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4 places to check your credit score before taking out a loan

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Photo Credit: Kittiphan

Credit scores might be even more important than you think: they’re needed for credit cards, mortgages, loans, and in some cases, to secure a job. Knowing your credit score is the first step in finding out the types of loans you’ll qualify for, as well as the interest rates you’ll be looking at.

Checking your credit score in the months leading up to applying for a loan gives you time to take any steps needed to improve your score. Note that while FICO and VantageScore are the two main scoring models, over 90% of financial institutions prefer FICO scores over VantageScore.

Here are a few smart ways to check your credit score before taking out a loan.

Smart Credit: Novel way to check your credit score online

Smart Credit is a great way of viewing your online credit report. It offers innovative action buttons that can also be used for quickly asking questions and resolving them. The platform offers three unique features – ScoreTracker, ScoreBuilder, and ScoreMaster.

ScoreTracker allows you to track your score with charts and offers in-depth information. ScoreBuilder helps in getting a 120-day plan to see what is hurting your score exactly. ScoreMaster allows you to be the master of your score. This tool is helpful before applying for credit, making payments, or spending money.

Credit Karma: Personalized tips

Credit Karma offers free credit reports and scores from Equifax and TransUnion. The reports get updated weekly and you don’t need a credit card to register. However, a downside is that the free reports are based on the VantageScore 3.0 model.

You can also enjoy the free credit monitoring you get, including credit factors analysis. These help in summarizing key details on your credit report. The platform offers a free credit score simulator as well to show how various actions will affect your score. This includes actions like increasing your credit line or adding a new credit card.

Credit Sesame: Scores and reports

Credit Sesame is a credit monitoring service, similar to Credit Karma. However, there are no free reports. You get access to your VantageScore from TransUnion after getting a membership. The site provides personalized tips to achieve your credit goals and profile. It makes money-saving suggestions by gathering all your credit information.

You can use this option to lower your payments if you are overpaying in interest and fees. The site offers credit alerts and monitoring as well to alert you if your identity or profile gets compromised. Consumers can apply for $50,000 in fraud resolution assistance through Credit Sesame.

Quizzle: Free report every three months

You can get a free Equifax credit report and a free VantageScore credit score every three months. Quizzle doesn’t need a credit card to sign up. You can see your payment history and the impact of various credit types on the site.