How Your Credit Score Affects Your Life + Credit Sesame Review

The finance world seems to be divided on the topic of credit scores (even if there are free credit scores) and their importance. Some are all about using their credit to their advantage, whereas others do not care about their credit history at all and think it’s unnecessary and evil. I’m on the pro credit side….

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 31, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Find out how your credit score affects your life. This is a great list!The finance world seems to be divided on the topic of credit scores (even if there are free credit scores) and their importance.

Some are all about using their credit to their advantage, whereas others do not care about their credit history at all and think it’s unnecessary and evil.

I’m on the pro credit side. I think your credit history can be used to your advantage, so why not work to improve it?

Plus, you can check your credit score for free. Just click here to find out what your credit score is.

As a background for why we care about our credit right now: We are in the very beginning stages of buying a new home. Since we are both self-employed, obtaining a mortgage is a little more difficult. Having a great credit score is one of the areas where we will be analyzed. We also care about our credit because we like to use credit cards with great rewards programs.

Why is your credit score important?

There are too many people out there who have no clue what their credit score is. Too many people also have never checked their credit report. It doesn’t make much sense since you can get your free credit score easily and you can even get your credit score online for free.

I think this is a MAJOR problem.

Your credit score and credit history are important. You can leverage them and use them to your advantage. Yes, it is possible to have the credit system on your side and have the highest credit score you’ve ever had.

A credit score usually means you can keep more of your money because you will receive lower interest rates on your home or car loan. For example, if you have an excellent credit score, you may be able to qualify for a 0% car loan. However, if you had a bad credit score, you may receive a 24% interest rate on your car loan. Yes, that does exist…

Also, if your credit score isn’t high enough, you may even be completely denied a loan. You may have to pay higher rates or pay larger deposits because you are deemed more risky.

Overall, a good credit score can help you in life.

In the next few weeks, I will talk discuss what is a good credit score, but for today we will talk about why a credit score is important.

 

When will your credit score be checked?

How some go about with never needing their credit score or credit report is beyond me. Good for those of you who do not need it, but I think most people enjoy having a credit history.

There are many instances where your credit score and/or credit report may be looked at, and sometimes they have nothing to do with a loan.

Home and car insurance – If you have car or home insurance, your rate may be calculated on one factor that you did not know about – your credit score. If your credit score isn’t good, then you may actually be paying more because companies may consider you to be more risky.

Employer – This might be shocking to hear, but there are some employers out there who will check your credit report (with your permission). Industries that often check your credit report include those that deal with financial services, chemical, and defense.

Renting a home – If you have decided that you don’t want to own a home, do not think that you have escaped having your credit history checked. Your landlord will most likely check your credit history. They will want to know if you pay your bills on time or if you have skipped bills entirely. This will say a lot about you as a renter, whether you want to believe it or not. If your credit history is not something they want to see, you may be denied the rental altogether, you may be asked to pay multiple months at once, or you may be asked to find a co-signer just in case you fail to pay your rent.

Credit cards – If you don’t care about credit, then you probably will not care about this one. However, if you want a credit card, especially one with a good rewards system in place (learn more at How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40), then you will want a higher credit score. The good reward credit card offers and acceptances are usually only available to though with good or excellent credit scores.

Loans (home, car, etc.) – If you apply for a loan, your credit score and credit history will definitely be checked. Before you are approved for a loan of any sort, the lending institution is going to thoroughly check your financial history so that they don’t end up losing money on your loan. There are a lot of expenses that go into owning a home, so getting the lowest interest rate possible is very important.

 

Credit Sesame Review

I once signed up for a free credit score company who used to have those catchy singing commercials. I thought it they were supplying a free credit score, and I remember being charged months later. I didn’t catch the charge the first time either, and I was actually charged a few times before I noticed.

Yes, yes, I know. I’m a personal finance blogger who made a huge mistake!

However, that was a long time ago and I have learned from my mistakes. And that’s why I want to do a review on Credit Sesame so that you can check your credit score for free.

If you are looking for a truly free credit monitoring service, then Credit Sesame is for you. Other companies say that they are free, but they usually charge you a fee later on when you probably won’t notice. Credit Sesame doesn’t ask for your credit card, so there is NO WAY that they can secretly charge you later.

