website? As it happens, Annualcreditreport is also the only credible and authorized site for free credit reports. That being said, beware of any fake websites or similar domains that would most likely trick you into paying a fee. However, when you are on the original website, you have to provide personal information such as social security number and address etc.

You should know that as per FCRA (Fair credit reporting act), it is your right to get your credit report once every 12 months. Also, it is recommended to check your credit score that often, in order to stay safe and prevent any possible identity theft.

Another way to get your credit report more frequently is to get a report from every three credit bureaus on a periodic basis. For example, get your credit report from Equiflax and then a few months later from Experian and finally, at the end of year from Transunion. [ii]

2. Get a report from your own credit card company

Don’t worry! You will not have to apply for a new credit card just to get your credit history. Even if you own one, you could use it to know where you stand. Most of the credit card companies offer a free monthly credit score service to let the users know of their credit situation. Let’s talk about the biggest credit card companies like Bank of America, Chase and Discover etc. These all offer free monthly credit card scores. It is important to note that these are not the official FICO scores. However, these will get you a pretty good idea as to what your current credit score is.

3. A good credit monitoring service

If you think that the first two options are not good for you for any reason, there is a third. You could go for a credit monitoring service. As the name suggests, it would give you a glimpse of what your credit score might be. For this purpose, you could get in touch with two main companies: CreditKarma and Credit Sesame. The interesting thing is that both of these use VantageScore – almost the same as FICO score.

The best thing about using these two companies as a way to get to know your credit score is that they are free. Using these services could be a great way to knowing your credit score and finally improving it. Between the two companies, Credit Karma takes the edge as it shows far fewer ads than the other one.

When you are using Credit Karma to know your credit score, you will see that they offer 2 credit scores. This based on VantageScore weekly updated reports and is based on your Equifax and Transunion scores. As an added bonus, you will enjoy weekly email alerts of your Transunion data.

We hope that using these three options or either one of them, you will be able to get to know your credit score quite easily. As far as interpreting the scores is concerned, just know that you have to keep your credit score between 700 and 799. This would be enough to make your eligible for most loans with feasible terms.