You may know the five components of a credit score and how important having good credit is for things such as buying a car, getting a cell phone plan, or getting approved for your own apartment. You may also know that the government allows you to get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (be sure to use www.annualcreditreport.com, the only website required by the federal government to provide these for free). But considering how important credit is for all the things you want to do in life, do you really think checking your report once every 12 months is enough?
PSECU’s mission is to provide the best value to our members, and that includes being a financial partner who helps our members monitor and build their credit so that they can get approved for loans and achieve major milestones like buying a car, going to college and owning their own home. PSECU members can sign up for our free monthly credit score service*, which can be accessed by logging into their account through online banking or our mobile app. Each month, we update members on their latest credit score as reported by Experian®, one of the three credit reporting bureaus.
Our credit score service includes graphics and charts that allow you to not only see where your credit score is today, but also how it changes throughout the year. If your score isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, you can work on building it up. Here are a few basic tips on how to improve your score:
- Pay your bills on time to keep delinquent payments and collections off your credit report
- Use credit cards wisely and pay off as much of the balance as you can each month
- Check your credit report for inaccurate information or unauthorized activity
In addition to these general tips, when you check your credit score in online banking, you can see two specific factors that are currently affecting your score and action steps you can take to help improve it.
Even if you had a great credit score the last time you checked, it’s important to continue to keep an eye on your score each month. There are a number of things that could cause your score to go down, like opening credit accounts you don’t really need (which can be especially tempting when you’re in the checkout line and offered a nice discount if you apply for a store credit card) or forgetting to pay a bill.
It’s also possible for inaccurate information to end up on your credit report and cause your score to go down. When your credit score takes a hit, you’ll want to know about it right away. The last thing you want to do is complete a loan application thinking you have an excellent credit rating only to find out that it’s no longer the case.
Make a commitment to take charge of your credit health and monitor your credit score each month. And remember, PSECU is here to help. Check out some of our free financial resources like WalletWorks or financial education seminars in your community to learn more.
*PSECU is not a credit reporting agency. Members must have PSECU checking or a PSECU loan to be eligible for this service. Joint Owners are not eligible.