I haven’t checked my credit score in a while because I have been so pretty busy being a stay at home dad/blogger. We don’t have any plans to get a loan, so checking my credit score hasn’t been a priority lately. However, it’s important to check up on your credit score and credit at least once a year so you won’t have any unpleasant surprises.
Reasons why you need to keep an eye on your credit score and reports
- You need a good credit rating to rent.
- You need to maintain a valid credit score to open a brokerage account. The Patriot Act made the broker verify the identity of the person by running a credit check. No credit score = no identity.
- It is essential to monitor your credit score to make sure there is nothing unexpected there. Identity theft is a big problem these days and you need to be vigilant.
- You may not need to borrow money now, but who knows what the future will bring? It’s safer to maintain good credit scores and monitor them periodically.
How to get free credit report and score
Free Credit Report
You can get your credit reports for free once a year at Annual Credit Report.com. Here, the credit reports are supplied by Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. The reports contain all your credit history and you should take a look at them once a year to make sure there is nothing suspicious there.
Free Credit Score
I signed up with Credit Sesame last year and it is a good place to keep an eye on your credit score. Credit Sesame provides you the Experian National Equivalency Score for free. This is not a FICO score, but it should be in the same range. From what I read, the Credit Sesame score is usually a bit higher than the FICO score. The last time I checked both FICO and Credit Sesame was August 2012 and my Credit Sesame score was 10-15 higher than my FICO scores.
The great thing about Credit Sesame is it’s free. You can check your score monthly and keep an eye out for any big changes.
Can you beat my score? 815 seems quite high to me especially now that I don’t even have a regular job. Maybe it’s time to apply for some airline cards to accumulate some bonus miles. 8)
More services from Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame just launched their free credit monitoring service. They track Experian data and will alert you via your Credit Sesame account, text message, or by email. Here are some examples of events that can trigger an alert.
- New credit card
- New auto loan
- Lost or stolen credit card
- Address change
You can turn this alert off at anytime.
Check your Debt To Income Ratio
My DTI is quite abysmal at 60%. This will prevent us from refinancing or getting any new mortgages. Actually, 60% seems a little high to me. I will have to update our annual income in my profile at the end of the year. It’s hard to estimate income when you’re self employed and have several sources of income. My real DTI is probably around 45%. That is still too high, but it’s not abysmal.
Check the value of your home and your home equity
I usually use Zillow to estimate my home price, but I think their numbers are a bit low. Credit Sesame gives me another data point. Another nice thing is that you can see your home equity increase over time at Credit Sesame as you pay down your mortgage.
Don’t ignore your credit score
You need to keep an eye on your credit reports and score even if you are not planning to borrow any money. Credit Sesame and Annual Credit Report.com are two great places to monitor your credit for free. The credit score might not be the same as FICO, but it should give you a good idea of where you stand.
When was the last time you checked your credit score? Can you beat 815? If you use Credit Sesame, do you like their services?
Disclosure: If you sign up with Credit Sesame through this page, then I will earn a small commission. This is one of the ways I generate income from blogging. You can think of it as a small donation to Baby RB40’s college fund.