Credit scores are extremely important. They are, in a way, your financial life-line to borrowing money. But credit scores are actually a whole lot more than that. Your score can determine whether or not you can rent an apartment and can even dictate your insurance rates.
Credit scores are extremely easy to find these days. Companies like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame offer free access to your score as well as some key aspects of your credit report.
While this information is extremely valuable, these numbers will usually vary depending on the source. So how are you supposed to navigate the forest through the trees? One source could give you a 715, while another a 685. Which is correct? Turns out it doesn’t really matter because none of them are FICO scores, which are the gold standard in the financial world.
If you are only trying to get a general idea of what your credit looks like, then by all means use one of the free options to gain some insight into your credit picture. But if you are looking to get a loan, make sure you use your actual FICO score, as this is the definitive number lenders will use.
The main thing to remember is that credit scores are merely a financial representation of your credit history. If you control your history, you control your score. To learn more about your full credit history, check out the only free place to get access to a credit report by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com.