It is important to know your credit limits and score and understand what contributes to a good or bad score.
The first step to boosting your credit score is to learn what it is. There are plenty of paid and free ways to check your credit score. One of the most robust platforms to look up your credit score and explore the contributing factors is Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame is a free option and does so much more than just give users their credit scores. Continue reading to learn more about how Credit Sesame works and all the capabilities it has to serve you better.
What is Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame is an online platform that allows users to check their credit scores, learn about finances, know what credit score is considered good, and set financial goals. They do so by offering the following services to their customers:
- Check your credit score.
- Get your credit report.
- Monitor your credit
- Get identity theft protection.
Credit Sesame uses TransUnion to pull users’ credit scores monthly. TransUnion is one of the three largest credit reporting bureaus. They also offer daily credit monitoring.
Credit Sesame Credit Score and Monitoring
Credit sesame is known for giving users the ability to access their credit scores for free. The score is updated monthly so that users can track important financial trends and investigate any marks on their reports. Using the credit score and monitoring features does not make hard inquiries on your credit report. Therefore, it does not impact your credit score to use Credit Sesame.
It is important not only to know your credit score but to understand what may impact it. By monitoring the changes to your credit score ranges, you can be aware of what you do that affects it. These impacts can be positive or negative, so monitoring them is essential.
Therefore, Credit Sesame also offers free credit monitoring. Users can set up alerts to automatically email them when their credit score changes. This is extremely helpful for people who do not want to log in weekly or monthly to see their credit score and dig into what has affected it. Instead, the website does all the leg work for you.
Credit monitoring is also important because it will help you guard yourself against identity theft or fraud. It will also help you find any errors in your credit report. If you see an irregularity or inaccuracy on your credit report, you will have the opportunity to report them.
Many people simply learn their credit scores and move on. However, when you are aware of what is contributing to your score, you can better defend yourself and build an excellent credit score as needed.
Your credit score is made up of a variety of factors and can change your credit score monthly. These include:
If you make your payments on time and do not typically carry a balance, you will help your credit score. However, late payments, accounts in collections, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and other negative financial situations can cause your credit score to fall.
You should always understand how much credit you are using and how much is available to you. Experts recommend using less than a third of what is available to you on credit cards to maintain a good credit score. High credit utilization looks like a risk to companies that will consider lending to you, so be sure to keep your credit use ratio low.
Credit Sesame will tell users how old each of their credit accounts is. You should strive to keep the same accounts open for a longer period permitting that they are not causing you to pay extra. For example, if you have a credit card, you should pay it off in full each month but continue to keep it open to extend your average credit age. Alternatively, if you are not using that card but continue to pay fees on it, you should close that line of credit.
You should have a good mix of different types of credit accounts. These may include student loans, credit cards, a mortgage, and more. Lenders will use this to evaluate if you can handle adding a new line of credit.
You should keep your number of hard credit inquiries low. A hard inquiry occurs when you apply for credit. You will get a hard inquiry if you apply for debt, so be judicious about when you choose to apply for an auto or home loan and how often you take out new credit cards. Applying for a mortgage is also a hard inquiry.
Be mindful that soft inquiries do not affect your credit score. A soft credit is when you or a creditor reviews your credit score. Soft inquiries are not generated by checking your credit score or getting preapproved for a loan. If you are unsure if a lender is going to do a hard or soft credit pull, ask them before authorizing that they check your credit score.
Credit Sesame Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft can lead to devastating financial effects. Identity theft can lead to low credit scores, massive debt, or even bankruptcy down the road. Therefore, it is very important to monitor your credit. The Credit Sesame platform offers $50,000 in identity theft insurance to all its members for free.
If you were to have your identity stolen while using the Credit Sesame monitoring service, the insurance would help by providing you with guidance and possible financial support while restoring your identity. Of course, you should take every step to avoid credit card or identity fraud. However, if you run into issues, Credit Sesame can help you work through them.
Credit Sesame Financial Snapshot
As a Credit Sesame customer, you will see a ‘My Finances’ tab when you are logged in from a web browser. You will be able to submit your bank account information as well as various credit cards and other accounts to see what your financial standings are. This will give you a peek into your debt-to-income ratio and will include a snapshot of your monthly budget.
It is vital to understand what kind of debt you have and whether you are spending or earning more each month. Credit Sesame helps you to gain this understanding by creating easy-to-read graphs and other visuals. When you understand your debt and income, you can make more educated financial goals and decisions.
Credit Sesame Financial Goals
While logged in to Credit Sesame, you can navigate to the ‘My Goals’ section. This portion of the website is very interactive. You can create up to eight goals and track them as you move closer to these goals. You can choose goals like improving your credit score, paying off debt, making all your payments online, and more.
After you submit a goal, you will have two options. The website will prompt you to ‘See Advice’ or will have a box that says, ‘No Advice Yet.’ This advice isn’t typically as strong as you would receive from a financial advisor but often helps to set users in the right direction. This can be very helpful when understanding the first steps toward reaching your goal.
It is important to note that many of the pieces of financial advice are tied to a sales plug. The website may prompt you to purchase an additional service. While these services may be helpful, do not go further into debt by purchasing a product you might not need. However, many of these pieces of advice are genuine, and if put into practice, can help you achieve the financial goals you have set.
Should You Sign Up with Credit Sesame?
Credit Sesame has four membership levels. The free level provides you with all the services listed above. The Advanced Credit level costs $9.95 a month and includes daily TransUnion credit score updates, monthly updates from the top three credit reporting bureaus, and full credit reports each month from all three as well.
The Pro Credit level includes all the above plus full identity protection, credit monitoring and alerts from each of the three bureaus, and 24/7 access to experts who can help you work through any inaccuracies on your credit report. Pro Credit costs $15.95 per month.
Finally, the Platinum Protection subscription costs $19.95 per month and includes everything that the Pro Credit level does. Additionally, it allows users access to 24/7 lost or stolen wallet protection, black market website, public records monitoring, and Social Security Number monitoring.
Users have several options when choosing to sign up for Credit Sesame. While their free offering suits most users, if you need more monitoring or access to professionals, then one of the higher levels might be best for you.
Ultimately, Credit Sesame is secure, easy to use, and free. We can put our stamp of approval on Credit Sesame. Overall, being aware of your credit score and what contributes to it can help you boost your credit score.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.