Your Credit Report

Your credit score plays a big part in your financial life.

There are different methods of calculating credit scores. When lenders talk about "your score", they generally mean your FICO score. FICO is a credit score developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO scores range from 300-850, and most people score in the 600s and 700s (higher FICO scores are better).

FICO credit scores above 700 are very good and a sign of good financial health. FICO scores below 600 indicate high risk to lenders.

The three major credit bureaus all have their own credit scores: Equifax's ScorePower; Experian's PLUS score; and TransUnion's Credit Score.

Your credit score affects the rate you pay for a mortgage, a car loan, credit card balances.
Your credit score determines which credit cards you qualify for.
Your credit score also influences the rate you pay for insurance (auto, homeowners and even health)!
Your credit score can influence whether you get a job (people with poor credit can be viewed as likely to have problems at work).
Your credit score can influence your ability to rent an apartment or house. (Many rental managers now run credit checks on prospective tenants).

There are several ways to get a free credit report.

If you are denied credit, insurance or a job, you are entitled to a free credit score report. When you are denied, the notice should show which of the three credit reporting agencies supplied the score and you can request a free copy of your report from that agency within 60 days of the denial.

The three agencies are: Equifax (EFX) (800-685-1111); Experian (888-397-3742); and TransUnion (800-916-8800).

If you are currently unemployed, you can request a free report with a credit score from each of the three agencies.

If you are currently receiving welfare, you may request a free report with a credit score from each of the three agencies.

If you are the victim of identy theft, you can request a free credit report.

Americans are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus but are not entitled to receive a free credit score. Check out Annualcreditreport.com for your free credit report.


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