How to Check Your Credit Score or Credit History
Do you know your credit history? How about your credit score? If you answered no to these questions, you’re just one of a large number of people that are in the same boat. Both your credit history and credit score are very important personal finance aspects, and most people don’t know theirs.
If you’ve ever borrowed money – yes, that includes credit cards – you’ll have both a credit history (also known as a credit report) and a credit score. We’re here to give you the rundown on exactly what the two entail, and how to check your credit score and view your credit history.
What is credit history?
The concept of credit history is fairly straightforward. Anyone who’s ever taken out a loan, has a line of credit or uses a credit card has one. Basically, your credit history is a summary of your reliability as a borrower. It’s a report that is created as soon as you apply for credit or borrow money, and it documents all aspects associated with your loans and credit after that point.
Information that is included in your credit history includes:
- The date you began borrowing
- Late payments and non-payments
- How much you owe
- If you exceed your credit limit
- Public record information, such as bankruptcy
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that is calculated based off the information in your credit history. If you have a history demonstrating that you can use your credit responsibly (timely payments, proper management of your funds, etc.), then your credit score will be high. You are penalized for things that dictate that you manage credit poorly, such as failure to pay on time or missed payments.
This number is used by potential lenders to evaluate whether or not to give you credit or approve you for a loan. People with lower credit scores are seen as higher risk, and thus are less attractive as borrowers. Individuals with a higher credit rating pose less of a risk to creditors and will have an easier time obtaining a loan.
How to check your credit score
In the US, credit scores can range from 300-850. A score that is in the 700s is generally considered to put you in good standing with creditors.
You can request your annual credit report for free from AnnualCreditReport.com, but unfortunately free credit reports do not contain your particular credit score. To get your credit score, you must purchase it when you make a credit report request. Services such as Equifax allow you to obtain your credit report and score for a small fee.
If you’re unaware of your credit history or credit score, you may want to look into it further. It’s important to know where you stand as a potential borrower. Want to learn how to improve your credit score? Check out this page.