As far as your financial life is concerned, having a good credit score is everything. A good score lowers interest rates on the lines of credit you'll be extended, meaning that you'll pay less over the life of the loan in total. Insurance, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and even employment may be affected by your score. So you'd better have a good one.
In contrast, people with a bad (or even even average) score might find out that they are going to have a very rough time in their life. They may have a hard time finding a lending institution that is willing to lend to them, and even if they do, they may only be able to get high interest loans that leave them paying exorbitant interest rate payments every month.
Before you set out to inquire about getting a loan for any reason, you should be armed with your credit score and know what is in your credit report. So it's important to know how to get a report. By law, the three major credit reporting bureaus are required to provide consumers with a free copy of their report every year. The bureaus are called Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The report they provide has information on your open lines of credit and your payment history on each one. A line of credit includes any outstanding loans you have, credit cards, and so on. Unfortunately, the credit report you receive from them does not include the three-digit score that lenders will see most often.
By looking at the information on your credit report, however, you can get a pretty good idea of what your numerical score might be using online score calculators. So what about the many companies that advertise free scores? Well, these companies are not lying, but they are not being completely truthful. You have to pay a subscription fee to a credit monitoring service (or similar service), and then you get a free and complimentary credit report with it.
So free credit services are not actually free. Now you know how to get a credit report: contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus and request your free annual copy. It's a good idea to get copies from all three (which is allowed) because they do not all contain identical information. Your score is very important to your life, so you need to know what it is.