5 Online Tools to Help Manage Your Credit Score
Credit management services can help you stay aware of your financial status. By signing up for one and taking the appropriate actions, you can improve your credit score and spot any problems before they cause irreparable damage.
Credit Karma provides you with a free credit report so you can track your score. The report lists the individual scores from each reporting bureau and lays out the factors that contribute to it. When you sign up for a free account, you get immediate access to a variety of tools to help you track, manage and improve your score. The website's educational resources help you get up to speed on financial topics, and the personalized recommendations give you a place to start improving your credit. Credit Karma provides a free monthly credit score update, so you can track progress and spot red flags.
Credit Sesame is a credit-management tool that offers a free monthly credit score and free credit monitoring for one of the three reporting bureaus. The custom analysis engine examines your loans, credit cards and debts, and provides actionable steps toward financial independence. Don't worry about logging in every day — the service's real-time monitoring system tracks important financial indicators and sends you alerts when your score changes. Most importantly, the service is secure and completely free.
Capital One Credit Tracker
The Capital One Credit Tracker is available to Capital One cardholders. In addition to credit monitoring, the service is designed to help customers build a stronger financial profile. Its user-friendly grading system allows you to see the state of your finances at a glance, and the TransUnion credit alerts keep you updated on any changes. One of the service's most useful tools is the credit simulator, which helps you understand how your future actions could raise or lower your score.
Mint Credit Monitor
Mint Credit Monitor is designed to provide a detailed, big-picture view of your credit score. The tool, which requires a monthly fee, helps you understand how each action affects your score. Your personal dashboard lists the positive and negative factors so you can take action accordingly. Mint Credit Monitor keeps track of your activity and sends alerts about new accounts by email. Other features include a score calculator, score-comparison tool and identity monitoring.
Annual Credit Reports
By law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If you don't want to sign up for a credit-monitoring service, you can manage your credit by checking your report regularly. The easiest way to do so is to request your free report from AnnualCreditReport.com, the Federal Trade Commission's official provider of no-cost reports. Alternatively, you can fill out the request form on the FTC website. Scan each report for debts that you did not create, and keep an eye out for late payments and collections.
Your credit score impacts many aspects of your life, from finding a job to getting approved for a loan or apartment rental. With convenient online tools, you can track your score and learn ways to improve it over time. Services are available for all budgets and financial situations, ensuring that you'll find the perfect option for your needs.