Got Cash ... to Get Your Credit Score?

Got Cash ... to Get Your Credit Score?

Curious whether you’d get approved for a mortgage or another type of loan—today?

Well, it just got a little bit easier to find out.

On Monday, Experian, one of the three major credit-reporting companies, introduced a new component to its credit-monitoring service: access to a FICO score.

Interested? You can sign up now—for $21.95 a month.

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There are a number of different credit scores that you can access free of charge—but FICO scores are special.

According to financial-services research firm CEB TowerGroup, FICO scores are used to make 90% of consumer-lending decisions. So knowing yours can provide insight into whether you might be eligible for a mortgage or an auto loan, for example, or a lower interest rate on a current loan.

Of course, Experian is hardly the only company to show consumers their FICO scores. At myFICO.com, you can pull your score from any one of the three major credit-reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—for $19.95 a month. Or you can opt to pay about $15 a month to pull yours separately from Equifax.

But it seems as though Experian seeks to go above and beyond the basics. Starting in 2015, the credit company will also let subscribers see their FICO score weighted specifically toward mortgages, car loans or credit cards, which could make the service more helpful than others showing a single stat.

That said, there are still plenty of opportunities to access your FICO for much less than $22. Last year, FICO also began collaborating with lenders including Citigroup, Discover Financial Services and SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae) to offer its credit scores for free in the new year. FICO predicts that these partnerships will give nearly 60 million U.S. consumers access to their FICO scores, as opposed to 32 million today.

That’s heartening news, considering that the first step to boosting your credit score is monitoring it closely. Once you know your number, you can set about making it higher by keeping credit checks to a minimum and being aware of your credit limits.

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