You've seen those ads for subscription websites that let you check your credit score, but haven't bitten. We here at Walletpop can't say we really blame you; they're kind of pricey, and some consumers have complained that trying to cancel can be a bit of a hassle. Besides, you figure your credit score is just fine... isn't it?
While ordering a credit score will of course clear up the question, there are some signs savvy consumers can watch for to see if their credit score has taken a dip. As this article from Bankrate points out, not being able to get a loan or being denied for a credit card application could mean your credit score isn't up to snuff. (Of course, realize that if the last time you applied for a credit card was in 2005, when America was awash in cheap credit, you're not really comparing apples to apples.)
Likewise, if you can get a loan or a credit card -- but only with a very high interest rate -- this could be a sign that something's wrong with your score. It's in your best interest to do your homework and research the current rates so you're familiar with what you should be able to get, advises Kathleen Day, spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending. Of course, Day adds, only being offered a high rate could also be a sign that you're dealing with a predatory lender.
"If it seems like you're not getting the prime rate or the best rate you should wonder if maybe you're being steered into something that's more expensive," she warns. "It's probably an indication you want to look further." Don't just stop at one provider; shopping around is the best way to insure that an unscrupulous lender isn't trying to take advantage of you.
Another red flag can be if your premiums for home, life or auto insurance suddenly skyrocket. Although it might seem galling, insurance companies can take your credit score into account when determining your premiums.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you're engaging in activities like blowing off your bills or running your credit cards up to the maximum, those kinds of behaviors won't do your credit score any favors, either.
Barry Paperno, consumer operations manager for FICO, the company that administers credit scores, has warned Walletpop readers in the past that as little as a single late payment could drop your credit score by as much as 100 points.
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