Frequently Asked Questions
What is a credit report?
A credit report provides you with all of the information in your personal credit file that is maintained by a consumer reporting agency, company or bureau that could be provided by the consumer reporting agency in a consumer report about you to another party, such as a lender. A credit report also includes a record of everyone who has received a consumer report about you from the consumer reporting company within a certain period of time which are called inquiries. The credit report includes information that is not included in a consumer report about you to another party, such as the inquiries of companies for pre-approved offers of credit and account reviews. You can receive a copy of your credit report from a consumer reporting agency.
Do I have to pay to get a copy of my credit report?
You can get a free secure copy of your credit report once every 12 months that is certified by the three major credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that is calculated based on various formulas and is used to evaluate several kinds of information in a credit file. A credit score is used by a lender to help determine whether a person qualifies for a credit card or loan. The most popular credit score is the FICO score. The credit score evaluates things such as payment history (including accounts paid on time and delinquent accounts), amount owed, length of credit history, new credit accounts, and types of credit accounts used. The higher the credit score, the less risk the person is perceived to be. A FICO scores ranges from 300-850. 850 is the highest score possible. 300 is the lowest score possible.
There is a fee to purchase your credit score which is avaiable at www.annualcreditreport.com.
A new score is now available called the Vantage score. The Vantage credit score was created by the three credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The scale for the Vantage score ranges from 501-990. The Vantage score is currently offered by Experian and TransUnion. Ask your lender which scoring system they use to evaluate customers. For more information visit www.vantagescore.com.
901-990 A score
801-900 B score
701-800 C score
601-699 D score
501-599 F score
I was denied credit can I get a copy of my credit report?
If you were denied credit in the last 60 days or if you are unemployed you can get a free copy of your credit report. Obtain the contact information for the company that provided the information to deny you credit and request a copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
What is my credit score used for?
Your credit score is used by lenders, employers, medical doctors, insurance companies, creditors, landlords and other businesses to determine approval for credit or a loan.
Where can I learn about preventing internet fraud, identity theft and protecting my personal information?
The following website www.consumer.gov/idtheft provides tips from the federal government on identity theft. You can also go to these websites to help you protect and monitor your personal information,
How does the Credit Card Accountability Disclosure Reform (CARD) Act of 2009 affect me?
Banks and other financial institutions may charge higher fees to recover from losses that they will experience by having to reduce interest rates and fees charged to credit card customers. Interest rates can only be increased on new purchases after notifying customers. Interest rates on existing purchases can only be charged after a customer is 60 days or more late. Universal default and double cycle billing will end. Credit card companies will no longer be able to have different time of day deadlines for payments - payments must be accepted up until 5pm each day. No late fees will be charged for payments due on weekends or holidays. For more information visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Fact-Sheet-Reforms-to-Protect-American-Credit-Card-Holders or http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ24/pdf/PLAW-111publ24.pdf.
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