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According to a recent survey of 410 Americans, about 30% of respondents reported not knowing their credit score. Since one's credit score is a determinant of eligibility for many financial products ranging from auto loans to mortgages to credit cards, it is worrisome that almost a third of people aren't actively monitoring their credit score. To help you stay on top of your credit score, we've found the best apps to help you keep track. The best part is that using these methods to check your credit score does not negatively affect your credit.
Not happy with your score? There are a number of relatively simple changes you can apply to your spending habits to help improve it.
Usage of Credit Karma (CK) has really exploded after it entered the market many years ago. Users will receive credit reports from TransUnion and Equifax (2 of the major credit bureaus) completely free. CK will then use its data to make financial product offers to users, such as credit cards or personal loans. The financial institutions selling these financial products are the entities paying CK. Their app provides alerts for any sudden changes in your credit score, and you can even send a dispute to the credit bureau directly from the app.
Capital One developed this app for everyone, not just its own customers. The app will provide you a weekly report of your VantageScore 3.0 from TransUnion. VantageScore is different from the more familiar FICO score but takes very similar inputs, so your VantageScore should move in the same patterns as your FICO score. CreditWise also provides a simulator that shows you how certain actions like paying down debt could affect your credit score.
The FICO score has been generally known as the standard for consumer credit reports. However, while the app is free, you need a subscription to FICO, which starts at $29.95 per month. After a subscription, you'll see your FICO score from all three credit bureaus along with how it has changed over time. Push notifications will tell you if anything changes. Though there is a hefty price tag, the subscription and app will provide you all you need to know about your credit picture.
Experian is one of the larger international credit bureaus and will provide you a full picture of your credit score on a monthly basis if you subscribe to its service. Experian will also help you examine what may be hurting your credit score and how to take actions to recover. The downside is that you only receive the report from Experian, just one of the three major bureaus.
While it has been mostly known as a personal finance and budgeting tool, Mint also added a feature several years ago that allows you to get a credit score summary from Equifax. The app helps you understand your credit card usage, payment history, inquiries, and more so that you have a full picture of your credit finances.
Credit.com provides you an Experian score and a Vantagescore 3.0 at no cost. Neither of these are official FICO scores, but again they are close and move in the same direction. Additionally, you'll get graded (A-F) on several different aspects of your credit management: payment history, debt usage, inquiries, and more.
With its sign-up bonus having just jumped to 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, now's the time to add the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to your wallet. Even better, future travel and dining purchases earn 2x points per dollar spent and it includes valuable travel benefits like primary car rental insurance. All of these extras make its $95 annual fee easy to justify.
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