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Older millennials are more on top of their credit scores than everyone else

Millennials often, and unfairly, get a bad rap for how they deal with money. In one of the many ways they're actually doing quite well, they're impressively on top of their credit scores — especially older millennials.

Almost nine of 10 older millennials, those ages 30 to 38, have checked their credit score at least once, according to a new poll by CreditCards.com. That's a better showing than any other age group.

And those who are looking up their score are checking in regularly. Almost 45 percent have checked their score within the last three months.

The rise in the number of millennials who're monitoring their credit scores can be attributed, in part, to the numerous products advertising how easy it is to check your score, John Ulzheimer, an expert on credit scores and credit scoring, tells CNBC Make It.

"There are so many meaningful things that rely on a credit score as a basis for things like terms and even the decision someone is making about you," Ulzheimer says. At this point, he says, "it's almost a financial irresponsibility not to have some idea what your credit score is."

Over 80 percent of all millennials report having checked their score at least once. "I think it's a pretty healthy percentage, given how, 10 years ago, you had to buy credit scores," Ulzheimer says.

Why your credit score matters

Credit scores are used for more than just loan, credit card and mortgage applications. Many landlords and apartment complexes rely heavily on them as part of the application process. One apartment complex in Florida reportedly rejects anyone with a credit score under 700.

"If your background as a borrower does not inspire confidence from a landlord, he or she will likely try to offset some of the perceived risk by requiring more collateral. That means a bigger security deposit – perhaps two months' rent instead of one," Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of WalletHub, writes in a post for RENTCafe.

Insurance products like renter's insurance and auto policies may also require a credit check, depending on the provider. Even utilities check potential customers' credit these days: When you set up cable or internet service, the company may pull your credit.

"It really permates more than just your ability to borrow money from somebody," Ulzheimer says.

How to check your score

You don't need to fork over any money to find out your credit score, Ulzheimer says, since "you can get a pretty good amount of credit score information without ever paying anyone anything."

If you're willing to put up with occasional emails and updates, he says, sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are a very good way to get not only your credit score but a good summary of your credit activity.

And "they're not going to cause any issues with respect to your credit score in the future or leave anything problematic with your credit report," he says. These sites typically update their information at least once a month.

You can also consult your credit card provider. Many credit cards these days offer to show you your FICO score for free. "It's something that you should check to see if it's something that's already available to you," Ulzheimer says.

Or you can pull your entire credit report, which provides a comprehensive look at your credit history and activity. You can get a free copy of your report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

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