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When it comes to credit, your FICO score is what counts. If you're new to the credit or home buying game, FICO is probably a very mysterious and confusing word. You probably already know it has something to do with credit; but do you know exactly what your FICO score is and means? If not, read on.
How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?
by Nocita Carter
You may want to consider checking what's on your credit report at least once a year. That's right at least once a year get a copy of all three of your credit reports. You'll want to know what each credit bureau (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) have listed on your reports.
You don't want any surprises when you apply for credit or seek new employment. So, as a general rule it's a good idea to get copies of your reports at least once a year! You will also be able to find out whether or not someone has ordered credit in your name without your authorization. Here are some tips and information which may assist you in your quest to get your credit reports:
1) How do I go about contacting the credit report bureaus? You contact the bureaus either in writing or via the internet with the following information: TransUnion, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA. 19022,800-888-4213,www.transunion.com; Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA. 30374, 877-784-2528 ,www.equifax.com; Experian, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX. 75013, 888-397-3742 ,www.experian.com.
2) Can I get a free copy of my credit report? Yes. You can receive a free report on an annual basis at no cost at annualcreditreport.com. You can also secure free copies of your credit reports directly from each credit bureau.
3) Should I get a copy of my FICO score? Yes, this would be a good idea to find out where you stand in reference to your credit score. As you may be aware, your credit score is used in determining whether or not you will qualify for credit you have applied for and the interest rate you will receive. The higher your credit score the better chances you have of getting a lower interest rate and approval of your credit.
4) How can I improve my credit and credit score? By paying your bills on time and paying your credit card balance in full if at all possible. Make sure you stay current with paying your bills. This will assist in improving your credit overall.
5) If I see an error on my credit report, how do I go about fixing the problem? Contact the credit bureau directly concerning the error on your report in writing and request that the error be corrected. You may want to also contact the creditor directly that is reporting the negative information listed on your report and get them to correct the error. You will also want the creditor to provide you with a written confirmation of them correcting the error to your credit report. The credit bureau has thirty days to respond to your request about erroneous information listed on your credit report.
6) Should I consider hiring a credit repair company to fix my credit? No. This is not a good idea! The only one able to fix your credit problem is you. Some credit repair agencies charge several hundred dollars in fees claiming they can repair your credit. Some of these agencies even offer you a new social security number to establish new credit. This is absolutely illegal, you do not want to be a party to this scam at all! It's best that you fix your own credit the right way by doing the following: contact the credit bureaus about any errors or discrepancies you have on your credit report; contact the creditor directly about errors listed by them on your report; pay your bills on time; and, try to pay off your credit balances as soon as you can.
Ordering a copy of your credit reports is a good idea! The sooner you start this annual practice of getting your credit report the better off you will be. This will give you a better peace of mind and will hopefully eliminate surprises when you go to apply for employment and future credit for the purchase of a home, vehicle, or whatever else you would like to purchase.
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