The television commercials tell us it's important to know our credit score in a number of situations: when buying a car, when buying a home, when making any large purchase.
Over the past several years, there has been more and morepublicity about the importance of your credit score. The television commercialstell us it's important to know our credit score in a number of situations: whenbuying a car, when buying a home, when making any large purchase. Therefore, itonly follows that people have been more obsessed with their credit scores thanin past years. They visit websites and request their credit score, and thenthey make decisions based upon that credit score.
But what if the credit score you're given isn't actually your credit score?
It was recently reported that FreeCreditReport.com—you know,the company that put out those ads of the band playing catchy jingles about howimportant your credit score is—was providing customers with the wrongcredit score. Instead, they were sending customers something that creditbureau Experian calls a PLUS credit score. The bad news is that lenders don'tuse PLUS scores—they use FICO scores.
So you don't get duped into getting the wrong credit scoreor getting yourself into any other frustrating situations, follow these tips:
· Besure to read all the fine print before you submit your payment information. Youdon't want to unintentionally sign up for a monthly service that will chargeyour credit card each month.
· Knowthat many companies claim to provide you with your credit score for free butare really only providing you with your credit report. Be sure to fullyresearch any and all claims by any one particular company so that you aretotally aware of what you're getting out of the deal.
· Beweary of paying for your credit score through a loan or lender website. Whenyour credit score is accessed through these types of companies, it's tagged asa "hard inquiry," as though the loan or lender themselves wereinquiring about your credit score. If you were to check your credit score toofrequently through these types of establishments, your credit score would mostlikely go down.
And here are a few places that are sure to provide you withyour FICO score—for a price:
· Equifax - $15.95
· myFICO - $15.95 or $47.85 for all threebureau's scores
If you do pay for your credit score and find that it's notas good as you expected or hoped, don't worry. There are things you can do toimprove your credit score. Here are a few to get you started:
· Alwayspay your bills on time. Even one daypast due can reflect poorly on your credit.
· Takeout a loan or use a credit card. It may sound counterproductive, but if you areable to make your payments on time (and not only pay the minimum amount eachmonth), then this could help you to build credit.
Now that you know how to spot fraudulent credit scores andhow to improve poor credit, you're informed and ready to take your financialfuture into your own hands.
Katrina Robinson is a freelance writer and editor who coversa wide variety of finance topics including the best 0 APRcredit cards, balancetransfers cards, and reward creditcard offers.