Keeping Tabs On Your Credit Score
There is no question that the current state of the economy could be better than it is. For that reason, it’s more important than ever to have your credit rating under control. If you think your score is too low, then you need to do something about it now. However, if you have tried to improve or correct your score in the past, you know it isn’t always the easy, quick or stress-free.
While a lot of people know they have a credit score, and some know exactly what their number is, what a lot of people don’t know is that there are three separate agencies that do credit reports. These companies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. To make things a little more more straightforward, each of these three agencies will often have different scores for you. The reason for this is that they don’t always collect the exact same information as not all creditors report to all three agencies.
As mentioned earlier, the economy is not in great shape and because of this lenders are setting higher standards before giving out loans. However, the better your credit score, the better your chance of getting a loan, and getting a loan with the best terms. Experian uses the Fair Issac scoring method, TransUnion uses what they call the Empirica score, and Equifax uses the Beacon score. So, when people talk about their credit score, they are referring to the number provided by one of these three companies. It is also possible to have a combined credit score which is the average of all three agency’s numbers. Regardless of the company, your credit score is nothing more than an attempt to objectively rank your creditworthiness.
As mentioned, part of the reason for the difference in each company’s score is that they don’t all get the exact same information. The chances of them having differing scores goes up as you have more creditors for them to get their information from (or not get it from). There is another aspect to the difference in scores, as well, and that is that they each have their own formula for calculating their scores. While this usually doesn’t make that much of a difference, it could have a negative impact if one of the three agencies has inaccurate information that lowers your score.
So, how do you get your credit score? There are a few basic ways, and it’s a good idea to do so before you get a loan so you know where you stand before going into it. If you want your Beacon score, then you can go to the Equifax website and pay to get it. You can follow the same basic process to get your report from the other credit reporting agencies, too. If you don’t want to pay to see your credit report, you can, by law, get a free report from all three agencies once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Being able to actually see your full credit report from all three agencies gives you an opportunity to see if there are any mistakes or discrepancies on your report. If there are, you can send a correction to the agency. They will then place a note on your file, and update it if they can confirm that the information was inaccurate. Doing this puts the power of your financial future back where it belongs…in your hands.