What is a credit report?
A credit report can be broken down into 6 parts.
»A Credit Report is a history of how well you repay debt
»A Credit Report shows how long you have had credit for
»A Credit Report shows your personal information such as names, addresses (past and present), employers, phone numbers, and any variances of such.
»A Credit Report shows the amount of available credit you have. (i.e. your buying power)
»A Credit Report shows how often you have applied for credit (inquiries)
»A Credit Report shows the different types of credit that you have.
What is a credit report used for?
»A credit report is used to determine the amount of risk in lending you money. The level of risk is determined by 6 main factors and calculated into a credit score. The most commonly used score is the FICO score, created by the Fair Isaac Company. This score ranges from 300 – 850, the higher the score, the less of a risk you are, and the lower the score the higher the risk. From the lender’s point of view, the lower your score is, the more likely you are to default on a loan. So they will be less likely to approve you for a loan, or if they do approve you, the interest rate charged on the loan will be very high because it’s a riskier investment for them. Think of it this way, if you want to invest your money you can put the money into a savings account or buy some stocks. The interest rate for the savings account will be low because it’s a very low risk investment; you are basically guaranteed a return. But, if you invest your money into the stock market, you will want a higher return on your investment because the risk of loss is so high. Banks look as us in pretty much the same way and if you want to pay a lower interest rate and save some money, you have to show the bank that you are a low risk investment. Currently, the only way to do that is to have a high credit score. Ultimately, it’s all about stability, we’ll discuss this later on.
Note: There are different types of FICO scores, Mortgage companies use the Classic FICO Score, Auto Lenders use the FICO Auto Industry Option Score. The difference is quite simple, the Classic FICO Score ranks previous mortgage accounts a little higher than all other accounts. And the Auto Industry Option Score puts more weight on previous auto loans than other accounts.
Who maintains Credit Reports?
Credit Reports are maintained by the Credit Reporting Agencies, also known as the Credit Bureaus. Although most people think that there are only 3 credit bureaus, there are actually a lot more than that. The 5 biggest credit reporting agencies are listed below. Click Here for more info about credit bureaus.
Where can I get a FREE Credit Report?
There are several websites that advertise free credit reports. Most of these sites are actually owned by the credit bureaus themselves, but still require a credit card and a subscription to give you access to the credit report.. FreeCreditReport.com (Experian), FreeCreditScore.com (Experian), TrueCredit.com (TransUnion), etc… But there’s only one place to get your totally free credit report, without a credit card or subscription, as mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). AnnualCreditReport.com.