23% of Americans Don't Know Their Credit Score. Here Are 3 Reasons That's a Big Problem

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  • Many people are in the dark about their credit score even though that information is easily accessible. 
  • Not knowing that number could cost you in many ways.
  • You could end up paying more for a loan, or not realize that you need to improve your score. 

That's an important piece of information to know.

Your credit score is one of those numbers you may not keep regular track of. After all, it's just a random number, right?

Wrong. Your credit score is an indication of how risky -- or trustworthy -- a borrower you come across as. A high credit score sends the message that you pay bills in a timely manner and can be trusted with a loan or line of credit. A poor credit score sends the message that lending you money potentially means not getting paid back. And so it's important to know what that number looks like.

But in a recent survey by NY Sports Day, 23% of respondents said they don't know their credit score. If you're in that boat, it could really become a big issue. Here's why.

1. You might get stuck with a more expensive borrowing rate

The lower your credit score, the higher a borrowing rate you're likely to get stuck with, whether you're taking out a mortgage, auto loan, or personal loan. The result? Higher monthly payments for you to grapple with. 

Now it's worth noting that right now, borrowing rates are up across the board, so even if you have good credit, you might still end up with a higher interest rate on a loan than you'd like. But a strong credit score could spare you an exorbitant borrowing rate.

2. You might apply for a major loan at the wrong time

If you're applying for a big loan, like a mortgage, it's important to do so when your credit score is at its highest. After all, that's a loan you might end up paying off for 30 years, so it's important to lock in the most competitive rate possible. But if you don't know your credit score, you might apply for a mortgage right after it's recently dropped -- and get stuck with higher housing costs for decades.

3. You may not take steps to improve your credit

It's hard to fix a problem you don't know about. There are steps you can take to raise your credit score, like correcting errors on your credit report, whittling down credit card balances, and paying incoming bills on time. But if you're not aware of your credit score, you may not be as motivated to do those things. 

Don't be in the dark

Your credit score isn't something you have to check every week -- but you should check it a few times a year, and also, before you're about to apply for a large loan. These days, you can commonly access your credit score through your credit card company or bank for free. If that's not an option for you, you can buy your score from FICO for a modest fee. 

But either way, it pays to check your credit score if you truly have no idea what that number looks like. Doing so could make your financial life a lot easier -- and inspire some positive changes that help that number increase and save you money down the line.

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