I’m sure you’ve seen the TV ads. Social media posts. Direct mail.

Virtually everyone (mostly credit card companies) are offering you the ability to sign up, view your credit score and get notified if your score changes. Now, you can sign up to be notified if a company performs a credit check on you, too.

But did you know that in addition to getting your credit score, that you are entitled to receive an explanation of the range of the score and a graph on how your score compares to other consumer scores? This applies to everyone — mortgage companies, auto dealerships, credit card companies, landlords, insurance agents, utilities — basically anyone who uses a credit score.

If you want to get the best interest rate, contact the creditor who sent you your score and ask how many additional points are needed to put you in their top credit tier. If they tell you 15 or 20, it’s fairly easy to get it increased. If it’s 100, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

If you have negative credit history and you want to improve your score, you can work with a credit repair company. Beware of any company that charges you before they get anything corrected or removed from your report, however.

If you’re planning on requesting credit in the future, order a credit report ahead of time and see what’s on it. The law allows you one free credit report every year. AnnualCreditReport.com However, a credit score is NOT included so consider buying your credit score ahead of time. MyFico.com

If you decide to buy your score, be careful NOT to accidentally sign up for a credit monitoring service, which would be billed to you on a monthly basis.

Learn what goes into a credit score. ScoreInfo.org has an educational website with great explanations on what influences credit scores.

Over 2/3 of consumers haven’t viewed their free credit report in the last 12 months. Even if you aren’t applying for credit — you should know what’s on your report!

Content provided by Women Belong member Barb Patterson