Most of us are used to the idea of receiving a score to rate our performance. We can see and experience this concept in school, sports, and others areas. Did you know that you also receive a score based on how well you have managed your finances? This score, called a credit score, can have a powerful effect on one’s life.

You may be wondering just how powerful it can be. Well, let me tell you. Let’s say that you want to apply for a credit card. Before any company will give you access to such a tool, it will be sure to check your credit score. If your score is lower than they would like, they will simply refuse to issue you a credit card and you will be left up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Of course, some of you may be thinking that you don’t plan to apply for any credit cards and as such you have no need to worry about your credit score. That is wishful thinking, to be sure. Those that wish to take out a loan to pay for their education, purchase a vehicle, or even acquire a house will soon find that having a good credit score will not only give them access to the loan but also to the best interest rates.

You might even find that your credit score comes into play when renting an apartment, getting insurance, buying a cell phone plan, or even signing up for the use of utilities. The possible uses of a credit score to evaluate you as a potential customer are endless. Thus, it is highly recommended that you know your credit score and work hard to either maintain or increase it.

Now, you can pay a company to check your credit score. But, why do that when you can get a free annual credit report instead? Isn’t that what some folks like to refer to as a “no-brainer.” I believe it is. I mean, why spend money on something you can get for free, right?

Luckily for all of us, the United States federal law states that each and every one of us is entitled to one free annual credit report from all three credit reporting agencies (Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®). Just to be clear, this means one report every 12 months. According to Experian’s website, you can gain access to these free reports online (, via phone (1-877- FACTACT), or via snail mail (Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281).

Taking the time to get your free annual credit report will ensure that you stay up-to-date regarding your current financial standing and help you to catch and correct any errors that may have occurred in calculating your score. It will give you the peace of mind you need when you set out to do some of those big things in life such as going to school, buying a car, or getting your first house.