Tag Archives for " credit reporting "

How to Check Credit Score for Free Tips

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Ways to Check Credit Score for Free

The Fair Credit Reporting Act required consumer reporting agencies, like credit bureaus, to provide their records of you at least once ever twelve months. Since your credit report, and credit score, as so important in your financial life, it makes sense that the law mandates you are able to review it annually without cost. This is why credit experts recommend that you check your credit report at least once every twelve months for errors, omissions, or other inaccuracies so that your report is an accurate reflection of you.

There was one crucial aspect of the credit reporting system that the FCRA did not address—credit scores. When it comes to credit of any kind, whether it’s a mortgage or a new cell phone, your credit score is what creditors look at.

Oftentimes, when someone pulls your report they only get your FICO credit score. My friend is a landlord and when he pulls credit he only get their score and a few stoplight metrics like payment history and age of credit lines. He doesn’t get a full report.

It is only a matter of time before the credit score will be a required annual disclosure in conjunction with your credit report. Until then, the only way to see your credit score for free is to sign up for a credit monitoring service trial and canceling before the trial ends.

I won’t recommend any one service, they’re all pretty much the same, but I recommend one that promises to give you an official FICO credit score, not a credit bureau score. One reputable company is Fair Isaac Corporation, the originators of the FICO score, and they have a consumer facing site called myFICO (they always have plenty of myFICO promo codes flying around).

If you don’t go with Fair Isaac, choose one associated with one of the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion). I don’t recommend signing up for these programs for no reason. If you are planning on getting a loan and are curious about how good your credit score is, then getting your official FICO score is important. It’s a soft inquiry so you won’t have to worry about taking a credit score hit.

If you aren’t planning on getting a loan, I wouldn’t worry about it. Checking your credit report annually is good enough and already more than what most people are doing. As long as your credit report is accurate, your score should be accurate. By checking your score prior to getting a loan, you give yourself a better idea of what your payments will likely be. More at How to Check Your Credit Score for Free

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How to Check Your Credit Score

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Tips on How to Check Your Credit Score

Credit scores can be a scary thing. In a nutshell, they’re a specific number credit bureaus assign to you, one that quickly encapsulates your entire credit history and assesses your financial credibility as an individual. Although they’re merely comprised of a three-digit number between 300 and 850, they directly influence some of the most important financial facets of your life, from the mortgage rates on your home to the potential loans available to you as a student or a first-time car buyer. If that wasn’t enough, bad credit scores also make it tougher to start a small business, obtain insurance, and even obtain a job in some situations — an issue that has only become more pervasive since the economic collapse of ’08 and a general tightening of credit standards by regional banks.

Like most scores, you credit score is a culmination of multiple components (in this case five). The first and largest portion of your scores relies on your payment history — whether you’ve paid your bills on time or neglected them — but it’s quickly followed by the amount of money you owe, the amount and type of credit you possess, the length of your credit history and how long it has been since you last opened a credit line. Your given score is a crucial factor, if not the most important factor, potential money lenders use to evaluate your risk level. The higher the credit score or rating, the less risky you’ll likely appear and the greater the economic opportunity afforded to you will be. Or, you hope so, anyway.

However, although each of three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — offer a free copy of your credit report once a year in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, none of them offer free access to your official credit score unless you pay an upwards of $5. Thankfully, credit-monitoring websites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame offer free estimates of your credit score without adversely effecting your credit, whenever you’d like and as often as you’d like. It’s the closest thing to an official FICO score as you’re going to get.

Here’s our quick guide on how to check your credit score.

Check your credit report (and score estimate) using Credit Karma
Step 1: Create a Credit Karma account — Navigate to the main Credit Karma homepage, click the orange Get started now button and enter your appropriate email address and password before click the blue Next Step button to create a user account.

Step 2: Enter your personal information — Once directed to Step 2, enter your personal information in the resulting text fields, quickly listing your name, current address, birthday, and the last four digits of your social security number among other information. When finished, click the blue Next Step button to create a user account.

Step 3: Confirm your identity — Once directed to Step 3, confirm your identity by correctly answering the three or four resulting questions in order. To do so, check the bubble directly left of the correct answer below the corresponding question. Questions vary, but they often include information regarding your previous county of residence, loans and other pertinent information.

Step 4: View your credit score — Once properly completed, your TransUnion Credit Profile will be properly linked and verified. Generally, a score hovering around 650 is considered okay, with a score an upwards of 700 being good. Anything below 600 is trouble. More at HOW TO CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE

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How Do You Repair Credit?

Lots Of People Ask, “How Do You Repair Credit?” The Secret Answer Is That There Are 5 Methods You Can Use.

How Do You Repair Credit Intro

How do you repair credit? Although the credit bureaus would like to have you think otherwise, there is absolutely nothing illegal about disputing items on your credit report. In fact, it is your explicit right by law to do so under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What is illegal is stating something that is false, such as “It’s not my account,” if it actually is your account.

How Do You Repair Credit–The 5 Methods

There are five main methods, all of which are completely legal, that you can choose from to repair your credit.  Some are much better than others and some are much faster too.

1. Time.  By law some negative credit accounts are allowed to show on your credit report for up to 7 years and others are allowed to show for up to 10 years.  The important point is not that they have to be reported for that long, but that they can’t be reported for longer than that length of time.  So, if you’re not in a rush, and you don’t want to put in any effort or money whatsoever, then you can just wait a few years.

2. Following the credit bureaus’ instructions.  Another method is to go to each of the credit bureaus directly.  You can challenge your negative accounts that they are showing on your report and see if they’ll remove this hurtful information.  The problem is knowing what to say and how to say it, so that you aren’t guilty of fraud, and that you get the response you’re looking for.

3. Do it yourself credit repair.  There are many courses, manuals, programs, etc. that can show you how to repair credit yourself.  The quality and price varies, but usually for well under $100 you can learn how to repair credit yourself.  One drawback is that there’s a good bit to learn, terminology to understand, letters to write and paperwork to deal with.  Another problem is that you have to stick with it.  Each month you’ll have to write more letters and deal with more paperwork until you’ve gotten the results you want.  Are you dedicated enough to follow through for three months up to as much as a year?

4. Credit restoration software.  A different version of do it yourself credit repair, but with a software program that helps to produce the letters you’ll need.  You’ll still have to learn more about credit repair than you probably want to know and you’ll still have to have the self discipline to follow through each month, but its usually easier than plain do it yourself courses and they also run for $100 or less.

5. Credit repair companies.  The bad here is that it’s the most expensive option, about $50 per month.  The good part is that they do the work for you and they keep doing it each month until your negative items on your reports are gone.  You won’t have to learn all the details about how to fix your credit and you won’t have to figure out how to write the letters.  And you won’t have to be self disciplined enough to follow through each month with whatever tasks remain.

How Do You Repair Credit Conclusion

So, how do you repair credit?  From personal experience and observations of others, credit repair companies are the best choice for most people.

Many won’t be able to force themselves to read a manual, with or without the help of a software program, to learn how to properly and legally repair their credit.  Of those that do, most won’t be able to make themselves do the various tasks needed each month to keep the process going until they get the results they want.

When you consider that most all credit repair courses tell you to send each letter via certified mail and that the credit repair companies send these letters for you if you hire them to do it, then they really aren’t that much more expensive, if at all.

If you are very focused and genuinely interested in the details, then the best choice would be one of the software programs.

Otherwise, the answer to “How do you repair credit?” is that if you can handle about $50 per month, the best choice is a good credit repair company.