It is getting more and more important to know what is in your credit report. Your credit report (and credit score) affects your ability to get a loan and the interest rate you pay for that loan. It can also determine whether you get approved for a credit card. The insurance premium you pay for your home and car can be affected by your credit report. And, more and more potential employers are asking to see your credit report.
The three major three credit reporting agencies are Experion, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each of these companies compile the information which is found in your credit report. These same three agencies will calculate a credit score based on your credit report. The score is also known as a FICO score. (FICO stands for the Fair Isaac Corporation, named after Mr. Fair and Mr. Isaac who developed the software for calculating credit scores.)
Federal law mandates that once a year you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies. The website the government set up for you to get your free credit report iswww.annualcreditreport.com.
After completing some basic information including your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, you elect from which reporting agency (Experion, Transunion, or Equifax) you would like to receive the credit report. You will then be directed to that particular credit reporting agency’s website to get your credit report.
Under most circumstances, you will see your credit report on-line. You can either print it out or download it. You will be able to access the report for 30 days.
If you want to know your credit score you will have to pay for it. (Under certain circumstances, a lender has to provide you with a free credit score when a lower score has adversely affected you.) The cost is generally under $10. If you would prefer not to pay, using the information contained in your credit report, you can use a FICO Score Estimator. The FICO score estimator can give you the range in which your credit score falls. MSN money has a FICO Score calculator at http://money.msn.com/credit-rating/your-credit-score.aspx. As an alternative, some credit card companies provide a free credit score to its members, so make sure to ask.
If you have any questions or need any additional information, please feel free to contact me, Liz Crystal.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Financially Fit in Five.