A credit score is a number, ranging from the high 300's to
the mid-800's, which is developed from information contained in your electronic
credit files maintained by the three private credit repositories: Equifax, Trans
Union, and Experian (formerly TRW). It is commonly referred to as a "FICO"
score, because the scoring model widely used by lenders was developed by the
Fair, Isaac & Co. Your credit score represents your credit risk - how likely you
are to repay a loan.
A severe financial situation can affect almost anyone. For people who find themselves trapped in that situation, a negative credit report is often the outcome. Unfortunately, the effects of a poor credit rating are evident in almost every area of life. The inability to get a job, buy a car or a home are all reasons why people dream about perfect credit. The growing numbers of credit repair agencies prove that many people cannot pass up the opportunity to try and change their credit rating.
Advice, information, and caution from MMI's consumer credit counselors about the real possibility of repairing damaged credit. For further information on credit repair, contact MMI's consumer credit counselors at: 1-888-845-5669.
Credit reporting agencies exist to gather facts and present them in an organized fashion. They collect information reported to them by banks, mortgage companies, department stores and other creditors about your credit accounts and compile it into a credit report. They do not make lending decisions; their job is simply to provide the information that creditors need to make lending decisions. Here are the names and Internet addresses of the three major credit bureaus:
Establishing, or reestablishing credit isn't easy. Even if you've had credit before, you may be turned down when you apply for a loan or credit cards. It is important that you understand the reasons why credit grantors may deny extending credit.
If you are creditworthy, the competition for your interest rate dollars is fierce. In 2002, an estimated 4.89 billion credit card solicitations were mailed in the U.S. – approximately 17 for every resident – advertising low introductory rates and bonuses for making purchases. In fact, credit is so readily available that it is often taken for granted. However, it is important to realize that not all “credit cards” are created equal. There are thousands of credit card issuers and several different types including bank cards, retail cards, charge cards and secured cards. Savvy consumers shop for credit the same way they shop for a major purchase.
If you have ever checked your credit report and found an error, you will want to know your legal rights. In fact, all consumers should familiarize themselves with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), passed by Congress in 1970 and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Legally, the FCRA protects you by requiring credit bureaus to furnish correct and complete information to companies requesting credit histories for evaluation. These reports typically are used to evaluate applicants for loans, credit cards, insurance and employment.
If your credit score is less than desirable, there are many things you can do to improve your standing. One is to be patient. While most credit scores do not change more than a few points from month to month, time can still be the best cure for less-than-perfect credit. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states derogatory information can remain on your credit bureau file for 7 years from the time the account is placed for collection, charged to profit and loss, or subjection to any similar action.
Today, most lending decisions are not made by an individual -- they are made by a "credit scoring" system. Your credit score is made up of several pieces of your financial history and is basically a statistical formula creditors use to determine your creditworthiness.
Truth In Lending Act - Requires creditor to provide the consumer with accurate and complete credit costs and terms.