Credit Reports and Credit Scores

"I really should check my credit report."

"I wonder about my credit score."

How many times have you had these thoughts?  I always encourage you to check your credit report regularly, but I know it is hard to keep up with everything.  Today I've been lucky enough to stumble across one more way to make it easier:  a free (with promotional code) credit report and BrightScore from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is a non-governmental regulatory group for US securities firms.  The FINRA Investor Education Foundation offers a wide variety of educational information and tools, including and the Military Spouse Fellowship for the Accredited Financial Counselor Program, plus they are a partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign.

BrightScore is a comprehensive and detailed analysis of your credit report and credit score.  BrightScore uses information pulled from Experian to estimate your FICO score, including information about how it was calculated and the key factors that are influencing your credit score.  It also makes recommendations for areas to improve.

I used this program today and it is by far the easiest credit reporting tool I've used yet.  The layout is clear and sensible, and the level of detail is excellent.  I was quickly and easily able to tell the areas in which my credit score has room for improvement.  Plus, the program helps you set up a set-by-set plan for improving your score and includes 90 days of free telephone access to financial counselors who can answer your questions.

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is making it's BrightScore product available free to active duty military members and their spouses.  In order to access this free report, you will need a promotional code that can be obtained from your command or installation Personal Financial Manager.  It may be a small effort to get the code but I think it is more than worth it.  The information in this particular report is presented so well that you are sure to benefit from it.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.