It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score as it can help you gauge your financial health. I know, I know… Dave Ramsey says “All it tells you is whether you are good at borrowing money and paying it back. ” I just can’t completely agree. Perhaps if you are independently wealthy like Dave Ramsey, then you don’t need to care one bit about your credit score. However, if you’re like most of the rest of us, I believe it pays to maintain a healthy credit score.
I like to use Credit Sesame because it helps me track my financial health. Here are just a few benefits of belonging to Credit Sesame.
Free Credit Score
You can pull your credit report free from AnnualCreditReport.com for all three agencies one time each year, but note that this only provides you with your credit report. You will be given the opportunity to purchase your credit score, and there is a charge for each agency.
With Credit Sesame, you can get your credit score free: “Credit Sesame uses Experian’s National Equivalency Score (not FICO) to give consumers a better idea of their credit standing.”
I have purchased my credit score through AnnualCreditReport and checked against Credit Sesame and they were close enough that I’m satisfied with the number I’m getting from Credit Sesame. I like that I know what the number is, and can see it changing as I’m curious about it. I generally don’t think too much about it unless I see that the number has dropped. Then I know something is going on, and I can check further.
Here is my current credit score through Credit Sesame. As you log in to the site you will be at this page. You can also access it by clicking on “My Finances” and then “My Creditworthiness”. My Credit Score of 763 is considered “Excellent” although it recently dropped by 10 points. I know why this happened – I applied for the Walmart credit card to save $20 on a recent purchase.
You can also find these other questions answered at Credit Sesame.
What Is My Credit Usage?
When you run your credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, you will be able to see how much of your credit you are using, but again you’ll only be able to do this one time each year. With Credit Sesame, you can see this information at any time. Right now my Credit Usage is 7%, that is a good low number. The Credit Usage is the balances on your credit cards divided by the high credit limits on your credit cards. It represents the percentage of your credit that is already utilized. A higher credit usage percentage will tend to reduce your credit score. This is one reason that my Credit Score is higher, because my Credit Usage is low. To see it, go to “My Finances” then “My Credit Worthiness” scroll to the bottom and click on the tab that says, “Credit Usage” under the header “Charts and Trending”.
What Is My Debt to Income Ratio?
Credit Sesame also provides this number, mine is 16%. Some sources suggest staying below 36%, so we are well below the recommendation. To see your number, go to “My Finances” then “My Current Debt” and click on the tab that says “Debt to Income” under the header “Charts and Trending”. You’ll see a pie chart which shows your debt slice as compared the whole pie of your monthly income.
Recommendations for Mortgages, Credit Cards, Home Loans
Under the Advice Tab, Credit Sesame provides a calculator to help you optimize your mortgage, refinance your mortgage, apply for a home loan, credit card or personal loan. This can be a helpful place to start if you are trying to wade your way through the process.
This is how Credit Sesame is able to provide these services for free, on their About Us page, Credit Sesame does disclose that they are paid a small fee if I use their site to apply for and close on a loan. I am also an affiliate for Credit Sesame and if you sign up using my affiliate link I will receive a referral fee.
Check out Credit Sesame, and let me know what you think about it. If you are already a member, I’d love to hear how you utilize the service.