In the United States, a credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person, which is the likelihood that the person will pay his or her debts. Whether or not this is actually true is debatable, but your credit score is still important nonetheless. Your credit score determines a good portion of what you can and can’t do in life and it pays to be informed.
In 2003, an amendment was made to FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which now forces the three nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a copy of your credit report free of charge. Upon request, each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) must by law give you a copy of your credit report once every twelve months.
In order to maximize efficiency, it’s recommended that you stagger your credit reports, requesting one every four months. This allows you to maintain a general idea of where your credit score stands while keeping an eye out for any mistakes on your record. Most people don’t realize the importance of tracking your own credit scores. Credit bureaus make mistakes too and an easy fix now can save you alot of trouble in the future. Keep in mind, though, that each credit bureau uses a slightly different method for tabulating your credit score so the numbers may vary slightly. If your looking to make a big purchase, you might want to request all three credit reports beforehand as a precaution.
The “official” site for getting your credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com, but in all honesty, it sucks. While trying to obtain my free credit report, I was bombarded with useless information and offers, neither of which I wanted, and worst of all, THEY DO NOT GIVE YOU YOUR FICO SCORE!