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How often should I check my credit score?

Check your credit report at least once a year, if not more often, as part of your normal financial management practices.

You can get a free report and FICO score at, which is an Experian company, and does not require any credit card information. In addition to the score and report, you receive an explanation of the risk factors from your credit history that most affected the score.

Federal law also allows you to request a free report from each of the national credit reporting companies once every 12 months at

The free annual report does not include a credit score, but you can purchase your credit score when you request your report. Scores typically cost less than $15 and also include the number and an explanation of what the score means and the risk factors from your report that are most influencing the number.

Get your credit report three to six months prior to applying for credit along with your credit score to make sure everything is in good shape before you apply.

You should not have any surprises when you walk into the lender to apply.

If you are working on improving your credit history, it may make sense to subscribe to a credit monitoring service that lets you access your reports. Experian offers these services at

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Join our live video chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET on Periscope. Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian, is available to answer your questions live.

Scoped on: 08/11/2016