Latest credit reports articles

6 Places That Use Credit Reports (Besides Creditors)

Posted on 2015-11-12 09:00:07

It’s a given that creditors use credit reports and credit scores to make credit decisions. It doesn't stop with creditors. Any business with a legitimate need can access your credit report. If you check your credit report, you will know when that happens because it will be noted on your credit report as an inquiry.The happy woman showing the key of her new car So who can access your credit report? Here are 6 places that do so on a regular basis:

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1. Landlords. Credit reports contain a wealth of information for a prospective landlord. For example, a credit report will show if someone has a history of late payments. It may show if the applicant has been arrested or convicted of a crime. Lawsuits such as a personal injury claim involving the applicant may be listed. Landlords may use this information to make rental decisions and to determine the amount of deposit they may require of a renter. 2. Utility and Cell Phone Companies. Many utility and cell phone companies will check your credit report or credit score before extending service. Your credit score could limit the service available to you or could affect the deposit required of you. Although utility and cell phone companies do not report payment histories to the credit bureaus, they may turn a past due account over to a collection agency. The collection agency may then report the debt to the credit bureaus and it will show up on your credit report. 3. Employers. Have your eye on a new position? Be forewarned that the prospective employer may check your credit report. They must have your permission to do so, but it may be buried in the fine print of a job application. 4. Auto Insurance Companies. Most auto insurance companies us a variation on the traditional credit score that is tailored to the auto industry. An auto specific credit score would put more emphasis on your past history with auto loans. Things such as a mortgage and credit card accounts would carry less weight. 5. Car Rental Companies. Some can rental companies will not rent to someone who doesn’t have a credit card. Of those that accept a debit card, most will do a credit report check before renting a car. 6. Government Agencies. Even government agencies may have a legitimate business need to review your credit report to evaluate your financial status for government benefits.
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Check Your Credit Report for These 5 Common Errors

Posted on 2015-07-22 09:00:30

If you think credit report mistakes only happen to others, it’s time to take your head out of the sand. Credit report mistakes are common, and some mistakes can affect your credit score. The two best eyes for reviewing your credit report for accuracy are your own. If you’ve never looked at your credit report, change that today! Here are 5 common credit report mistakes to check for.Pretty smiling woman using laptop 1. Incorrect Personal Information Mistakes in the spelling of your name won’t necessarily affect your credit score, but it could if the mistake is because your identity has been confused with someone else’s. If you find inaccurate information in your name, address or Social Security number, dispute it with the credit bureaus. You have the right to accurate personal information on your credit report. 2. Erroneous Accounts If your credit report lists accounts that don’t belong to you, they need to come off—even if you think they are helping your credit score. Your credit report should reflect your credit history. You can never be sure when someone else’s account may go delinquent. Accounts that are duplicated may appear harmless, but it can give the appearance of having more open credit or higher debt than you actually have. Clean up erroneous accounts by disputing them.

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3. Inaccurate Account Information If you spot errors with your credit limits or the date you opened an account, dispute those items. Mistakes in these areas could affect your credit utilization ratio (the amount of available credit being used compared to your credit limits) or your credit history. 4. Closed Accounts with Wrong Reason If you closed a credit card account, your credit report should indicate you are the one who closed it. If it says “closed by grantor,” dispute that. An account closed by a grantor can negatively affect your credit score. 5. Old Bad Debts Before you dispute old bad debts, know that legitimate bad debts will remain on your credit report for 7 years. After that, except for certain types of bankruptcies, they should drop off. Any debts discharged in a bankruptcy should not be listed on your credit report, but the bankruptcy itself will be. Don’t let a mistake on your credit report keep you from getting credit at the best terms. Know what your credit report is saying about you, and dispute inaccuracies so your credit report is telling the right story.
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Credit Score – The New GPA

Posted on 2015-06-03 09:00:49

If you are graduating from high school or college, you have probably been quite focused on your GPA. You probably tracked it throughout your school years and knew when it went up or down—and why. With graduation now a memory, it may be freeing to put thoughts of your GPA behind you. But when you enter the post-graduation world, you have a new sort of GPA—your credit score. Like your GPA, it’s a number you should track and be aware of as it changes.Graduates Fist Pump Credit reports and credit scores are closely related, just as your school transcript was related to your GPA. Let’s look at both.

