Working to restore your credit is not always an easy endeavor, especially if you have more than one account in arrears which is affecting your credit score. With an easy to use online credit score estimator, sometimes referred to as a credit score calculator, you can estimate approximately what your current score is as well as what it will be in the future.
Six Questions to Answer Using a Credit Score Estimator
There are actually six different categories which most online credit score estimators use to calculate a rough approximation of your current score. Of course you will need to know what has been reported to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and/or TransUnion) along with how much money you currently owe in back debts. This will also include current debts, such as outstanding balances on credit cards. The questions usually fall into these categories:
- Negative items listed on your credit report
- Number of open and closed accounts listed on your credit report
- Total of all credit card accounts
- Sum of all current credit card balances
- Within the past 6 months, how often you have applied for credit
- The age of your oldest loan or open credit card
However, the second question usually has multiple parts. The number of open and closed accounts listed on your credit report also fall into rough categories. For example, you may be asked how many of the following accounts are listed on your report:
- Credit Cards
- Finance Accounts
- Auto Loans
- Student Loans
- Other types of loans or revolving lines of credit
Each web site you visit will have a different variation of these questions, but they will be quite similar. The purpose for this is because your FICO score is based on certain criteria and in order to estimate your score it is important to have the information handy for the calculator to evaluate and give weight to.
How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
There are a few ways in which to get your credit report, all of which are free but some ways will not reflect on your credit score. The first thing you should realize is that every time a creditor runs your credit history it will reflect on your credit report. If you apply for credit and are denied, you are legally entitled to a copy of your credit report for free but keep in mind that each inquiry is reflected on your report as is the fact you were denied credit. The law also states that each and every consumer in the United States is entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies one time per year.
Many people contact each of the reporting agencies individually but this can be time consuming. There are, in fact, credit monitoring companies that can help you get your free credit reports while also monitoring any changes that occur. There is a fee for the credit monitoring service but the reports themselves are free. Every time a change occurs on your credit report you are notified of the change which enables you to keep tabs on whether or not there are any errors or fraudulent entries being made.
Once you have a copy of all three credit reports for free, you simply plug in the information requested on the credit score estimator and you will have a pretty close approximation of what your FICO score will be. Remember, the government entitles you to a copy of your credit report so that you can monitor what is being reported but you would need to pay for a copy of your credit score. For this reason, many people regularly take advantage of free online credit score estimators.