Do You Know Your Credit Score

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How Good is Your Credit Score?

Before it seemed easy. People were trusting, and things were more simple. To close a deal, in most cases you only needed a handshake. Nowadays it seems you are as good as your credit score. Today a good credit score is a necessity, and not a luxury.

What you need to know about your credit:

Who checks your credit: Credit scores affect whether or not you can get credit, as well as the rate you will pay for credit cards, car loans, mortgages and other kinds of credit you may need. Now, don’t think your credit is important only if you want to borrow money. It goes much more than that. For instance, for everything from renting an apartment to being hired for  jobs to how much you have to pay as a deposit on your electrical service and for your car insurance, or your home insurance, your credit score may play a role!

How you can get a copy of your credit report: Because credit is so vulnerable and with so much identity theft in the recent years, to make sure you regularly know where your credit score stands, once a year, you are entitled to a free credit report. Also, if you have been denied credit within the past 60 days because of information provided by one of the credit bureaus, that agency will provide you with a free copy of your credit score. You are also entitled to a free credit report if you’re unemployed. You can order your credit report online, by phone or via US mail. To get more information or to order, contact the three major credit bureaus:

  1. Equifax
  2. Experian
  3. Trans Union

What you’ll need to get your credit report: The simplest and fastest way to get your credit report is over the web. Now you can also get it over the regular mail, or phone. Either way you chose to request your credit report you will need to have following information handy:

  1. First, middle, and last name, including Jr, Sr, III
  2. Current address
  3. Previous addresses, for the past two years
  4. Social Security Number
  5. Date of birth
  6. Phone number and, or your email address

Finding what doesn’t belong on your credit: Once you have a copy of your file from all three agencies, go over the files carefully, checking for errors. Errors are actually quite common, as information is not regularly updated. Also pay attention if you have negative inquires, and if they are actually yours. You can dispute anything that doesn’t seem right, or is not your fault with the credit bureaus. While it is possible to have incorrect information removed, correct information cannot be removed from your credit report, even if it is negative.

Information is kept in your credit file for seven years from the date of the last activity on the account, however, bankruptcies remain on your credit for 10 years.

How to contact credit agencies: If you find something that is incorrect or not something you did on your credit report, let the credit agency, or agencies know about it right away. Write a detailed statement explaining that the information is incorrect. You will of course need to provide copies of documents to verify your claims, such as account statements or canceled checks. The credit agencies are required by law to investigate any information that you dispute. The credit bureau must contact the company that is reporting the information and that company then has a specific amount of time, usually 30 days, to respond to the credit bureau’s request. If the company fails to respond, the information must be deleted from your file.

Keep monitoring your credit: Even after information is removed or if statements are added to explain any negative entries, you should continue to monitor your credit file on a yearly basis by requesting your free credit report. Doing so will enable you to stay informed on the data that is being added to your credit file, and help you preserve your credit-worthiness. Which as we all know, especially in this day and age, is more important than ever.

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