by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Nov. 27, 2019
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Here's some potentially encouraging news.
Your credit score isn't just a random number that's assigned to you: It's a measure of how trustworthy you are on the borrowing front. That's important, because the higher your score, the easier it becomes to get a new credit card, personal loan, mortgage, or any other type of financing. Not only that, but having great credit will also open the door to the most favorable interest rates out there, making it less expensive for you to borrow when you need to.
As such, it pays to keep tabs on your credit score to ensure that that number is high enough to buy you the borrowing options you need. And in this regard, millennials are clearly on the ball.
In a recent survey, credit bureau Experian found that millennials aren't shy about accessing their credit scores. In fact, they often check their credit score more frequently than they do a number of popular social media sites, such as Twitter and Snapchat.
That said, part of the reason millennials check their credit scores so diligently is that many are concerned about what their personal numbers look like. In fact, 51% of those surveyed acknowledged that they sometimes worry about their credit, while 59% said their credit scores need improving.
If you're not in the habit of checking your credit score, it pays to do so roughly once every three to four months. That way, you'll know whether that number needs to be boosted, and you'll be more motivated to make that happen.
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You're entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. But your credit report won't actually contain your credit score. Frustrating, right?
To get at that number, you may need to pay for an actual credit score service. Experian, for example, will let you sign up for free to access your score initially, but you'll then be charged a fee to retain that service on an ongoing basis. You can also purchase your credit score through MyFico.com. That said, some banks and credit cards give you free access to your credit score, so it pays to see if any of yours offer that option.
Credit scores range from a low of 300 all the way up to a high of 850, which represents perfect credit. Anything above 800, however, is considered outstanding, and your score is generally considered to be in good shape if it's at 670 or above. Hit the mid-700s, and your chances of getting approved for favorable financing rates are even higher.
If your score isn't all that great at present, you can raise it by paying all future bills on time. That'll boost your payment history, which is the single most important factor that goes into calculating a credit score. If you are able to do it, it also helps to pay off a large chunk of your existing debt. Also be sure to check your credit report several times a year, and if you spot any errors that may work against you (say, you're listed as carrying a certain debt that's not actually yours), work to have them fixed.
The fact that millennials are focusing on their credit scores is a very good thing. If you can't remember the last time you accessed yours, consider this your wake-up call to get your hands on that information sooner rather than later.
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