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A Three-Digit Monster

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A survey finds that some people are scared to check their credit scores

by Chris O’Shea

Are you afraid of your credit score? If so, we understand. Those three little numbers seem — more than ever — to be looked at as a measure of your adulthood and overall capability. However, you’re only hurting yourself by avoiding that three-digit number. That’s one of the findings of a recent study from WalletHub. The report asked 500 adult consumers about their credit scores and found that 14 percent of adults avoid their scores because they’re afraid of what they’ll find.

As you likely know already, your credit score is incredibly important. The higher your score — they range anywhere from about 300 to 850, with anything above 740 considered excellent — the lower interest rates you’re offered from mortgage lenders, car dealerships, credit card companies and more. As CNBC explains, a person with a “fair” score of between 580 and 669 will pay roughly $45,000 more in interest than someone with a score of 740 or higher. That’s a huge difference. If you’re avoiding your score, you’ll never know if there’s an inaccuracy on it that could be bringing your number down, thus costing you plenty. The FTC says that about 20 percent of all credit reports contain an error, yet another reason to make sure you’re on top of things.

If you’re avoiding your credit report because you know what you’re going to see isn’t pretty, you still need to check it. Doing so (you can check your credit for free once per year via the three main credit bureaus) will give you knowledge, which will give you power. You can see exactly what’s hurting you the most and make changes accordingly. Perhaps you’re often late with your bills. Alter your habits to make those payments on time and watch your score improve. Maybe your credit utilization is way too high. Pay down your balance and fix that mistake.

No matter what the reason is that you’ve been avoiding your credit score, it’s time to make a change. That three digit number is simply too important to ignore.