How Often Should You Check Your Credit Score?
Every money conscious American has asked themselves this question at least once in their life: How often should you check your credit score? The straight forward answer is, at least once every year. But it is not that simple. The truth of the matter is, you need to keep a close eye on your credit rating. Although some of us have very frugal spending and impressive saving habits, there are other factors that come into play. Factors such as fraud and identity theft. These are all things you need to keep an eye on.
Of course, if someone has stolen your credit card data, you will begin to see strange reports really soon. But what if they steal your SSN as well as your mother's maiden name? This fraudster could very well open up a whole new line of credit in your name in several different states. The only way to catch this is to check your credit score ever so often.
Credit rating bureaus
In the United States, there are three main credit bureaus. Each one of these bureaus is required by law to let you check your credit rating at least once every year. A prudent individual can choose to use this as an opportunity to check their credit rating at least once every four months. Mostly because it gives you the opportunity to keep a keen eye on your overall rating and also because each bureau presents different data, which gives you an opportunity to get a whole rounded impression of how you are doing.
Check your reports before major purchases
Checking your credit score once every four months or once every year is good practice. But sometimes, there are exigent situations that demand you check your reports in between these periods. For example, if you are planning on buying a house or making any other kind of major purchase, it is important to review all the data available to you about your credit rating. This is mostly because:
- It gives you time to lodge any perceived dispute
- To get a consistent report, just in case your lender buys reports from all three credit bureaus
- Gives you an overall picture of your situation and allows you to come up with a plan in time
The truth is that you need to keep a keen eye on all this if you want to have the kind of purchasing power that you deserve. You may not be in control of everything that happens to your credit rating; as mentioned earlier, fraud can befall anyone of us at any time. That is why you need to keep a close eye on your credit rating. Get a rating at least once every year from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus.
So, to answer the question how often you should check your credit rating, once every year is a must, but once every four months is advisable. Also check it before you make any major financial commitments. These are the most prudent suggestions we have.