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Your Take: How Often Do You Check Your Credit Score?

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Red LED ScoreboardI’m a numbers guy. I love seeing numbers, trying to find trends, and playing with statistics. That’s probably one of the reasons why credit scores fascinate me so much, they are able to distill a bunch of actions you take as a person and package it up into this convenient three digit number that lenders go nuts over. I’m not saying the system is good or bad, but it’s the system and you have to play by the rules of the game.

That being said, I’ve been using Credit Karma to check my score every month. It’s a TransUnion credit score based on TransUnion data, so not technically a FICO credit score, but since I don’t plan on getting a loan, it’s not important that I get the most accurate number. Plus, Credit Karma is free and I’ve already entered my information so I might as well take advantage of it. In the time I’ve been monitoring my score has increased from a 721 back in November of 2008 to a 731 just yesterday (May 28th).

The reason I check my score every month isn’t because I want to know what the number is. In fact, I could care less because I’m not getting a loan. The reason I check is because it can give me an early indication if there’s something fishy going on. It’s like faux (and free) identity theft protection on my TransUnion credit report. I know what I do and I know how my credit score should be affected, so if I see any large changes in my score, I should check my TransUnion report for anomalies (one free check a year through!).

I think once a month is plenty but lots of people sign up for services like MyFICO (which is not free after their 30 day trial) to check every day or week, I think that’s probably too much.

How often do you check and why?

(Photo: auntiep)

{ 34 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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34 Responses to “Your Take: How Often Do You Check Your Credit Score?”

  1. I personally use myFico. While I don’t actually “check” my score daily (the software does), I do get emails every time something changes.

    While this may seem extreme, I like it for two reasons:

    1. I’m alerted to any fraudulent changes immediately, not the next time I check my score, which can make all the difference when dealing with a problem, and…

    2. I’ve learned an incredible amount about my credit score just by following how it behaves after I perform an “action” that affects it. That’s priceless.

  2. lostAnnfound says:

    I only check once a year, but I’m starting to think that may not be enough. I think daily may be the other extreme for me, but maybe every quarter would be a reasonable period of time.

  3. Equifax checker says:

    I check once every three months on myfico.. be sure to check for their latest discount code it sometimes can shave a couple bucks off.

  4. I check my credit report twice per year to look for unauthorized activity.

    I have never checked my credit score. It is not important to me because I never intend to use credit again. More than that, I believe that the credit score is reflective of an abusive and intrusive system that we should strive to resist.

    • nickel says:

      I just checked mine twice to make up for your refusal to check yours.

      • Cap says:

        I check mine as much as possible to make up for those who have similar stance as Tough Money Love. Gotta help out the poor credit score industry after all!

        • Jim says:

          Hahaha you’re terrible.

          • hustler says:

            Your credit score can be used to determine your house and car insurance premiums. Even if you don’t plan on using any credit, it is still important to take care of your credit score. Retired people with a limited income (and everyone else) could really benefit from lower house and life insurance premiums.

    • Tom says:

      I am with you on this one. I check our reports about once a year. Beyond that, our credit is frozen and I plan on not thawing it (that’s the goal anyway).

      I am in agreement that the credit scores are abused. I think the use of them for insurance and other indicators is overboard. But it is used because in the end it works.

      I recently wrote a blog entry on ways to reduce our reliance on the credit bureaus and scores. But of course a big part of it requires a national shift toward less debt. But if we as individuals rely less on credit, eventually it will become difficult for businesses that use credit scores to ignore and “punish” the debt free population. That’s my theory anyway 🙂

  5. eric says:

    I do it once a month through Credit Karma too. Works fine for me.

  6. ladytr0uble says:

    I pull a credit report from one of the three credit bureaus every 4 months and check Credit Karma once a month, unless I pulled a credit report that month. This allows me to monitor my credit at regular intervals without having to pay for it.

    • Jim says:

      I’m a big fan of the staggering a credit report request every 4 months strategy, it’s made even better because in Maryland you can get it twice… thus doubling the frequency.

