Checking your credit score: Read the fine print

Checking your credit score: Read the fine printConsumers must realize that it is important to know where they stand financially, as being unaware could have a serious impact on their ability to secure a used car loan, good interest rates, mortgages and more. While everyone is entitled to one free annual credit report from each of the three major bureaus, finding out your FICO score is not complimentary.

Checking your credit score can cost up to $20 per institution. However, the bureaus often promote discounted score retrieval – but consumers should make sure to look at the fine print.

For example, Experian is offering a deal that allows individuals to see their credit score for only $1, which involves an automatic trial membership with its credit monitoring program. The first few days are free, but if you don't cancel within the allotted time, you will be charged a monthly fee.

The deal is certainly beneficial to consumers, as its program allows them to see each minute detail of their credit report and also to utilize a score simulator that will show users how their score will fluctuate with various financial decisions. Just make sure to cancel prior to the beginning of the billing period to avoid being charged.