Put simply, a credit report is like a report card for your credit score. Instead of your parents anxiously awaiting to review your school report card, a credit report allows you (and lenders) to quickly see your credit activity, loan paying history and the current status of your credit accounts. Just as your parents may have used your report card as a means to determine your allowance or rewards, lenders use credit reports to help them decide if they are going to loan you money and at what interest rates.
The nice thing about checking your credit report is that it’s FREE and there are a plethora of options.
Here at Improve Credit, we recommend these top 3 websites to pull a free credit report:
1. Credit Sesame – Whether protecting your financial standing, finding the best home loan options, or keeping tabs on your credit and debt ratios is most important to you, Credit Sesame makes it easy. Get a free monthly credit score updated by TransUnion, learn your best money-saving options and get personalized tips on how to manage your credit and loans with Credit Sesame.
2. Credit Karma – Through the use of technology and hard data, Credit Karma helps over 100 million people effectively manage their finances worldwide. Working with two major credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion), Credit Karma not only gives their members free access to their credit scores, but also free personalized offers and tips for future financial decisions.
3. Annual Credit Report – Credit reports directly affect your mortgage rate, credit card approval and other big requests and life matters. It’s important to review your credit report regularly to help catch signs of potential identity theft early and maintain your financial security. Allow Annual Credit Report, who uses all three of the major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), to ensure that all of your personal information is correct and that your credit history is reflective of you, and you only.
What information can a credit report provide?
A credit report is used to help calculate your credit score, which informs future lenders (i.e., car dealerships, mortgage offices, credit card companies, etc.) about your creditworthiness.
There are four main categories of information provided in a credit report:
1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Personal info, such as your name, date of birth, address, Social Security Number and employment information, can be used to help identify you. Although this specific category is not used to calculate your credit score, it is still important to look over carefully to make sure there are no errors in this personal information (and if there are, follow directions to dispute it with the credit bureau).
2. Credit Accounts: This section is where all lenders you have been established with (i.e., auto loan, mortgage, store credit card, etc.) report what type of account you had/have, the date you opened the account, your credit limit/loan amount, the account balance and your payment history. Since this category makes up the majority of your credit score, it is uber important to make sure the information is accurate and in good standing. Notice something that just doesn’t look right or seems fishy? Look into using a credit monitoring company to manage and keep you safe from criminal behavior and its negative impacts on your credit score.
3. Credit Inquiries: Have you ever been asked “will you be using our store credit card today?” while running errands or shopping at big box stores? If you answered “no” in this scenario, the clerk probably rattled off all of the perks of signing up for their store credit card. If you’ve ever said “yes” to one of these offers, you know that it takes some time to set everything up. That is because the business has to inquire about your credit to see if you’ll be approved. While “hard” inquiries are prompted by you and can be seen on your credit report, there are also “soft” inquiries (such as when lenders send you a pre-approved credit off in the mail) that have zero effect on your credit score and can only be seen by you. Be mindful that you are aware of all the credit inquiries listed in your credit report. If not, contact the credit bureau.
4. Public Record & Collections: In addition to listing your personal information, active credit accounts and credit inquiries, credit reports also include public record information from both state and county courts. This can include bankruptcies and overdue debt collection. While there are no “quick fixes,” the experts at Improve Credit are equipped to help you improve your credit score with their proven credit repair services.
Improve Credit – Credit Repair Services You Can Trust
Now that you know all of the ins and outs in regards to credit reports, what are you waiting for? Contact Improve Credit today at (704) 877-8739 to schedule a free analysis. Let our proven credit monitoring company help you not only improve your credit score, but also educate you along the way.