Your credit score may be higher than you think, thanks to a rule that went into effect on July 1.
Credit reporting agencies now have to confirm that you actually own the debt they are slapping on your credit report.
That means knowing your name, address, and social security number or birth date.
Hard to believe, but that wasn't a requirement before with certain debts like judgments and liens.
The change could mean up to a 20 point jump for some consumers.
So how do you find out?
You could go to Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and buy your score. But chances are--you can probably get it for free.
First, check with your credit card company or bank to see if they will give it to you at no charge.
Neither of those websites ask for credit card info but you do have to answer some questions to verify who you are and provide the last four digits of the social security number.
Beware of websites that ask for you to enter a credit or debit card number. You are likely signing up for monthly monitoring and a recurring bill that you don't want.
Keep in mind you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus every 12 months.
By law, the reports are available from annualcreditreport.com at no charge.