Factors that effect your Credit Score
What's in a Number ? Your good Name !
Q: Where Can I get a Free Credit Report ?
A: With the passing of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ( FACT Act ), each U.S. citizen is entitled to one free copy of their credit report from each credit reporting agency ( TransUnion, Experian , Equifax Experian )once every 12 months .
This information is available at the only government-sanctioned credit reporting agency-operated website, annualcreditreport.com .
You can also 1-877-322-8228, or by mailing the
The free report does not contain a credit score, though a credit score may be purchased at the time of access. Requesting a credit report will subject you to "pre-screened" offers of credit cards. To prevent all three credit bureaus from making your address available to credit card companies for this purpose, you may opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).
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What Credit Score Number is considered good ?
720-760 will usually get the best rates, offers and cards.
Your Credit Score and Looking for a job :
Many employers require job applicants to give permission for them to run a credit check as part of the application process. This credit information can be used as a signal of a person's level of responsibility.
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What are the Range of Scores on a Credit Report ?
A FICO score is between 300 and 850, with 60% of scores between 650 and 799.According to Fair Isaac the median score is 723 while according to Experian (using the Fair Isaac risk model) the average credit score is 678 .
There are three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - and they don't share information. So even if you correct an error on one credit report, you will have to do the same on the other two.
What if there is a mistake on my credit report ?
You have the right under federal law to challenge items on your credit report. The credit bureau then has 30 days to decide whether that item should be removed.
If a credit bureau refuses to correct a mistake, you can sue.
Get copies of all three credit reports six months before you apply for a home loan. An error on your credit report can take months to straighten out .
One in three people find mistakes in their reports
What is the Vantage Score ?
The three major credit-reporting agencies introduced VantageScore. VantageScore uses a number range (501 to 990), which is different from FICO's, and assigns letter grades (A to F) to specific score ranges.
A: 901 - 990
B: 801 - 900
C: 701 - 800
D: 601 - 700
F: 501 - 600
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft
1. Contact the Credit Bureaus and have them place a fraud alert on your credit file and place a victims statement report.
2. Contact the new creditors the scamster has used and close the accounts .For credit cards, you are only responsible for the first $50 if you report the fraudulent charges immediately.
3. File a police report.In the report be sure to have: the fraudulent account numbers, any proof you have that the accounts are the result of fraud,any information on the thief and/or crime, fill out an ID Theft Affidavit from the FTC
4. Extend Fraud alerts with the tree Credit Bureaus
5. If the thief used the mail to steal your identity or victim of fraudulent change of address contact the Postal Inspector
6. Contact Social Security
7.Make sure another driver's license has not been issued in your name.
Contacts for Reporting Identity Theft
The Three National Consumer Reporting Agencies
Privacy Rights Clearing House privacyrights.org
Identity Theft Resource Center idtheftcenter.org
Federal Trade Commission
Helps victims of identity theft with information and referrals to the right government agency 1-877-IDTHEFT
ID Theft Data Clearinghouse consumer.gov/idtheft
Office of the Inspector General
Social Security Administration
Fraud Hotline 800-269-0271
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights consumerwatchdog.org
The toll free number for opting out of pre-approved credit card ofers is 888-5-OUPOUT ( 888-567-8688.
Top Ten Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
1. Don't close unused credit card accounts, as your ratio to credit used to credit availible will increase, negativly impacting your credit score. Use your credit card 2 to three times a year to keep it active.
2. Pay your bills on time, late payments are the most common piece of negative info on credit reports.
3. Keep your account balances low
4. Separate credit cards after a divorce and close all joint accounts
5. Only apply for credit as needed and shop around.
6.Correct errors in your credit report and check that it is removed. Check your own credit score is a soft inquiry and does not affect your credit score. It will usually take 30 days for corrections and improvements to show up on your credit report. Looking into rapid re-scoring, which can update a sore as quickly as 72 hours if you need to lock in a lower mortgage rate.
7. If your shopping around for a car loan or mortgage, shop around within a 30-45 day period, as they will be counted as one inquiry.
8. Avoid excess inquires
9. Avoid consolidating balances or transferring balances unless the rate makes it worthwhile.Try to spread debt over a few low interest credit cards. Maxing out a credit card will lower your score.
10. Unpaid medical bills will show up in your credit report
Some more advice
Consider doing a credit freeze to prevent id theft. With this, your score and info are protected with a pin. The cost with the big 3 reporting agencies ranges from $3-10; The cost to thaw your report when applying for credit is $10.
Having no credit history can almost be as bad as having bad info on your credit report. If you are a parent, try to get your high school and college aged children credit cards and stress the need to use them wisely.
Don't let car dealers pull your credit if you are only window shopping for a car.
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