Review your credit report
Lenders, insurers and employers want to see how you manager your credit and your life. It’s important to get your credit report – see what others are saying about you.
To get your credit report, there are a few options.
Option 1: Get it from credit reporting agencies (CRAs)
You can purchase your credit report online from any one of the three credit reporting agencies. Whether you buy it one-time or get their credit monitoring service, the credit report give you your complete credit profile.
Option 2: Get it from online companies
When going online to receive your credit report – BE AWARE. Some online reports do not show complete information and may not be up-to-date.
There are many companies that buy credit report information from the credit reporting agencies and “resell” it to consumers online. Their commercials are on TV constantly (i.e. FreeCreditReport.com). Most companies offer these reports as part of a credit monitoring service, while some allow you to buy it as a one-time purchase.
However, most services refresh data only once a month and in some cases, only quarterly.
Some websites like CreditKarma.com will give you a access to a free credit report. Often, credit reports received by a credit reseller show limited account information to simplify what it is you’re looking at.
And sometimes, an account doesn’t even show up on a report.
Option 3: Get it from a lender
When applying for a loan, lenders need to review your credit report and your credit score. They buy your report from a “credit reseller”. Reseller companies buy information from CRAs, format and customize the report and then sell it to lenders. Resellers often leave out some information on your report.
Mortgage lenders buy a “Tri-Merge Report.” This report combines the data from all 3 credit reporting agencies and formats it into one report. Tri-Merge Reports show all 3 CRAs (the “middle” score is used when considering a loan application.
What You Should Look For
Now you’ve gotten your report – there a four things you should look for:
- Do you have at least 4 open accounts showing on your report? Your scores are based on monthly payment history. More accounts and longer history = higher scores.
- How much of your total credit card limit are you using? Using more than 30% of all your credit card limits will reduce your score.
- How many times have you applied for credit in the last 6 months? Only inquiries from applying for credit in the last 6 months affect scores.
- Recent adverse accounts? Adverse accounts = lower scores. New negatives have the greatest impact.
Brought to you by: Credit Matters