There are three main credit score agencies in the USA, they are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These companies are the ones who gather, for all intents and purposes, the financial information on consumers. When you apply for a credit card or loan, they are notified; when you close an account, they are notified; when you are late with a payment, they are notified; and the list goes on. Basically any financial exchange of note that you participate in is noted by at least one of the big three credit reporting agencies.
Each agency may have slightly different information because some creditors only report to one or two agencies. However, some creditors report to all three, so it’s best to operate as though any negative activity you engage in will be picked up by all three agencies. Not that it will happen, but it should help to keep you on the right track.
You may be surprised to learn just how often your credit score can affect your life. The obvious example is getting a loan. If you don’t have good credit, you may not be able to get a loan. However, if you have just okay credit, you may be able to get a loan, but with less-than-ideal terms. Then we get into other cases where your credit score can affect you. Based on your credit report, employers may make their decision to hire you, landlords may not rent to you, your insurance rates could be set and utility companies may charge you a hefty deposit before connecting your services.
Because your financial well-being is so dependent on the credit score agencies, it’s a good idea to get a free copy of your report at least once a year. You can get your free report from each of the three agencies and Checking Your Credit Does Not Affect Your Score. See Yours Now ONLINE: $0. Once you get your reports, go over them carefully and look for any errors or discrepancies. If you find any you should report them right away and add a note to your report. Errors on credit reports are more common than most people think, and it would be silly to lose out on a loan, job or place to live due to somebody else’s mistake. There are other things you can do to keep your credit in check besides looking into your credit report. Paying all of your bills on time and in full (or at least the minimum amount due for credit cards) is the single biggest thing you can do to maintain or improve your current credit score. Do your best to pay down any outstanding debt you owe, as this will help your income to debt ratio. Finally, don’t overdo any unnecessary activity on your credit cards; this includes opening new accounts or closing old ones. Doing these things will prevent most of the potential red flags and help to keep your credit score higher. The key is to take a proactive approach to your own finances. Get your FICO score and credit report from Equifax® Score Power.
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