Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

How do I check my credit score?

You can check your credit score in a number of ways by using free online services such as Credit Sesame and Credit Karma. Your credit card company may also provide your free credit score on statements or online. Also, some bank services allow you to view your credit score. 

Another option is to obtain a credit score and report from each of the three mail credit bureaus for a fee. 

How quickly can I improve my credit score?

Credit scores typically update at least every 30 days. Your credit score changes based on the information in your credit report and one of the quickest ways to improve your credit score is to pay down some of your existing debt. This will lower your credit utilization rate as well as your total debt amount. 

That said, it can take time to build strong credit and may take months or even years to see significant changes depending on your situation. For example, if your credit score is high due to several high inquiries and a limited credit history length, it will take time for those inquiries to fall off your report and for your length of credit history period to increase.

Establish positive financial habits to steadily improve your credit over time.

Does a bad credit score mean I can’t qualify for a loan?

Bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t qualify for a loan. However, it does improve the chances of getting higher loan fees and less favorable terms. There are some lenders who will deny borrowers with bad credit while others may be willing to work with them. It all depends on your unique situation and the type of credit you’re trying to apply for. 

If you’re trying to get a rewards credit card, you may get denied with bad credit. But if you are trying to apply for an auto loan and you meet all the other requirements, you may get approved but just pay a higher interest rate.

Why does my credit score go up and down?

Your credit score fluctuates because your financial situation is often changing. Every month, the number of credit inquiries you have, minimum payment amounts, and total debt amounts can change which will impact your credit score. If you apply for new credit or close an account, your score can also change. 

Also, new credit scoring models and rules get introduced periodically which can cause your score to change as well.

Does overdrafting affect credit score?

No, overdrafting happens when your purchase amount exceeds the amount in your bank account. Checking account activity doesn’t impact your credit score unless you have a negative balance that gets reported to collections. 

About the Authors

Choncé Maddox

Written by: Choncé Maddox

Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI)

Choncé Maddox is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and personal finance freelance writer.

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