Why Does Your Credit Score Matter
Your credit score is important when it comes to applying for credit as it is viewed by prospective lenders, alongside your credit report and other information you supply during the application process. It will impact whether you are likely to be approved for a credit product, including mortgages, credit cards, personal loans or mobile phone contracts.
If you have a good credit rating, you are likely to be approved for most mainstream credit, while if you are lucky enough to have an excellent credit rating, you will likely secure the most competitive deals, with the lowest interest rates and highest credit limits.
Your Annual Credit Report Is Now Available Weekly And Its Still Free
The three national credit reporting agenciesTransUnion, Experian and Equifaxare required by federal law to provide you with a free annual credit report. In fact, AnnualCreditReport.com was created by the credit reporting agencies as a one-stop-shop to provide you with your annual credit reports.
In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, TransUnion is pleased to offer you one free weekly credit report online through April 20, 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.com. Reviewing your credit reports regularly helps you ensure the information reported is accurate. It also gives you an opportunity to monitor your account history to combat identity theft.
Are There Other Ways I Can Get A Free Report
Under federal law, youre entitled to a free report if a company denies your application for credit, insurance, or employment. Thats known as an adverse action. You must ask for your report within 60 days of getting notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit bureau, and you can request your free report from them.
- youre out of work and plan to look for a job within 60 days
- youre on public assistance, like welfare
- your report is inaccurate because of identity theft or another fraud
- you have a fraud alert in your credit file
Outside of these free reports, a credit bureau may charge you a reasonable amount for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.
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Why Your Free Credit Scores From Equifax And Transunion May Be Different
You may think that your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion should be the same, but thats not always the case.
Remember, VantageScore 3.0 is ultimately just a scoring model. The three-digit number it produces depends largely on the information that lenders report to each credit bureau.
When credit scores that use the same model differ between credit reporting bureaus, its typically because they dont have the same information. Here are a few of the reasons you might see different credit scores.
- Your scores are from different dates. Different bureaus receive information from lenders at different times. If new information is accounted for in one credit score and not the other, the scores may differ.
- Your scores are calculated using different credit reports. Its up to lenders to decide which credit bureaus they report your information two. Some report to all three major credit bureaus, while others report to only one or two. If your Equifax credit report has information that your TransUnion report doesnt , your scores may differ.
- Your credit reports contain incorrect information. Its possible that one or several of your credit reports contain errors. Thats why we recommend regularly checking your credit reports for errors that may affect your scores anddisputing those errors, if need be.
Keep Old Accounts Open And Deal With Delinquencies
The age of credit portion of your credit score looks at how long you’ve had your credit accounts. The older your average credit age, the more favorably you appear to lenders.
If you have old credit accounts youre not using, dont close them down. Though the credit history for those accounts would remain on your credit report, closing credit cards while you have a balance on other cards would lower your available credit and increase your credit utilization ratio. That could knock a few points off your score.
And if you have delinquent accounts, charge-offs, or collection accounts, take action to resolve them. If you have an account with multiple late or missed payments, for instance, get caught up on the past due amount, then work out a plan for making future payments on time. That wont erase the late payments, but it can improve your payment history going forward.
If you have charge-offs or collection accounts, decide whether it makes sense to pay off those accounts in full or to offer the creditor a settlement. Newer FICO and VantageScore credit-scoring models assign less negative impact to paid collection accounts. Paying off collections or charge-offs might offer a modest score boost. Remember, negative account information can remain on your credit history for up to seven yearsbankruptcies for 10.
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Vantagescore 30 Credit Score Factors
Different credit scores can have a lot in common under the hood, but each individual scoring modeluses its own combination of factors to determine your score.
Here are the major factors that determine your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores.
Payment history The biggest factor in your scores is your history of paying bills on time. Late or missed payments in your credit history could affect your scores significantly.
Age and type of credit A longer credit history, particularly with the same accounts, shows lenders that youve been able to stick with your accounts over time. Lenders may also consider it a plus if you have a mix of credit accounts with positive use.
