Every so often I get an email from somewhere offering me a trial membership to myFICO or something like it. And, every so often, I have to get a client to cancel the subscription. myFICO and the others are NOT worth it.
$90 per year
The myFICO service that allows you to check your credit score daily costs approximately $90 per year. Just do some quick math. I see people transfer their money all over the place to pick up an extra 0.5% on their savings or money market account. Instead of transferring your money and setting up direct deposit and whatever other gymnastics are required, you might want to consider how you could end up with the same net worth. That $90 per year adds up to the same amount as the total extra interest you would earn in an entire year on $18,000 in savings by getting a interest rate that is 0.5% better.
Easy Way to Get A Free Credit Score
Update (January 2012): You should see about this CreditKarma.com free credit monitoring review along with your free credit score. See my CreditKarma.com review for a complete look of Credit Karma. Also check this if you are worried about the whole thing being just a Credit Karma scam.
First, see if your financial institution will tell you your credit score for free. Some forward thinking customer focused banks and credit unions are actively reporting their customer’s FICO score on statements or on your online banking. Typically, these scores are updated quarterly. Even if your bank doesn’t print your score out somewhere, that doesn’t mean that they won’t tell you if you ask. Call the regular customer service number and ask if they have a recent credit score for you on file. Chances are they do. Many financial institutions update your credit score on a quarterly or semi-annual basis so that they can target you with the right kinds of services. After all, a customer with a 780 credit score is someone you don’t have to worry about bouncing a lot of checks or or over-running a credit-line. When you talk to them, get your score and the date it was from. There you go, free credit score.
If your bank won’t tell you your credit score, frankly, I’d start looking for another bank. Even saying the words, “Oh, well, that’s unfortunate because a friend of mine can always ask his bank. Maybe I should switch,” might get you bumped up to a different level of service, and your file noted so that you can get your score next quarter.
How to Manage Your Credit Score
Knowing your credit score number is not as important as what you are doing to it. Think about it this way, if a highly calibrated NASA scale says you weigh 197 lbs. does it really matter that your home scale says 194 lbs? What matters is whether the number is going up or down. While it is true that the exact number may determine your lending rate, you don’t know what those numbers will be. Some lenders will give you the best rate with a 715, others may require a 730. So, while it helps to know about what your credit score is, don’t obsess over the exact number.
So, how do you make sure your credit score keeps going up? Pay every bill, every month, on time. That’s it!
The only other time you even have to worry about it, is when you get different credit than you already have. That is, if you get a new credit card or refinance your house, or trade in your car for another. Then, it’s time to call the bank again and find out what your score it. You’ll need to wait a month or two before the change takes affect, but it doesn’t hurt to call right away. Then, you can ask if they know when it will be updated by their system again.
There you go. Absolutely FREE CREDIT SCORE management, no strings attached.