Knowing your credit score is important, as it will help you measure your financial health as you enter into 2013. Being debt-free is one of the most popular resolutions that individuals make at the start of each New Year, but often they are unsure of where to start or how to begin stitching together the holes in their pockets.

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Personal finance experts say that you should begin by knowing your credit score so you know what financial obligations you should or shouldn’t make as you begin the New Year. Having poor credit could cost you more in the long run — higher security rates for apartments or payments on your car note. You can get turned down for loans or accrue high levels of interest. Know that magic number so you can begin to heal before you unexpectedly do more damage to yourself.

Although you may hear the chant “free credit report” over the radio or on television, often times many of these programs will charge you a fee or require you to sign up with your credit card. They may allow a 7 or 30-day free trial before charging you $10 or more and rope you in with elusive termination commitments. Don’t get sucker-punched by fine print.

Instead opt for these methods that won’t require you to ever sign up with a credit card and are nationally approved. Here are three places where you can access your credit score for free:

1. Credit Sesame

This site visualizes your credit score and lets you know how well you are managing your debts. It also helps you find ways to reduce your debt by letting you set goals and creating a financial plan. The credit score is based on your Experian credit report.

2. Annual Credit Report

To receive all three of your credit reports for free, use this site. AnnualCreditReport.com grants you access to your Equifax, TrnasUnion, and Experian score through a free credit file disclosure. But make sure to choose the day that you request them wisely — you only get to request all three of your reports once every 12 months.

3. Credit Karma

If you’re someone who is very anxious about your credit report and want to see month-to-month changes, creditkarma.com is the site for you. It allows you to check your score daily and data is drawn from your TransUnion credit report. Although it doesn’t supply details, it will let you know what recent changes may have impacted your score, helping you to prevent making future mistakes.

 

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