There is no reason NOT to check your FICO score and reports at least a few times a year. However, if you can’t afford to keep checking all three, at least regularly keep up with one and then 2-3 times a year another one. This checkup will give you an indicator of your current creditworthiness and whether or not there are any red flags or signs of being a fraud victim.
Your credit history and FICO score will help you and lenders, and maybe even employers, understand where you are financially. You probably already know how FICO scores work and what factors play a role in calculating the score.
If you’re not entirely sure or have forgotten, here is a quick reminder:
- Credit history length
- Payment history (whether late or on time)
- Whether the amount of each payment exceeded the minimum requirement
- Credit diversity
- Amounts owed
- Number of inquiries
- New credit
Check Your FICO Score to Check for Anomalies
Even having more than a couple of hard inquiries could potentially hurt your credit score. For example, suppose you have been trying to obtain new credit cards or loans lately. In that case, you might want to check your FICO score to see if the number of inquiries is hurting your credit in any way. Attempts to open up new accounts will reflect negatively on you. It might seem as though you are desperate and that your financial situation might not be strong or stable.
The amount you owe relative to the total amount of your maximum credit limits will also affect your credit score. So if it’s at the point when you currently owe more than 50% of what your maximum limits are, it’s time to hold back on the credit cards a bit and start trying to pay down your balance(s).
One of the worst possible things to anybody is identity theft. At some point, the average person gets at least some part of their personal information stolen, and it’s sometimes through no fault of their own. No matter how big, corporations do get hacked now and then. It can happen at any time. One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to check your FICO score often and sign up for a service that offers credit monitoring, social media monitoring, social security number monitoring, etc.
While you can’t protect your identity, social security number, and other personal details 100% of the time, it is possible (and easy) to be notified the second somebody tries to use any of that information and take the necessary steps to prevent damage.
Right now, the best way to check your FICO score regularly and get credit monitoring and other types of tracking in real-time are to sign up for Experian IdentityWorks. Choose the level of security and monitoring you think is ideal for you and your family, and get started with a free trial.