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What should I watch for in my credit reports?
In addition to confirming your basic information, such as your name, address, and social security number, also watch for errors and signs of fraud:
- New accounts that you do not recall opening
- Derogatory information that is not up to date, such as loan payment history (note that bankruptcies stay on your credit file for several years)
- Derogatory information that is incorrect, including missed payments, collection actions, eviction, or repossessions
- Excessive inquiries into your file
Why is it important to check my credit reports?
It's wise to check your credit reports frequently for signs of fraud. If someone obtains your social security number, only a few additional pieces of information are necessary to perpetrate fraud in your name. Common types of identity theft include fraudulent bank accounts, credit cards, utilities, and loans. According to the FTC, victims of identity theft spend an average of 175 hours and $800 to clear their names. Early detection is the key to avoid suffering long-term financial consequences.
How many credit reports do I have?
Most consumers have three credit reports in their name – one from each credit reporting agency (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). ScoreSense provides you access to the information that all three credit reporting agencies keep on file for you. You can refresh your credit reports and scores with ScoreSense every month.
Why are my credit scores so important?
Your credit scores are used by lenders to represent your overall level of credit risk. They are essentially numerical summaries of the information in your credit reports. The higher your scores, the better your credit, and the more likely lenders will be to give you a favorable interest rate on a loan. Each of the three major credit bureaus has its own method for determining a credit score, but they are essentially equivalent.
How high or low can my credit scores be?
Credit scores range from 350 to 850 – the higher your scores, the more favorable interest rates you will receive on a loan.
Will checking my credit reports adversely affect my credit?
Requesting your own credit reports will not affect your credit rating. On the other hand, inquiries such as mortgage, loan, and credit card applications will affect your scores if several of these inquiries occur over a relatively short time frame. Some studies have indicated that this suggests you may be a higher credit risk.