CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you don't know your credit score, you might find out from an unexpected source.
Starting July 21st, the government will require banks and lenders to tell you your score if they deny your request for a loan or credit card.
They're just numbers. Just three little numbers. But put those numbers together, and they can be a sign of your future. They can determine if you can buy a car, afford a new house, or open a credit card. That's right we're talking about your credit score.
"How can they fix it if they're wrong, I mean notoriously credit reports are wrong," said Sandy Schooley with Bank Star Mortgage.
Schooley says they always tell their customers what their score is if it isn't high enough for approval. Something the government is now forcing all banks and lenders to do.
"The customer comes in, they give us their private information, social security, address, everything, birth date, so forth so on, and we pull their credit, they have a right to know what's on there," said Schooley.
Schooley says they've had customers learn about a bad score, and then make changes to improve it.
But Debbie Robertson says she doesn't think this type of knowledge will have that power.
"No I don't think the majority of people will change anything, they'll just find another way," said Robertson.
Schooley suggests if someone wants to a buy a home or car in the next 6 months, to start looking at the quality of your credit report now.
"I think they should check their credit report at least once a year, at least," said Schooley.
Once a year, to make any changes before it's too late and the bank has to tell you in a denial letter.
"How can they fix it if they don't know what needs to be fixed," said Schooley.
Schooley says there are a couple things you can do to improve your credit score.
She says to pay off your credit card debt, so that you don't owe more than 30 percent of your limit. Make sure previously paid payments clear. She says sometimes even if you pay off debt, credit agencies don't know about the payment. And, look for any outstanding debt. She says sometimes places like a doctor's office won't send a bill, so you won't even know about outstanding debt unless you look for it.