Your measures the amount of credit you use relative to the amount available to you. Most experts recommend shooting for a rate below 30%, meaning you use less than 30% of your available credit.
Balances Similar to credit utilization, this factor takes into account your total balances across your accounts but in terms of the dollar amount and not the percentage. If you already owe a fair amount elsewhere, lenders may be less inclined to extend more credit to you.
How Can I Build My Credit Score
The two biggest factors in your credit score are paying on time and managing how much of your credit limits you’re using. Thats why they come first in this list of tips:Pay all your bills, not just credit cards, on time. Late payments and accounts charged off or sent to collections will hurt your score.Use no more than 30% of your credit limit on any card less, if possible. The best scores go to people using 10% or less of their credit limits.Keep accounts open and active when possible that gives you a longer payment history and can help your “credit utilization,” or how much of your limits you’re using.Avoid opening too many new accounts at once. New accounts lower your average account age and each application causes a small ding to your score. We recommend spacing credit applications about 6 months apart.Check your credit reports and dispute errors.
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Get Your Free Credit Report In Canada
Your credit report gives more details about your credit history and can be obtained free of charge from the credit bureaus, including Equifax and TransUnion.
Borrowell provides a free Equifax credit report.
For a TransUnion credit report, you can access your report online and download it. For Equifax, you can simply make a request by calling them at 1-800-465-7166.
Its a good idea to keep tabs on both your credit score and credit report. That way, you can quickly identify any errors, and also track improvements in your credit profile over time.
How Often Should You Check Your Credit Report
Experts recommend that you check your credit report at least once a year. Taking a full deep dive with a credit report to ensure no inaccuracies, make sure you know where you stand and use a monitoring service that keeps you informed. We can help you stay informed with a credit monitoring service. Sign up for Chase Credit Journey to help monitor your credit.
If you’re planning to make a major purchase soon, or even in the somewhat distant future, you should regularly check up on your credit report. You want to make sure your report is as accurate as possible to get the best interest rates.
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Fixing Errors In A Credit Report
Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance, or a job because of a credit report must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act , you have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you credit based on the report.
You can get your credit report fixed if it contains inaccurate or incomplete information:
- Contact both the credit reporting agency and the company that provided the information to the CRA.
- Tell the CRA, in writing, what information you believe is inaccurate. Keep a copy of all correspondence.
Some companies may promise to repair or fix your credit for an upfront fee–but there is no way to remove negative information in your credit report if it is accurate.
How Insurers Use Medical History Reports
When you apply for insurance, the insurer may ask for permission to review your medical history report. An insurance company can only access your report if you give them permission. The report contains the information you included in past insurance applications. Insurers read these reports before they’ll approve applications for:
- disability insurance applications.
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What Is A Good Credit Score For A Mortgage
While it is true to say that the higher your credit score, the more likely it is you will be approved for a mortgage, there isn’t a score that guarantees you will secure a loan. Instead, a lender will look at your credit score and rating from one or more of the credit reference agencies alongside other factors, such as your income, day-to-day spending and the size of the available deposit. That said, if you have a credit score that equates to a “good” credit rating across all three agencies, you are more likely to be able to get a better deal with a more attractive rate than those with a lower score.
For those with a poorer credit rating overall, it should still be possible to get a mortgage, although it may require getting a deal with a specialist lender and this will typically involve paying a higher interest rate and, possibly, also having to contribute a larger deposit. In this situation, using a good whole-of-market mortgage broker, such as online broker Habito*, can make a huge difference as they will be familiar with the lending criteria for a wide range of lenders, giving you guidance on the best option for your circumstances. You may also find it helpful to read our article “How to get the best mortgage deal“.
Get Your Credit Score
A lender will use your credit score to determine if they will lend you money and how much interest they will charge you to borrow it. Your credit score is a number calculated from the information in your credit report. It shows the risk you represent to a lender compared to other consumers.
Knowing your credit score before a major purchase, such as a car or a home, may help you to negotiate lower interest rates.
