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Credit Scores and Reports – What You Need to Know

Credit Reports

Credit reports were invented to help lenders determine whether to extend credit to specific people, how much credit to extend, and at what cost or interest rate.

Credit bureaus

Three companies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – collect and sell individuals’ credit information to pawnbrokers. Credit reports for these companies include:

  • Whether the person filed for bankruptcy within the last ten years (Chapter 7) or seven years (Chapter 13).
  • A list of all credit accounts in the person’s name that are open today or have been closed within the last seven years.
  • A list of accounts in collection, for seven years since the last payment.
  • All “inquiries” – requests made by businesses or organizations within the last two years for the individual’s credit report or score.
  • Any judgment – a court decision that affects the individual’s finances – rendered against the individual within the past seven years.
  • Any tax lien filed against the individual’s property. These appear on credit reports for fifteen years if the lien is unpaid and for seven years after the lien is released.

Credit Sheet music

Credit scores were invented to allow creditors to easily get an overview of an individual’s overall creditworthiness. Scores are based on an algorithm, or mathematical formula, developed by the company that calculates and sells the credit score. Credit scores are based on information contained in an individual’s credit report when the score is calculated. Thus, a score can change often, and it is impossible to know why a score has changed or to predict by how much a score will change because the score formula is a company secret. The best company in the field of credit scoring is Fair Isaac Corporation, and its credit score, called FICO, is the best known.

Why should you care about this annoying stuff?

  • If you borrow money, the interest rate you will be charged depends in part on the contents of your credit report.
  • Your credit score affects important costs like your insurance rates.
  • When you apply for a job or an apartment, the prospective employer or landlord may, with your permission, obtain and review your credit report or score. You might be denied a job or an apartment based solely on your credit history.
  • Your utility companies may obtain your credit report or credit score, and they may require you to deposit money with them if they believe you are not paying your bill.

what you should do

  1. About 20% of all credit reports contain erroneous negative information. You can and should force inaccurate negative information to be removed from your credit report. If you don’t, no one will. Every American has the right to obtain a free credit report on himself once a year from each from the three credit reporting agencies. Reports can differ from office to office, so follow these steps: Every four months, get your free credit report from any of the three offices. Rotate between offices to get each office’s free report to which you are entitled each year. Examine the report carefully. Follow Federal Trade Commission procedures for forcing the deletion of any inaccurate negative information on your credit report.
  2. Reviewing your credit report every four months will also help you quickly find out if your identity has been used fraudulently. Have credit accounts been opened or credit applications made on your behalf? Take immediate action to limit the potentially enormous hassle that identity theft can cause by following the instructions in the FTC’s Identity Theft Consumer Alert.
  3. In addition to the free annual credit reports you are entitled to, you can also get a free credit report if you are denied credit, insurance, or employment because of your credit history or if you are a victim of fraud or fraud. identity theft.
  4. Understand how your behavior affects your FICO score. Go straight to the source, Fair Isaac Corporation. Download and study Fair Isaac’s guide, “Understanding Your FICO Score” (just Google the title of the guide to find it online). Carefully read the “What a FICO score considers” section. These pages give you suggestions for improving your FICO score in each of the five main areas included in the score calculation. Some of the recommendations are obvious – pay your bills on time – but many may be the opposite of what you might guess.
  5. Don’t become obsessed with your credit score. When you get your credit reportthe office will try to sell you a credit score. (Credit reports are free once a year, but you’ll have to pay for a credit score.) Don’t let curiosity get the better of you and pay for a credit score. Instead, read “Understanding Your FICO Score,” follow its suggestions, and don’t obsess over your credit score.

Precautions

Yes, you should read “Understanding Your FICO Score,” but don’t blindly follow all the suggestions. For example, you’ll learn that to have the highest FICO score, you must have debt of different types, including a credit card, and demonstrate that you can manage debt responsibly. But if you can’t trust yourself to use a credit card wisely, then don’t have a credit card and forget about the effect on your credit score. Having a credit card and using it recklessly will have a worse effect on your credit score than not having a credit card.

Don’t be fooled by expensive “credit repair” scams or other offers to “clean up” your credit report. Exact information that is not yet expired cannot be permanently deleted from your credit report, period.

By taking advantage of certain details of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit repair scammers may be able to get negative information removed from your report. But if the deleted information turns out to be correct, it will quickly be put back on your report and you will have wasted the money you paid the credit repair scammer.

It is very easy to remove inaccurate negative information from your credit report. You can do it yourself for free.

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