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Do you know your credit score?

By Kemberley Washington · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

In the past year, just 38 percent of consumers retrieved a copy of their credit report, and fewer reviewed their credit score, according to a report by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile, 37 percent of consumers admit that they don't know their current credit score, according to a 2009 National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey.

Are you among those who do not know their credit score? If so, it is time to take action.

Obtain your credit report for free

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers to obtain a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting agencies -- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

To request your free copies, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, the official website established by the three credit reporting agencies.

Credit score

Each time you obtain a free copy of your credit report from one of the credit reporting agencies, you will have the option to purchase your credit score for about $10.

The three credit reporting agencies use credit scoring models that range from a low of 280 to a high of 850. According to Equifax, most credit scores fall between the 600s and 700s.

Lenders often consider scores above 760 to be excellent, whereas scores below the low 600s represent poor credit ratings.

Boost your score

If your score is not up to par, there are some things you can do. They include:

  • Paying your bills on time.
  • Keeping balances low on accounts.
  • Disputing any errors or inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Keeping unused accounts open and maintaining long-standing accounts.
  • Being patient -- your credit score will change over time.

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and business professor. She writes a personal finance blog at Kemberley.com. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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5 Comments
Jonquil Griffin
July 02, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hello Ms. Washington,

This is very true especially for recent graduates entering into the work force. I was always afraid to check my credit score because I was told when you check it, it will decrease in number. I would encourage any individual to start building their credit as soon as their able. In addition, monitor it for some things may be incorrect. Thanks for this blog. It was very useful.