Understanding Credit Report Score

Understanding credit report scores is important when you see your credit report because you need to be able to make some sense of it.

Your credit score is used by anyone loaning you money such as credit card companies, home loan lenders, auto loan lenders and finance companies. They all use your credit score to determine your credit risk. The interest the lender charges you is based on your credit risk. So you can see how understanding credit report scores is information that can save or cost you money.

You need to find out what your credit score is before you talk to any lender in case there is something on your report that you may question. You don't want the lender to find a mistake that you aren't aware of. If you find a mistake, it takes at least 30-60 days before you see corrections in your credit reports and scores.

You have probably heard that checking your credit will bring down your score. But checking your own credit report and score is counted as a "soft inquiry" and doesn't harm your credit score at all. Only "hard inquiries" from a lender or creditor, made when you apply for credit, will bring your credit score down a few points.

Your credit report should have the three main credit services Experian, Trans Union and Equifax and each service will give you a different credit score.

The credit scores will range between 300 and 870 with each credit service giving a different score. The higher your score is the better, because as your credit score increases, your credit risk decreases.

The average high approval score where the best interest rates are offered is 680 or above. The credit score the lender uses comes from the middle score or an average of all three scores is sometimes used.

Don't be surprised if you find an error once you get your credit report. Statistics show that 70 percent of credit reports contain serious errors. Those errors are what you want to clear up because they will affect your credit score.

If you find a mistake, you have the right to dispute the information free of charge. Contact the credit bureau that provided the information and dispute the inaccurate information.

Below are the names, addresses, phone numbers and web sites of the three credit bureaus TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Equifax Credit
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Equifax 800-685-1111

P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Trans Union 800-888-4213

P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
Experian 800-682-7654

You can also contact the creditor direct and ask that the corrected information be provided to the credit bureaus.

If you suspect any fraud, contact all three credit bureaus immediately and place a fraud alert on your report. Then, contact your credit card companies and bank to protect your accounts.

Understanding credit report scores and checking your credit report at least once a year will keep fraud in check and keep your credit score safer.

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