  7. Martha says:

    I’ve checked it once a year.

  8. CuriousAG says:

    Owing to my recent denial of Discover’s credit card (inspite of me paying complete balance every month for more than 2.5 years), I enrolled in HSBC’s CreditKeeper program. I get to check my reports & scores from all 3 bodies every month.

  9. I use Credit Karma as well every month but check my actual FICO credit score and look for anomalies about once per year or before applying for a big loan (whichever comes first). Since I purchase my cars with cash now, it pretty much only happens when I’m moving and buying a new house.

  10. ManVsDebt says:

    Every 4-5 months for free. I don’t plan on using it anytime soon, but check it to ensure their is no misinformation or identity theft going on.

    Good your take this week.

  11. Lazikiwe says:

    I check mine quarterly via a MYFico quarterly check product option, i check it to see whether the impact of my debt payments are now showing up on my credit score as i intend to purchase a bigger house for the family in the near future.

  12. StephaniePTY says:

    Once a month with Credit Karma, and I also stagger my three free reports and pull them every four months. My Credit Karma score hasn’t moved at all since I started checking it in December, which is probably good! I’m hoping it will start to climb up now that my student loans are in repayment – even though it’s a good score now (755), I’d like to see it continue to get better!

  13. freeby50 says:

    I check my credit reports annually with the free service. Plus I get free access to a Transunion credit score called ‘Transrisk’ via a credit card. Its not a FICO though. I don’t check my FICO score. I figure between the credit reports and the fake Transunion score I should be able to keep track if anything is wrong or fraudulent.

    If I was going to gete a big loan then I’d probably spend the money to get all 3 of the real FICO scores.

  14. Diane says:

    I get my free credit report from 1 agency every 4 months through I pay for a score report each time – about $7 each.

    I was getting a free transunion score every month through my WAMU credit card, which I LOVED! Now that WAMU has been taken over by Chase that has gone away. I really miss it…

    I’ve been considering signing up for MyFico because I really like getting a regular credit score.

    I am planning to sell my house next year and buy another, so I will need a new mortgage. I believe in using credit cards to my advantage to build & maintain a good credit score without paying any fees or interest.

    I’m disciplined enough to use their money for free – so why not?

  15. I check it quarterly or more frequently if I am trying to get an error removed.

  16. Hogan says:

    I have never checked my FICO score nor do I hear the professionals I work with or friends ever talk about their FICO score and I am very intereste in PF. Must be a coastal thing because housing is cheaper here in the Midwest and everything used to be more expensive on the coasts which requires larger loans.

  17. TStrump says:

    I check mine at least once per year.
    You can never be too careful.

  18. I just check my credit report on regular intervals throughout the year. I don’t see much of a point my score as long as everything looks good on my report.

  19. Lucy says:

    I was able to jump on one of those Experian free credit monitoring offers a few months ago. So I pretty much pull my credit report every month or so.

  20. Caroline says:

    What are the guidelines for determining poor, good, average, or high credit scores? I just signed up for CreditKarma to find out what my credit score is. I don’t plan on getting a loan, but my house and vehicle insurance just came up for renewal and I know that they use the credit score to determine what my rates will be.

  21. Jeremy says:

    If Credit Karma is using your TransUnion report, does it a) affect your ability to receive one free report per year, or b) affect your very own credit score (soft pull only?)

    Thanks, this is the first time I have heard of Credit Karma.

  22. Millie says:

    I check my CreditKarma score once per month. I also use every six months (always have problems pulling the free Experian report, otherwise I’d be on the every four months plan).

  23. Meg says:

    I check mine with each bureau once a year via I stagger it so that I check one report every 4 months. It costs $5 or so to get the score, but getting the report is free (every consumer is legally entitled to one free credit report a year from each credit bureau, as I’m sure most of you know).

  24. Aroon says:

    where do you subscribe to get the annual free credit report?

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