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Credit Reports Your credit report is a collection of data that tells the story of how you handle credit. It lists your accounts and shows how much credit is available to you, your outstanding balances and whether or not you pay on time. Like your school transcript, it has all the nitty-gritty details of what’s taken place. Credit reports are maintained by credit bureaus (also known as credit reporting agencies). Credit bureaus are private, for-profit companies that collect information from merchants, lenders, landlords and public records. Creditors are not obligated to report to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), but most creditors are happy to do so because they also benefit from the information in credit reports when they make credit decisions. Credit Scores In simple terms, your credit score is a three-digit number that sums up the information in your credit report. It provides lenders and others with a quick way to analyze your credit history and current situation. A complex mathematical formula compares your credit report details with millions of others, generating a credit score that reflects your creditworthiness at that time. As the information in your credit report changes, your credit score changes. Why It Matters Lenders look at your credit score report as a prediction of how likely you are to make your payments and make them on time. A lender may use your credit score to calculate the rate you pay for a loan; the lower your consumer credit score, the higher the interest rate. But credit scores don’t stop with creditors. Insurance companies, utility companies, landlords and even employers are interested in how you have handled credit. Your credit score sums that up quickly and easily. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your credit score. It can affect your life long after you’ve forgotten your GPA.
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An Inside Look at Your Credit Report

Posted on 2015-05-13 09:00:50

Woman with cup of coffee and laptopIf you have ever used credit, chances are good that you have a credit report. Your credit report does not indicate whether or not you are a good credit risk; it presents data about your credit history for lenders (and others) to review. Let’s look inside your credit report. There are four main categories of information in your credit report: 1. Personal Information that identifies you including: • Your full name • Your Social Security number • Your current and previous addresses • Your phone number • Your date of birth • Your current and previous employers

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2. Credit History: A record of your accounts with banks, retailers, credit card issuers, utility companies and other lenders. These accounts are grouped by type of account such as mortgage, revolving credit or installment loans. The age of the account is usually noted as well as your credit payment history for each account. 3. Inquiries: A record of every time someone accesses your credit report. Hard inquiries result when you initiate a credit application and the potential creditor checks your credit report. The impact of hard inquiries on your credit score is usually not one of the more significant factors. Soft inquiries have absolutely no impact on your credit score. Viewing your own credit report is a soft inquiry. Other inquiries that you do not initiate such as an account review by an existing creditor or a promotional inquiry for the purpose of offering pre-approved credit are soft inquiries. Potential creditors do not see soft inquiries. 4. Public Records: A record of bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens. Negative Information If you’ve made some credit mistakes, they will probably be on your credit report for a while. Federal law dictates how long negative information may remain on your credit report—generally seven years from the date of delinquency. Bankruptcies may remain for ten years and tax liens may remain seven years from the date they are paid. There is no legal way to remove accurate negative information sooner, but you should dispute inaccurate negative information with the credit bureau that is reporting the information. What Isn’t on Your Credit Report Your credit report does not include information about: • Race • Political or religious preferences • Sexual orientation • National origin • Medical history • Checking or savings accounts If it has been awhile since you took a look at your credit report, or if you have never looked at it, do it today. Only you will know if your credit report is telling the right story.

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Help Your Child Build a Good Credit Score

Posted on 2015-04-29 09:00:01

Portrait of teen girls shopping online in a bedroomUltimately, your child’s credit score is his or her responsibility. But as a parent, you can help your child get off to a good start. Getting credit can be a Catch-22. Creditors want to see your credit history. A child or young adult just starting out won’t have a credit history. Adding your child to one of your credit card accounts as an authorized user can be a good first step toward establishing a credit history and, ultimately, a credit score. Most credit card issuers will report credit card activity for all authorized users to the credit bureaus, thus helping establish a credit report for the child. An authorized user is just that—someone authorized by an account holder to use an account. The authorized user does not have to apply or qualify, but has full privileges for use of the credit card without any liability for the debt. Responsibility for the debt remains with the account holder.

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How It Works The account should show up on the credit reports of all authorized users. It is important to remember, though, that responsibility for the account remains with you, the primary cardholder. Never forget that you are responsible for all charges made by an authorized user. Know who you are trusting! Set limits up front, and if necessary, maintain control of the physical card. No Substitute for Education Don’t miss opportunities to educate your child on how credit works. It is amazing how many college students don’t have a basic understanding of finances including credit reports and credit scores and how they can affect their life for years. They need to know their credit report will be their new report card, and their credit score will be their new GPA. They need to understand that credit is not free money. If it’s not paid in full each month, interest usually accrues. Maintaining a Good Score Once your child gets started, stress the importance of maintaining a good credit score. It rarely happens by accident. Late payments—even just a single late payment--will knock a good credit score down in a hurry. And just as your child cares about what is said about him on social media sites, he should learn to care what his credit report says. Mistakes do happen, and it is ultimately his responsibility to ensure that the information on his credit report is accurate.
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