Find curated websites and links to help you manage credit and build strong credit scores. To learn more about credit reports and scores visit Learn About Credit and review All About Credit Reports & Credit Scores | Financial Education.
An organization that tracks and reports your credit, including your history of paying bills and calculates your ability to repay future loans. Credit bureaus do two things: compile credit histories on prospective borrowers and provide credit reports to lenders.
Learn more about credit bureaus and credit reports.
Ordering Your Free Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually.
Get your credit reports from the credit bureaus at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up one website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Learn More on Access Free Credit Report.
A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit profile and how you’ve handled credit in the past. It’s used by creditors to determine your potential credit relationship in the future. The exact information used by credit scoring providers (such as FICO) to calculate your credit score is top secret but there are some publicly available information.
Learn more about credit scores.
Get a free credit score from the following:
+ Credit Sesame – Get your Experian credit report and credit score for free. Credit Sesame makes money helping you find credit card and loan offers that fit your credit situation.
+ Quizzle – Get access to an Equifax credit report and free VantageScore credit scores. You’ll receive emails for offers ranging from mortgages to credit cards in return for the free access.
+ Credit Karma – Start with a free credit score. No credit card is required and no strings are attached. They make money from credit offers based on your credit profile.
It may seem like a catch-22 when you can’t get credit because you don’t have credit. A credit history is important in order to buy a house or car and get the best rates. In some instances, credit histories may be used to price insurance premiums, get an apartment, set required down payments for utilities and even a job.
Learn more on Establishing Credit.
Improve Credit Scores
Your credit score is a reflection of how you’ve handled credit and loans. By making sure you make timely payments and do not carry credit card balances from month-to-month you’re score should be satisfactory. However, mistakes do happen either from financial institutions reporting incorrect information to a missed payment due to simply forgetting.
Learn more on Improve Your Credit Score.
Having credit isn’t a reason to have debt. Good credit can help you get better financing options, rates and terms for things you may need such as a car to drive to and from work. You’ll also need good credit if you’re looking at a getting a new apartment, hook up the utilities and get a cell phone. Good credit may also be necessary to land the perfect job.
Learn more on Rebuilding Credit.
Fix Credit Report Errors
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to access your credit report and ensure the accuracy of the information provided. Whenever, you dispute a record in your credit report, the credit bureaus are required by law to start an investigation of your claim and delete information that is inaccurate or unverifiable.
Learn more on Fixing Credit Report Errors.
Found inaccurate information on your credit report? Learn the proper steps to dispute and correct your credit file. Learn the very important steps to take and your rights under the law.
Learn more on Disputing Inaccurate Information on Credit Report.
Protect Your Identity
Monitoring your credit report can help protect you from the headaches and problems of identity theft. By checking your credit report annually you can be on top of any incorrect information. Additionally, you can enroll (and pay) for identity monitoring service which typically scan identity information in credit applications for unusual activity.
Learn more on Protecting Your Identity.
Stop Prescreened Credit Offers
If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving prescreened offers for five years or permanently.
To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.
To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.
Learn more on Stopping Prescreened Credit Offers.
Curated Credit Educational Resources
+ Credit and Loans. Federal Trade Commission
+ Credit Reports and Scores. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
+ What’s My Score. Visa
+ Credit (Videos). Better Money Habits
+ Credit Education by Experian. Experian
+ Credit Education by TransUnion. TransUnion
+ CreditScoring.com. Greg Fisher’s mission to debunk myths and stop misinformation.