If you’ve recently heard of the monumental data breach at Equifax that exposed 143 million Americans to identity theft, you might be worried you’re at risk. You should be. Your credit report is a big deal. Aside from holding sensitive information about you like your social security number, it lets you apply for important loans – think buying a house, or a car. And in some cases, the credit score generated by your credit report can even be seen by potential employers.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is usually a number between 300 and 850 that tells lenders how good your credit history is. Some of the data that goes into this score includes how many credit cards you have, how many loans, how much money you owe, and whether or not you pay bills on time. If your credit score is hovering around 300, that’s bad. Good credit can range in the 600s or 700s depending on the company that issues your score.
Your credit score is constantly changing
Your credit score is not indefensible against the ups and downs of life. Your score could change from day to day, depending on your payment history and debt to credit ratio. This means that if you pay a bill late, or you make a large purchase that leaves you with very little credit left on one account, you could see a major change in your credit score almost immediately.
What to do
Simply pay attention – monitor your credit score often to keep tabs on how your credit is changing and keep a look out for anything unexpected. Catching mistakes quickly not only improves your score, but also minimizes the amount of debt you have and pay as much as you can, as quickly as possible toward that debt.
And if you’re not sure whether your information has been exposed in the Equifax breach, you can visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to find out. All Americans are also entitled to free credit monitoring for a year among other services. Find out more from the Federal Trade Commission here: