For the most part, there’s no good reason to not check your credit score. There are so many places you can get free credit scores, so access isn’t an issue, and even though all those scores are a bit different, they can be very helpful as you make financial decisions. Checking your credit scores is so easy (you can get your free credit score on Credit.com), you can make it part of your personal finance routine from the start of your adult life. But that’s not what people actually do.
Only half of college students check their credit scores, according to a survey from U.S. Bank of undergraduates ages 18 to 30. The survey was conducted online and fielded responses from 1,640 part- and full-time undergraduate students in the U.S.
Perhaps some of those students don’t have credit scores to check — unless you have a credit card or a loan, you won’t have a credit history on which to base credit scores — but given the ubiquity of student loans, it seems unlikely that such a large share of students are without credit scores.
As soon as you start using credit, you need to keep track of how well you’re managing it. Credit scores are used for a number of common things, like getting an apartment, setting up utilities, activating a cellphone account and getting car insurance, to name a few. Of course, if you want to get credit cards, an auto loan or a mortgage at some point, you’ll want a great credit score: The better your credit score, the more options you have when shopping for credit products, and the lower your interest rates on borrowed money are likely to be.
Make checking your credit scores a habit, just like reviewing your bank account activity or maintaining your budget. (If you’re not doing those things, you might want to re-evaluate your approach to money management.) No matter what scores you look at, make sure you know how to understand the number. Credit score ranges are different and are generated using different formulas, but they pretty much measure the same things, like payment history and debt levels. You can read more about understanding your credit score here.
- What’s a Bad Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Reports
- How to Pick a Credit Card for Building Credit
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
This article by Christine DiGangi was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.