Answers to Your Top Questions On Your Credit Report and Credit Score – What You Need to Know!

Question: How important is it for consumers to find out their credit score?

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to manage. Please click here for links to each of the credit bureaus and a list of the free credit monitoring sitesNot only is it important for you, it is also important to others: 

  • Banks and other financial institutions may use your score to determine whether or not you are credit worthy for a loan and the terms (how much interest to charge, the length, amount, etc).
  • Many employers may use your score (if you give them permission) to determine whether to hire you.
  • Landlords may use your score as a gauge of your fiscal responsibility and whether to take you on as a tenant.
  • Insurance companies may use your score to determine if you can get insurance and the rates you will pay.
  • Utility, Cable, and Telephone companies may use your score to determine if they should provide services to you.

With so much at stake with your credit score, it is important to maintain a good score!

Q. Who collects the credit information about me and where do they get it from?

The three main credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian gather the information about you in a credit report and provide it to institutions and people that request it.

They get the information from all your creditors such as banks, credit cards and financial institutions that you use. They also get it from public records such as court and property documents. Each credit bureau is different in how they collect and calculate your credit score, which is why some scores may be different from each other.

Q. What makes up my credit score? How can I raise my score?

Your credit report is all of the information collected on your credit history, and your credit score is a numerical value given to you by the credit bureau. The FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score is the most popular and ranges from 300 to 850. 400 is considered to be very low and generally anything over 700 is considered to be good score. The score is based upon the following make-up below. It takes time to build your credit. The best tip is to manage it responsibly over time. For more information in raising your score visit

  • 35% – Record Of Paying Bills On Time (Do you have any late payments?)
  • 30% – Debt-to-Income and Credit Limit Ratio (How much credit are you using on your limits? How much debt do you have compared to your income?)
  • 15% – Credit History (How long have you had credit and been paying your accounts?)
  • 10% – Credit Mix (Revolving Credit – Credit Cards, Fixed Credit – Mortgages, car loans)
  • 10% – Recent Credit Inquiries and New Credit (Who is checking your score? What New Credit do you have?)

In 2006 the three main credit bureaus joined together to create VantageScore, a more advanced credit score model. Here are some of the differences from FICO. 

  • Protecting your score from natural disasters and you are unable to pay.
  • New Scoring Range. In the past the VantageScore ranged from 501 to 990, but now mirrors FICO’s scores to eliminate any confusion.
  • Paid and Settled Collections Ignored.
  • More people will have a credit score. There are minimum requirements to have a credit score so many who haven’t used credit, especially younger people, will have no score. VantageScore has loosened these criteria so 30 to 35 million “unscoreable” consumers will now have one. 

Q: How do you check your credit report and credit score? Can you get it for free?

By law, each of the three credit bureaus are required to give one free credit report per year. Most sites require you have to pay for the credit score however. One helpful tip is to get one from each bureau every 4 months to check frequently. One out of four Americans was a victim of identity theft with total personal losses close to 50 billion dollars yearly not including the time to clean up the mess!

There are many different websites that offer services to check your report, score, and have monitoring services for your credit. Some require monthly payments, while others are free. If you prefer a hard copy of your free report mailed to you, you can contact the credit bureau directly. Please click here for links to each of the credit bureaus and a list of the free credit monitoring sites. It is worth signing up for these services, paid or unpaid and get notifications anytime there are inquiries, new accounts, and changes to your credit report and credit score. 

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