I’m sure you’ve seen the TV ads.  Social media posts.  Direct mail. 

Virtually everyone (mostly credit card companies) are offering you the ability to sign up, view your credit score and get notified if your credit score changes. 

Now, you can also sign up to be notified if a company performs a credit check on you too. 

But did you know that in addition to getting your credit score, you may also receive an explanation of the range of the score and a graph on how your score compares to other consumer scores. Visit www.ftc.gov for more information on consumer credit reporting.

This applies to everyone—mortgage companies, auto dealerships, credit card companies, landlords, insurance agents, utilities—basically anyone who uses a credit score. 

While you can view your credit scores, what if you are not happy about what has been reported?  Here are some tips if you wish to better understand your score: 

Contact the creditor who sent you your score and ask how many points are needed to get the best rates. 

If you’re planning on requesting credit in the future, order a credit report ahead of time and see what’s on it.  The law allows you one free credit report every year.  www.AnnualCreditReport.com . However, a credit score is NOT included so consider buying your credit score ahead of time www.MyFico.com. 

Learn what goes into a credit score and www.scoreinfo.org has an educational website with great explanations on what influences credit scores.

If you see information on your credit report that is inaccurate or suspicious, you have rights as a consumer to dispute items you find on your report. www.consumer.ftc.gov

If you decide to buy your credit score, be careful NOT to accidentally sign up for a credit monitoring service which would be billed to you on a monthly basis. 

Over 2/3 of consumers haven’t viewed their free credit report in the last 12 months.  Even if you aren’t applying for credit—you need to know what’s on your report!