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What is Your Credit Score and Why Does it Matter?

Recently the talk about Credit Scores have been increasing. At any given time you can catch a Credit Karma commercial on television and find yourself subconsciously wondering about your credit score. Did you know, as a part of the Fact Act of 2003, each of the three credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, by law have to provide you with access to one free credit report each year. Many are not aware of this benefit and the whole idea of credit may seem confusing or unnecessary. Rest assured that your score has a much bigger impact on your financial life than you might think. However, with a little diligence and some smart decisions making, your good credit score can take you far.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three digit number determined to predict how big of a risk you are for the sake of the lender. Your score is generated by mathematical data using information in your credit report. To a lender, it indicates your ability to pay a contractually obligated debt. Before a lender decides to give you any amount of money, they want to make sure your word, which is your credit score and history in this case, is worthy and that you will pay it back.

Why Does My Credit Score Matter?

Your credit score is a vital asset that affects your financial journey as well as your lifestyle choices. What makes this number so important is the ability and flexibility to have access to necessities without having the cash upfront. On the surface, your credit score may not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage, renting an apartment, or being approved for an auto loan, your credit score is a huge factor in whether or not you are approved or denied. Need to save money? Maintaining a good credit score can save you thousands in interest fees, versus neglecting your credit score and having to pay high interest rates for a longer period of time, for a mortgage or auto loan. If you are applying for an apartment, the down payment may be sky high or you may not be approved at all. Many employers are also requiring potential employees to have a decent credit score in order to hire them for a job.

Some Advice. If you haven’t already, go check your credit score and make sure you’re in good standing. For a free credit report you can use sites like annualcreditreport.com. This is the only site authorized by the federal government to provide your free credit report. Be leery of other sites – there is likely a fee associated. Be aware that your credit report won’t have a score. Thanks to tools like CreditKarama.com and some credit card companies, you can have access to your credit score before applying for a loan.

Being aware of your credit file and checking your credit score is definitely necessary and a step towards strong financial planning. For more information visit www.nccfcu.org or visit us on Ash Street under the blue roof. Do More With Your Money with Your NC Community Credit Union.

Make sure to check out more financial topics on our Common Cents Blog located on our website.