You usually need to pay a fee when you order your credit score online from the two credit bureaus.
Some companies offer to provide your credit score for free. Others may ask you to sign up for a paid service to see your score.
Always check to see if a website is secured before providing any of your personal information. A secured website will start with https instead of http.
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Should I Order Reports From All Three Credit Bureaus At The Same Time
You can order free reports at the same time, or you can stagger your requests throughout the year. Some financial advisors say staggering your requests during a 12-month period may be a good way to keep an eye on the accuracy and completeness of the information in your reports. Because each credit bureau gets its information from different sources, the information in your report from one credit bureau may not reflect all, or the same, information in your reports from the other two credit bureaus.
How To Check Your Credit Report
Have you ever wondered how a bank or other lender decides whether to give you credit? One of the tools they use is your credit report. This tells them about your credit history and helps them assess how much of a risk lending to you will be, depending on the quality of your credit score.
Whats in this guide
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Why Check Your Reports
One important reason to regularly check your reports is to verify the information in them is accurate. If you find something you think is inaccurate, it may be a good idea to contact your lender directly to get more details, since they report the account to the credit reporting agencies. You can also start a dispute with TransUnion, and well investigate. Knowing what is on your credit reports also may help you make good decisions to maintain your credit health.
Credit monitoring products can make it easier for you to stay on top of your reports and credit health. For example, with TransUnion Credit Monitoring you can:
- Refresh your TransUnion score & report daily
- Get alerts whenever there are critical changes to your TransUnion, Experian or Equifax reports
- Learn how you can improve your credit health with hands-on, interactive tools
- Protect your credit health & identity with Credit Lock Plus and $1MM ID Theft Insurance
Why You Could Have Different Credit Reports From Different Bureaus
The credit bureaus can only report on the information thats provided to them. Since lenders are not required to report to all three major credit bureaus, you might find information about certain accounts on one credit report, but not others.
Even when lenders do report information to all three major bureaus, they may report that information at different times. Given all the credit information included in a typical credit report, its perfectly normal to observe some minor differences between your credit reports.
Mistakes do happen from time to time. If you think your credit reports are different due to legitimate errors, you can dispute those errors with each credit bureau.
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Can I Buy A Copy Of My Report
Yes, if you dont qualify for a free report a credit bureau may charge you a reasonable amount for a copy of your report. To buy a copy of your report, contact:
- TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 transunion.com
But before you buy, always check to see if you can get a copy for free from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Federal law says who can get your credit report. If youre applying for a loan, credit card, insurance, car lease, or an apartment, those businesses can order a copy of your report, which helps in making credit decisions. A current or prospective employer can get a copy of your credit report but only if you agree to it in writing.
How To Access Your Free Credit Reports
To access your free credit reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. Youll need to answer some questions to prove your identity in order to see your reports. If you have difficulty accessing your report online, you can also request it by phone or postal mail. You can choose to access your report for any of the three credit bureaus or all three at once.
These reports dont show a credit score but instead provide a thorough history of your financial activities, including payments history and balances for credit cards, mortgages, and car, personal, or student loans.
When you access your report, make sure all the information is correct. If youve paid at least the minimum on time each month, your accounts should be listed as being in good standing. If you have past-due payments or an account in collections, this will also be noted on your report.
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What Goes Into My Free Credit Score And What Doesn’t
When you or a lender “check your credit,” a scoring model from either FICO® or VantageScore® is applied to the current data in one of your credit reports. Your score will vary, depending on which FICO® or VantageScore® version was used and whether it looked at your credit report from Experian®, Equifax® or TransUnion®. Your credit score can vary month to month or day to day as new data get sent to your credit reports.
NerdWallet uses VantageScore® 3.0 and your TransUnion® credit report data. Most lending decisions are made using the FICO® model. If you have a good VantageScore®, you may also have a good FICO® score and both will respond to the same basic rules for managing your credit score. That’s because they consider similar factors, with some differences in how they weight them:
Payment history:Age of credit history:Applications:Type of credit: