Fantastic Free Resources for Your Annual Credit Check-Up
|As we enter the second year of The Great Credit Crisis, loans continue to be tough to come by and lenders are aggressively slashing credit lines and raising rates on existing borrowers who exhibit just a mere whiff of financial trouble. This makes actively managing your credit profile more important than ever. Just as you get your annual physical from the doctor (you do get your annual physical, right?), you need to make a credit check-up part of your yearly routine as well to make sure that you have access to the credit you may need and at the lowest possible rates.|
We’ve discussed previously that if you are about to apply for a mortgage or loan why it makes sense to purchase access to your credit reports and scores, but for the rest of us there are some tremendously useful free resources that can help you stay on top of your credit health.
First, everyone should start with a visit to AnnualCreditReport.com which is where you can obtain truly free copies of your credit reports once every twelve months. These reports are notoriously fraught with errors and inaccuracies that can prove to be very costly, so scour them for mistakes that could damage your credit.
Next, head over to Quizzle where you can obtain a free estimate of your credit score. As you may know, there are a variety of credit (or FICO) score calculations, so the number you see here may not match the numbers that lenders are using to evaluate your credit. However, Quizzle recently updated its estimation methods to more closely track the scores used by many lenders and I found that it was within a few points of my “official” credit score. Plus, an estimate is likely good enough for your annual check-up, so you can save the $16 that FICO charges to show you its calculation of your score.
With this information in hand, check out the very useful Credit Report Card from Credit.com. It breaks down the different components of your credit score, assigns you a letter grade to each and provides specific recommendations on what you can do to improve your standing for each facet of your score.
Finally, to see how valuable your annual credit check-up can be, try out this very illuminating credit cost calculator from credit repair firm Lexington Law: