Getting Your Credit Score
There are several ways you can obtain your credit score, depending on how detailed you want this report to be. Some online platforms such as Lending Tree, Wallet Hub, Quizzle, Credit Sesame, and Credit Karma offer this service for free.
If you already own a credit card or a banking account, you may be able to see your credit score somewhere on your credit card bill or showcased on your online account. Most card issuers, credit unions, and banks will be able to provide this information to you.
But if you want a full credit report, you won’t be able to get it for free.
As for your credit score, this credit report will include a number that puts you in one of 4 credit score brackets – excellent, good, fair, or poor. Depending on the source, you may or may not be able to see a more detailed explanation of what damages your credit score.
10 Reliable Signs That My Credit Score Is Bad
Sometimes, you don’t even have to obtain a credit report in order to find out how bad your credit score is – the only thing it takes is to get denied for a credit card or a mortgage. The following signs are reliable indicators that something’s not right with your credit score:
1. You’ve Missed More than a Few Payments
Most credit card issuers won’t report your activity to the credit bureaus until you’ve made several late payments in a row. Missing more than a few payments is one of the top reasons why people get bad credit even when they pay their billing statements in full amount.
2. You’ve Been Making Minimum Payments Only
Other people have a below-average credit scores for the opposite reason. Even though they are never late with their monthly payments, they never pay more than the minimum amount. If you’ve started to accrue a balance on your credit card, your credit score has plummeted.
3. You Had to Close an Old Credit Card Account
Just having or not having a credit card matters for your overall credit score, but so does your credit length. In the majority of situations, closing an old credit card account doesn’t bode well for your creditworthiness. On the contrary – it can actually lower your credit.
4. You’ve Recently Had One Too Many Credit Checks
When card issuers or lenders check your credit score, this is called “hard inquiry” (as opposed to you checking your own score online, which is labeled as “soft inquiry”). Having too many hard inquiries in a short period of time drags down your score, so be very careful.
5. Debt Collectors Have Started to Harass You
This is usually a very reliable sign that your credit score is no longer as satisfying as it used to be. When you get phone calls, emails, and letters from debt collectors, it usually means only one thing – you’re dealing with multiple debts on more than just one loan.
6. You’ve Been Denied a Job Application
Did you know that one in every ten job seekers gets turned away by an employer because of a less than acceptable credit score? This is happening more often than you’d think, especially when the position in question is a high-earning job in a respectable company.
7. You’ve Been Denied a Loan Application
In case you’re not experiencing any problems at your current job and have a good income, but you get rejected for a loan nevertheless, this is another telltale sign that something’s not right with your credit score. You should make a soft inquiry as soon as possible.
8. Your Insurance Premium Is Suddenly Higher
No insurance company will cover you without an official guarantee that you’ll be able to pay your premiums for years to come. If your credit score is bad, they will simply add a safety deposit to your premium, which may be why you’re suddenly required to pay more.
9. Your Credit Card Interest Rate Has Increased
The same goes for your credit card rate – among the many perks and benefits of credit cards for excellent and good credit is a lower interest rate. The lower the credit score, the higher the interest. If your rate is up, it’s time to get suspicious about your credit score.
10. Your Landlord Is Demanding an Early Rent
A tenant’s credit score is a reliable indicator of whether or not they will be able to cover their rent for an agreed-upon period of time. If you were a landlord, you’d be checking it too. Check your credit score if your landlord has started to act nervous around you.
Credit Score Ranges, from Bad to Excellent
Depending on why you need it, a problematic credit score may cause you more or less trouble. Some lenders may estimate that your credit score is not in such a bad shape, while others may reject your application without even taking it into due consideration.
But generally speaking, a credit score is not a subjective measure.
On both FICO and VantageScore’s scale, credit scores range from poor to excellent:
- Poor credit: below 600
- Fair credit: 650-700
- Good credit: 700-750
- Excellent: 750 and up
Poor and fair credit scores leave you with very limited options for borrowing money and applying for credit cards, while good and excellent credit scores provide you with lower interest rates and great perks and benefits. The higher your credit score is, the better.