Why should you monitor your credit? The thought of actually knowing how much you owe can be scary; but you need to know what your debt is in order to pay it off. The first step to tackling debt and taking control of your finances is knowledge.
Are you monitoring your credit? If you are, great. If you aren't, you should be.
The higher your credit score, the lower interest rate you’ll have on loans (home, auto, etc.), and you’ll save thousands of dollars. You should monitor your credit, and best of all, it is free to do so!
So where does one start monitoring credit? Here are 5 simple steps to monitor your credit.
1. Start with a Free Credit Report
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and request a free credit report. It really is free ( from this website). Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, EquiFax, and Experian) once every twelve months.
2. Review Your Credit Report
Once you receive your free credit report, check for inaccuracies or errors. You might find incorrect information about yourself (addresses, phone numbers, etc.) or an account you didn't open or don't recognize. If you find an inaccuracy or error, check for instructions in the report on how to inform the credit bureau, then complete the step.
3. Sign Up for Creditkarma.com or Creditsesame.com
Creditkarma.com and CreditSesame.com are two of the best websites you can sign up for to have continuous and free access to your credit score, credit reports and more. You can also sign up for Mint.com, which can provide you with an overview of all your accounts and help track your credit score. If you know what’s happening in your accounts, it’s easier to spot anything suspicious, see when things change, and stay on top of your credit.
4. Setup Free Credit Alerts
Creditkarma.com and CreditSesame.com also allow you to receive alerts when your account status changes. Whether you open a new account, fall behind on a payment, or improve an account, you can receive emails that make sure you stay informed on all things credit.
5. Review Your Accounts Regularly, Stay Motivated and Continue to Monitor Your Credit
You can set a monthly or weekly reminder to review charges and balances, and if you find anything suspicious, report it. Many websites and even credit cards now offer free credit scores and credit monitoring, as well as credit simulators. These are a great options to use with your actual credit reports/scores. You can input scenarios like paying off a certain amount, opening a new account and paying on time to see examples of how you can improve your credit.