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Understanding Your Credit Report

Aug 17, 2008
These days, credit scores affect almost everything we do from the rates you will qualify for on mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards to the ability to get some jobs. That is why it is essential that we understand what a credit report is and what factors can affect it. It is also important to understand your credit score and how that number is viewed by lenders and others.

A credit report and score is a snapshot of how high of a credit risk you are to a lender. The most widely used credit score is the FICO, which ranges from 300-850. This system was created by the Fair Issac Corporation and is used by the majority of lenders in determining consumer credit scores. There are also many other credit rating agencies that sell "educational scores" that the industry sometimes refers to as "FAKOs" because they are not a true FICO score based on the Fair Isaac model. For example, Experian offers their own PLUS Score and TransUnion sells a Vantage Score, which ranges between 501-990. These scores can sometimes differ from the FICO score by 20 points or more and have completely different ranges, so it is very important that you know kind of score you are actually looking at and to make sure that it is consistent with the score your lender would use to qualify you for a loan.

Ultimately, it is recommended that you review your credit report at least once a year and determine what you can do to improve your score to ensure that you are not considered a high risk as a borrower. Depending on what is currently listed on your credit reports, improving your credit score could require paying down revolving accounts, establishing new lines of credit, or disputing inaccurate or misleading items on your credit reports.

If you are curious about what is listed on your credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order a free copy of your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus.
About the Author
Visit CreditRepair.com for more information about understanding your credit reports and check out the credit repair blog for the most recent information about your credit.
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