Credit Sesame uses the Experian National Equivalency score, whereas most lenders will look at the FICO score. However, the scores are usually fairly similar.

Okay, so you’re probably wondering how everything is free. They must make money somehow right? Well, yes they do. Credit Sesame makes money by showing you different home loans and credit cards you may qualify for. If anyone clicks on these links, then they may make money that way.

Your next question may be “Will checking my free credit score on Credit Sesame hurt my score?” Nope! It is just a soft pull so it will not affect your credit score.

If you are interested in checking your FREE credit score through Credit Sesame click here. It’s completely free.

How often do you check your credit score? Are you trying to increase your credit score? Why or why not?


Filed under:

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

Like this article?

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Do you think that student loans affect my credit score? I just want to know because I just graduated, which means I need to pay it some of it as soon as I get a job. ๐Ÿ™

  2. I used to check my credit score around every time I apply to a credit card. I’m a recovering churner, so that was probably once every 3 months, maybe? Now I check my score every month or so because I’m looking to buy a house and hoping my old points-and-miles ways won’t hurt me (so far they haven’t).

    1. Glad to see someone who checks their credit score! Good job.

      Yes, I was a serial churner and luckily it hasn’t hurt me too much.

      When do you plan on buying a home?

      1. I’m hoping to buy a house in early 2015 or so. It’d be nice if my credit score were like, ten points higher, but I doubt the churning really made a difference (my FICO was actually about the same or lower beforehand, so).

        1. You probably have some time for it to increase. Good luck!

  3. I’m also in the camp of using credit cards–both for the rewards and to help out my credit score. Interestingly, our credit scores jumped up AFTER we bought a house. We had good credit before too, but getting a loan secured by property really boosted them up!

    1. Interesting! I’ve never heard of that. I should have checked my credit score after we bought our home.

  4. I monitor our overall credit picture on Credit Karma. I don’t really care if my score is super high, but I don’t want it to take any big hits either. We currently have over 50 credit cards, so I think it is important to watch things closely. (Obviously, we are debt-free- the cards are just for rewards)

    1. Wow! I wouldnโ€™t be able to manage 50 credit cards. How do you manage all of them?

      1. 50?! That’s amazing. I see a future blog post about how you manage that ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. kammi

    Wow. 50? Haha. Sounds like me and bank/brokerage accounts (I collect them; my broker was laughing at me about this recently). Unfortunately, I do not have a credit score or credit history ๐Ÿ™ Great profile pic, btw Michelle!

    1. I wouldn’t be able to manage so many accounts! Me and my husband have about 6 or 7 credit cards altogether. I’m definitely not a professional credit card churner ๐Ÿ™‚

      Are you working on getting a credit history?

      Thanks too. I love my profile picture as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Jen @ Save to Splurge

    Love this post! I actually scheduled a credit score post for next month! I have a Discover card and they give me my credit score for free every month. So I check it monthly. I’m not trying to increase it, just trying to maintain it right now.

  7. I love credit (maybe because mine is good, haha). Some of my credit cards have credit score tracking as a perk which is pretty cool. I get an alert whenever my score changes.

    1. That’s a great perk!

  8. I check my credit score monthly just because I use tools that give me free scores and I am nerdy that way. I am getting a degree in Personal Financial Planning so looking at my scores, ratings, and balances is part of my daily life any way!!!

    I have a great credit score (well THREE great scores) and I wear them like a badge of honor. I was debt free but then ended up going back into debt for school..but this will soon pay off when I graduate!

  9. “I think your credit history can be used to your advantage, so why not work to improve it?” <– For me, the answer is because I don't want to be in debt forever. You have to dance around with debt, and as soon as my student loans are gone, I don't plan to do that anymore. I think it's personal preference, too. As a spender, I don't want temptation from a credit card. But I'm glad to see that you're smart and can use it wisely!

    1. Thanks Natalie! Credit is definitely not for everyone. What if you want to buy a home though?

  10. I’ve never had an error on our credit report, but I know that happens quite often. I also had a friend had a huge hit in credit score after his son stopped paying on a loan my friend cosigned for. He had no idea until he tried to refinance his house, many months after the loan stopped being paid. I think you should check it at least a couple of times a year, and maybe more if you have cosigned or have some other payment that is not entirely under your control.

