In this country, there are three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. They offer information to lenders about a person?s credit score. The lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get credit. Each credit report comes with ?score reason codes? to explain why your credit score is where it is.
It is up to you to know what is on your credit report and keep the data up to date. You might have paid your bills on time, but your credit report may show that your credit is less than perfect. You may have had a credit dispute with a merchant that was corrected, but not shown on your report. You may have a bankruptcy that was not properly recorded. You may also have experienced credit fraud.
You can fix your credit profile. You can make sure that you aren?t carrying more debt than is reasonable for your income level. Avoid late and non payments. Make sure that there are no judgments or liens against you. You should also avoid co-signing loans because they are considered your financial liability. If the co-signer defaults, it will be your responsibility to replay the loan. You should avoid unnecessary checks of your credit. Each credit inquiry is recorded and remains on the books for two years. Lenders seeing too many inquiries may think that you are unable to support your current debt and are looking for more credit to support it. Having excessive unused credit is not good. A lender will check to see how much credit you actually have. If you have too much, the lender might worry that you will use up all your credit in a spending spree after you secure a new loan or mortgage.
It?s important to see your credit score and keep it up to date. Most lenders are concerned about your credit activities during the past year or two. You want to make sure the report is accurate for this period and contains no errors. Depending on how inaccurate your credit report is, you may not be given additional credit. This is especially crucial if you are applying for a mortgage. It is not impossible to get a mortgage with less than a perfect credit report, but the amount of the loan and the interest on it will be higher if the lender decides you are a risk.
How do you keep your credit report up to date? There are services, such as Equifax, that will provide a credit report to you and advise you on how to make changes. They will usually update you twice a year on your credit history. They may even advise you when you are approaching your credit limit. Under federal law, you are entitled to a free annual credit report from Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. You should go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com for more details.
Make sure that when you decide to fix your credit report that you do it the right way. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns consumers to beware of companies that guarantee that they can remove late payments, bankruptcies, or similar information from your credit report. Stay away from companies that charge a lot of money to repair credit, keep asking you to verify information that you have previously verified, refuse to give you their address or push you to make a decision immediately.
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