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How To Make Sure You\'re Getting Your Real Credit Score

Over the past several years, there has been more and more publicity about the importance of your credit score. The television commercials tell us it's important to know our credit score in a number of situations: when buying a car, when buying a home, when making any large purchase. Therefore, it only follows that people have been more obsessed with their credit scores than in past years. They visit websites and request their credit score, and then they make decisions based upon that credit score.

But what if the credit score you're given isn't actually your credit score?

It was recently reported that FreeCreditReport—you know, the company that put out those ads of the band playing catchy jingles about how important your credit score is—was providing customers with the wrong credit score. Instead, they were sending customers something that credit bureau Experian calls a PLUS credit score. The bad news is that lenders don't use PLUS scores—they use FICO scores.

So you don't get duped into getting the wrong credit score or getting yourself into any other frustrating situations, follow these tips:

• Be sure to read all the fine print before you submit your payment information. You don't want to unintentionally sign up for a monthly service that will charge your credit card each month.
• Know that many companies claim to provide you with your credit score for free but are really only providing you with your credit report. Be sure to fully research any and all claims by any one particular company so that you are totally aware of what you're getting out of the deal.
• Be weary of paying for your credit score through a loan or lender website. When your credit score is accessed through these types of companies, it's tagged as a "hard inquiry," as though the loan or lender themselves were inquiring about your credit score. If you were to check your credit score too frequently through these types of establishments, your credit score would most likely go down.

And here are a few places that are sure to provide you with your FICO score—for a price:

• Equifax - $15.95
• myFICO - $15.95 or $47.85 for all three bureau's scores

If you do pay for your credit score and find that it's not as good as you expected or hoped, don't worry. There are things you can do to improve your credit score. Here are a few to get you started:

• Always pay your bills on time. Even one day past due can reflect poorly on your credit.
• Take out a loan or use a credit card. It may sound counterproductive, but if you are able to make your payments on time (and not only pay the minimum amount each month), then this could help you to build credit.

Now that you know how to spot fraudulent credit scores and how to improve poor credit, you're informed and ready to take your financial future into your own hands.

Katrina Robinson is a freelance writer and editor who covers a wide variety of finance topics including the best 0 APR credit cards, balance transfers cards, and reward credit card offers.
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  Published Date - September 12 2011
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  Mr. CreditCard Assist
Credit Card Assist http://www.creditcardassist.com
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