[BUSINESS] Getting Credit Reports & Scores
- Get your credit reports and scores
Inaccuracies can end up costing you so carefully check these
While you're cleaning up your debt, order copies of your credit
reports and credit scores, since the information contained in them
will directly affect the interest rates you're offered on credit
cards, mortgages and other loans.
There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and
TransUnion. Each collects information on your credit history, which
is culled into a credit report. From that report, a credit score is
derived. That score is a quick way for lenders to assess how risky
you are as a potential borrower.
The score most commonly used by lenders is the FICO score, developed
by financial firm Fair Isaac. The higher your score, the less risk
you pose to lenders and the more likely it is that you'll get their
best available rates.
When lenders review your credit reports and FICO scores, they take
into account not only how much you owe, but also how much credit you
have available to you. Too much of either and they may not loan you
any more money.
So when you get your reports, check for inaccuracies; the bureaus are
required to investigate and correct them once you report them. Look,
too, for things that may lower your credit rating, including open
lines of credit you never use or accounts you thought had been closed
The bureaus may have different information about your credit history,
which means your credit score can vary somewhat from bureau to
bureau. So it's important to view reports from all three.
You can buy any of the bureaus' credit reports and FICO scores for
$14.95 each from MyFICO.com.
If you've been turned down for credit, employment or housing in the
past 60 days, you may receive a free credit report from all of the
three credit bureaus. Some states also allow residents to receive a
free credit report once a year. And by the end of 2006, everyone will
be able to get a free report from each of the bureaus annually under
the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.