Reviewing the Basics: Credit Agencies, Credit Reports and You
How does your credit report affect getting a car or a house or even a new job? Do you know how to read your credit report? Credit Capitol explains how to read your credit report
Maybe you need credit to buy a car. Maybe you are applying for an exciting new job. Or maybe you just want to apply for different insurance coverage when buying a new car. So many of life’s activities involve and impact our individual credit ratings! Understanding how credit works can be a challenge. Below is a summary of some of the basics of credit that every consumer must know and understand.
Your credit report is the document that contains all the collected data that impacts your credit. The report is generated by three different credit reporting agencies and after the data is analyzed, a numerical credit score is tallied. Data is collected all the time and an individual’s credit score can change for the better or worse, depending on the information provided to the three credit agencies by companies, government entities and other organizations that provide the data. An individual’s credit score then in turn, impacts many facets of a consumer’s transactions.
Let’s take a closer look at the data that may be included in a credit report. A credit report contains all, current basic data on an individual including work you live and work. Your report may contact bill payment history, loans, debt and other financial information. Your report might also include information about whether or not you have been arrested, sued or filed for bankruptcy.
Lenders then use your credit report to determine whether or not to lend you funds, and also what terms to offer you. A higher credit score will usually result in better terms and lower interest rates. Employers use credit reports to make hiring decisions. Insurers, landlords and others use credit reports and scores to make determinations about doing business with consumers.
But what if there are errors in your report? It is essentially that all consumers take advantage of the three free credit reports that everyone is entitled to receive every year. That’s right! Each credit reporting agency is require to provide every consumer with one free credit report every year. Once you’ve received your free report it is your responsibility to check all the information carefully and challenge any incorrect data.
So how do you challenge in the information in your report? What if you find that someone has opened an account without your consent? What if the amount of debt on your report has been incorrectly reported by your bank? You must contact the credit reporting agency and the company that provided the information on your report. Do this in writing and keep all correspondence, even after the issue is resolved. If you are unable to resolve the issue directly, you can file a complaint through the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Below you will find the names and contact information for the three credit reporting bureaus. Remember to check your credit at least once a year and make sure to review the data carefully. Once you have you can go buy that new car and get a great rate! Happy shopping!
Three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs)
- Equifax 1-866-349-5191
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion 1-800-916-8800