    1. Yes, great point Kim! You should definitely check your credit report if you cosigned on a loan.

  11. At the end of every month I update my Big Personal Finance spreadsheet (http://www.lesliebeslie.com/2014/01/15/2014-budget-template-personal-finance-spreadsheet/). There’s a tab for things like my credit card, networth, and credit score. I really like seeing it change month-to-month and always knowing what it is.

    1. Sounds like you are doing well with tracking everything Leslie! Good job.

  12. I’ve never actually checked my credit score…. the only time I’ve had it mentioned was when we were going to get a mortgage from the bank ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. What?! You need to check it Nicola! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Do you ever check your credit history?

  13. When you log into your Discover account you can see your FICO score. It’s always just right there for you to view, so it’s super convenient. With that being said, a service like Credit Sesame that offers credit monitoring could be valuable for people who are looking to get a mortgage or other big loan in the near future.

    1. Wow that’s nice! I don’t have a Discover card but that’s a nice feature.

  14. Yes, you definitely don’t want to miss a mistake.

  15. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    I love this post! I always get confused with credit score stuff. I know mine’s okay, but I never check it because I’m super paranoid about which sites to use, haha!

    1. Haha Credit Sesame is a great website to use. It’s free!

  16. Kate

    Great post! I’ve been procrastinating with checking my credit score…it’s been at least three years. And I know better….I was once turned down for an awesome job because my score was too low after a nasty divorce. You’ve inspired me to get crack’n. Thanks much.

    1. Welcome Kate ๐Ÿ™‚ That really stinks about the job!

  17. I love making credit work for me. I never pay interest (knock on wood) and don’t intend to. But small slip up could cost me in my score though!

    Jay

    1. Lets hope neither of us messes up ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

    I don’t check my credit score as often as I should, but I check it about once a year. I’d like to do something like Credit Sesame or Karma where I could ballpark my credit more often – I just am curious about things like that ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You should! It’s free ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Yes, everyone is different! We are working on our credit score since we want to buy a home within the next 1.5 years.

  20. Oh no! I will look into that. I do think Credit Sesame is only open to those in the U.S.

  21. When my in-laws applied for a mortgage last June, they really had a hard time since they don’t use credit card ever since, they prefer to use cash all the time. It almost took them for about 2 months to get approved because the company told them that they don’t have any credit score to refer, they just did a thorough background check.

    1. Interesting to hear! I wonder how that would work if the person was self-employed.

  22. Our credit score is pretty phenomenal after running up a bunch of debt and then paying it off.. It’s one of the strange side effects of getting yourself in trouble. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I never knew credit scores were so important especially if you are going to be paying 24 % in interest on a car loan

    1. Yes, credit scores are very important! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I check my score using credit sesame every month too. They even send me an email when my score has been updated for the month. I love it!

  25. Stephanie

    I’m on the pro-credit side! I use credit cards to my advantage and almost always pay them off in full. Once in a great while I will strategically carry a balance from one month to the next, but overall I’ve received much more in rewards than I’ve paid in interest, so it’s totally worth it to me. Having an excellent credit score has meant getting low rates on a mortgage and car loan, which is obviously also a huge savings.

    I’ve never personally had a job check my credit as a condition of employment, but I work for county government and for certain jobs we do check credit scores. Corrections officers comes to mind, because if they are in financial trouble they may be more likely to accept a bribe, which could potentially put security at the jail at risk.

    It’s actually been awhile since I’ve checked my credit report, since I haven’t applied for any loans or lines of credit in a few years now, but I really should start doing it more regularly in order to catch identity theft early. Oops?

    1. Good to hear about a job that does credit checks. I never even thought about that type of job doing one. Makes complete sense.

  26. I’m definitely on the pro credit side like yourself. I love getting new credit cards every few months for rewards. What’s cool is now a lot of credit card companies allow you to track your score for free, and I can see that getting more credit is actually RAISING my score over time. Pretty cool. Great post.

  27. I love Credit Sesame. I am glad I have it and the information they provide is good to have.

  28. Mi

    I have an account with both Credit Sesame and Credit karma (both free) and they work excellent. I also pull my report from each of the three bureaus once per year, quarterly. This allows me to see it throughout the year, and I get a sense of which bureau is reporting/showing what.

  29. Nancy

    It was great to know about Credit Sesame and Credit karma. I was never aware of them. It will definitely help me and a lot of us.