Latest credit reports articles

5 Credit Report Red Flags

Posted on 2016-11-01 19:07:46

woman-laptopYour credit report is a snapshot of how you have handled credit. It reports the balances on your credit cards and loans, and your bill paying history. (Don’t think even a single late payment will go unnoticed!) When you apply for new credit, lenders review your credit report to determine the terms of any credit they might extend to you. Once you have established credit, that lender will most likely review your credit report from time to time to see look for red flags. Here are 5 red flags that could scare a lender: 1.  Too Many Inquiries When you apply for credit, potential lenders will usually pull your credit report to get a feel for your credit worthiness. This gets recorded as a hard inquiry on your credit report. Too many hard inquiries can be a red flag that you are in financial trouble. Although inquiries typically have minimal impact in most credit scoring models, it may be enough to drop you into a lower credit score bracket. 2.  Debt from Co-Signing a Loan Many people fall into the trap of co-signing a loan to help a friend of family member without realizing that debt will show up on their own credit report too. As a co-signer, you are equally responsible for the debt. Any late or missed payments will be red flags to your own lenders. And even when the loan is being repaid under good terms, that debt is added to your existing debt load when you apply credit of your own.

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3. Short Sale A short sale gets reported to the credit bureaus as “settled.” That’s a red flag that says you did not pay the lender as agreed, and it can be just as negative as a foreclosure on your credit report. There may be times when a short sale is the right option, but don’t believe anyone who says it won’t hurt your credit. 4.  Credit Report Errors Your credit report could have red flags that are no fault of your own: errors. There’s really no way to safeguard your credit report from them. It’s important to check your credit report for accuracy. A credit monitoring service will alert you to significant changes that should be verified for accuracy. 5.  A Consumer Statement You have the right to add a 100-word statement to your credit report explaining something you think might be viewed negatively. Think twice before doing this. Lenders expect to paid as agreed regardless of your circumstances. If, however, you have been a victim of identity theft, it might be beneficial to explain that in a consumer statement.

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5-Minute Guide to Your Credit Report

Posted on 2016-03-02 09:00:09

Do you avoid looking at your credit report because you think it’s over your head? You could be making a serious mistake. Whether you like it or not, others are using the information in your credit report to make decisions that affect your life, and it’s not just creditors. Landlords, employers, utility companies and insurance companies are among the other businesses that use credit reports day in and day out. Get to know your credit report. The information is organized to make it easy to understand. Here is our 5-minute guide to the four main categories of information on your credit report.mfsn-laptop Personal Information This information is intended to identity you. It includes your full name, your Social Security number, current and previous addresses, your date of birth and sometimes your current and previous employers. Minor discrepancies in this section are not critical unless they could cause you to be mixed up with someone else.

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Credit History The heart of your credit report is your credit history. It includes a record of your past and current credit obligations. Your payment history will indicate if you have been late on a payment. Your current balance on each account is usually noted along with the age of each account. You don’t want mistakes in your credit history! Inquiries Inquiries are a record of who has looked at your credit report. Hard inquiries result when you initiate a credit application. Too many hard inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries, on the other hand, have absolutely no impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries are only visible to you, and not to anyone else who may view your credit report. Viewing your own credit report is a soft inquiry. Credit checks by your existing creditors are soft inquiries. Public Records Public records include bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens. Ideally this section of your credit report will be blank. But if it’s not, keep in mind that most negative information must be removed after seven years, though some bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for ten years. The impact of negative items on your credit report will usually lessen as they get older. Why Accuracy Matters The information on your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. Some creditors look no further than your credit score to make a yes/no decision about you. Mistakes on your credit report can affect those decisions or can cause you to pay a higher interest rate. Don’t be intimidated by your credit report. Dig in and check yourcredit report for accuracy. It could save you money.
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5 Things Everyone Should Know About Credit Reports

Posted on 2016-02-18 09:00:50

College student on cafeThere is no shortage of misinformation floating around concerning credit. Here are five important things everyone should know about credit reports. 1. Credit matters for more than just credit applications. There’s no getting around it. Whether you are applying for a mortgage, auto loan or credit card, renting an apartment or getting cable TV, your credit matters. Your credit report can determine not only whether or not you get credit, but on what terms. If your credit is bad, you may be denied credit or have to put down a larger deposit. Credit is also used in other surprising ways, such as by employers who may review your credit report as part of the application process. 2. Credit scores are not part of your credit report. The three national credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—store the information reported to them by creditors and others. Your credit report does not include your credit score, but rather your credit score is calculated based on the information in it at the time someone requests your credit score. Because the information in your credit report can change often, your credit score may fluctuate from day to day.

