Your credit score outlines how reliable you are with borrowing money. It can be the decider between being accepted or declined for a loan. This article explains what credit scores are and how you can check your credit score.
You may have heard the term ‘credit score’ or ‘credit rating’ before. They are often mentioned in advertisements by financial providers or credit reference agencies.
But do you know what a credit score actually is? We are here to help you understand credit scores and point you in the right direction to check your own credit score.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a three digit number which suggests your creditworthiness. In other words, it shows how financially responsible you are when borrowing money.
Your credit score is calculated by looking at your financial situation when it comes to borrowing. Financial providers will look at how much you have borrowed in the past and how well you repaid it. They will also look at other information such as your age, job, income, and expenditure.
Credit reference agencies will calculate your score and provide this to lenders when you apply for credit. Different companies use different scales for credit scores. Some have a limit of 999, others go to 850 or 710.
Just remember, the higher the score the better.
Why are credit scores important?
Providing loans comes with an element of risk for financial providers. They have to be sure that you will repay the money on time and that you can afford to repay the loan.
If you have a poor credit score, the lender is likely to decline your application as they cannot be sure if you will repay. If they do approve you for a loan, you may be offered less than what you applied for
If you have a good credit score you are more likely to be offered the loan. You may also be eleigible for better products and some lenders may offer you loans with less interest.
Why should I check my credit score?
Checking your credit score is a great way to see where you stand when it comes to borrowing money. However, if you see anything on your credit report which looks unfamiliar, you may be a victim of fraud.
Any credit, addresses, or names which you do not recognise are clear signs to look for. At Serve and Protect, we have been made aware of such experiences from our members
There may be other errors on your credit report which are not fraudulent, which you can correct in order to improve your score. Without checking your credit score you would not know that any of this was happening.
And even if there is no fraudulent activity or errors, checking your credit score can help you to take steps to improve your credit score, putting you in a better position to borrow in the future.
How do I check my credit score?
You can check your credit score completely free of charge. There are a number of sites where you can check your credit score, such as:
The site may ask for your bank details, but this is just to verify that you are who you say you are. Once you have checked your score, you may be offered some tips on how to improve it.
You can use any one of these sites, but you may find it useful to check all three. This is because each site uses a different credit reference agency. While most information should overalp across the three, there may be additional information on one of the sites that you would not have seen otherwise.
How often should I check my credit score?
According to Experian, you should check your credit score once a year at a minimum.
This can ensure you are aware of any recent changes to your score, so that you can take steps to improve it where necessary.
They also recommend other times where checking your credit score could be useful, such as three months before applying for credit for any large purchases such as a mortgage.
It may also be useful to check your credit score if your wallet is stolen, if you have been involved in a data breach, or if you have experienced a major change such as taking out or paying off a mortgage.
Keeping up to date with your credit score means you are aware of any changes and you can quickly take the necessary steps to keep your score as high as possible.
Check your credit score today!
You should now know what a credit score is, why it is important, and how to check your own credit score. Get started by using one of the three sites listed above and see if there are any steps you can take to improve your score.