If you're a financially savvy kind of individual (and you must be if you're here, right?), you no doubt already know the importance of checking your credit report every year. Getting a credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) allows you to spot and correct errors that could affect your credit rating or, more dangerously still, be a sign of identity theft. So the sooner you can find these and nip them in the bud, the better. That's why the federal government now requires the credit bureaus to provide you with a copy of your credit report once a year at no charge. The easiest way to get them is through the site AnnualCredit.Report.com. (Accept no substitutes; sites with similar URLs, like FreeCreditReport.com, are fakes that either phish for your personal information or try to get you on the hook for a paid service.)
However, while the credit bureaus now have to give you free access to your credit report, they're still allowed to charge you to view your actual credit score. I've always found that rather annoying, since it's your credit score that really affects your life the most. It determines the interest you pay on your credit cards, your chances of qualifying for a mortgage, your auto insurance rates, and even, in some cases, your ability to get a job. It seems like something you should be able to check on without having to shell out twenty bucks for it.
So in my latest piece for Money Crashers, I've compiled a list of tricks for getting a look at your credit score—or at least an estimate of it—without having to pay. Actually, I say it's my latest piece, but it's only the latest one to be published; it's actually the very first article I wrote when I started working for Money Crashers about a year ago. I'm not sure why they chose to sit on it for a year, or why the final version ended up with a bunch of editing changes that I never saw when they originally reviewed it—but the information is all there, and I guess that's what matters.
How to Check Your Credit Score – Subscription Services & Free Monitoring