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3. There are no joint credit reports or credit scores. Credit reports are files maintained on individuals regardless of marital status. However, anything you co-sign for may become part of your credit report. Joint accounts will usually be reported on both individual’s credit report. If you are an authorized user on someone’s account, the credit history will be reported on both accounts, but only the actual account holder has liability for the account. 4. There are no quick fixes. If you’ve made some poor financial decisions in the past, it takes time for your credit score to recover. Negative items such as bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for seven or even ten years; however, the impact of negative items on your credit score should lessen over time. 5. It is up to YOU to monitor your credit. You are the only one who knows if the information in your credit report is accurate. With information being added sometimes daily, it’s important to stay on top of your credit report. With MyFreeScoreNow’s credit monitoring service, your credit report is monitored daily, and you are alerted whenever there are significant changes that should be verified. Credit monitoring is a proactive approach to staying on top of your credit.
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The Truth Behind 5 Popular Credit Report Myths

Posted on 2015-12-29 18:59:00

If you have ever taken out a loan or applied for a credit card, chances are good that you have a credit report with at least one of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Chances are also good that you’ve heard several myths about credit reports. Here we get to the truth about 5 common credit report myths. Happy ShopperMyth #1: Paying off a past-due item will remove it from your credit report.Truth: Late payments can remain on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of the missed payment. Making a payment will update your credit report to show you are now current on the account, but it will not remove the history of the late payment. Paying bills on time—every time—is key to a good credit score. Myth #2: Income and bank accounts are included on your credit report.Truth: Your credit report contains no record of your salary or financial accounts other than those used for credit. You can have a million dollars in the bank, and a late payment will still show up on your credit report and impact your credit score.

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Myth #3: You don’t need to worry about unpaid library fines and parking tickets.Truth: While it’s true libraries and police municipalities do not report directly to the credit bureaus, they may turn unpaid debts—even small ones—over to a collection agency. If that happens, the collection agency will almost certainly report the debt to one or more of the credit bureaus. Never brush off a debt just because it is small or not from a credit card company. Myth #4: If you pay your bills on time, there is no need to check your credit report.Truth: Credit reports have a high rate of errors, and those errors could affect your credit score. New information gets added to your credit report frequently as the companies you do business with report your credit history to the credit bureaus. A credit monitoring service makes it easy to keep tabs on your credit report by alerting you whenever there is a significant change that should be verified. Myth #5: Checking your own credit report can hurt your credit score.Truth: This one is our personal favorite. The truth is that checking your own credit report has absolutely no affect on your credit score. Zilch! If you use a credit monitor service such as MyFreeScoreNow, your credit report will be checked daily, and it will have no impact whatsoever on your credit score.

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5 Credit Traps to Avoid During the Holidays

Posted on 2015-12-02 09:00:33

Female Santa on the phoneEverybody loves a bargain, and there’s no shortage of them to entice holiday shoppers. But many people will have the holiday blues in 2016 when the bills start coming in. Here are 5 traps to avoid that will help keep your credit score in check as we head into a new year. See Your Credit Score in Seconds 1. Tendency to Overspend Study after study shows that consumers spend more when paying with a credit card instead of paying with cash or a debit card. Plastic is oh so convenient, and it’s harder to keep track of what you’ve spent. Set a budget ahead of time and pay with cash to ensure you stick to your budget. Come January, you’ll be glad you did. 2. Maxing Out Credit Card Accounts OK, you’ve decided to ignore the first trap and use credit cards so you can earn rewards. Just know that your credit score will factor into consideration the percentage of your credit card limits that are in use. Try to keep the balances below 30%. If you exceed that, pay down the balance before your statement closing date so that a lower balance gets reported to the credit bureaus and on your credit report. 3. Identity Theft Store clerks won’t be the only ones working hard during the holiday season. Identity thieves will be putting in overtime. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t sacrifice convenience for security. Identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit score while you work to untangle the damage. 4. Opening New Credit Card Accounts Retailers love to entice shoppers to open with a 10% to 20% discount on your purchases just for opening a store credit card account. Keep in mind that retail credit cards usually have a high interest rate. If you don’t pay the balance in full, any savings will be eaten up—and then some—with interest. Also, your credit score could take a hit when prospective creditors check your credit report. If you weren’t planning to open a new account, don’t be lured in with a special offer during the holidays 5. Emotional Spending Let’s face it. For many of us emotions play a big role in holiday shopping. Don’t let emotions rule the day. Stay focused on January. What is your situation going to look like then? Will you be struggling to pay the rent because you overspent? Will you be able to pay your accounts in full? Don’t sacrifice a good credit score to emotions.

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