5 Things You Need To Know About Your Credit Score

Know what your credit score number is? Do you even know what qualifies as a good score and a bad score? When it comes to your credit, you have to know "the score" so that someone can't take advantage of your lack of knowledge.

What are the critical things to know about your credit score and credit report? Here's the top five:

1. Know what your score is, and what kind of rate it should qualify you for. If you know that your score should qualify you for a prime mortgage rate, you won't be taken for a ride and given a subprime rate. (If you don't think it happens, check out my post on "Paying Subprime When You Don't Need To".)

2. Be familiar with the information in your credit report. Do you know that your credit report will keep your last two addresses, if you've moved within the last 2 years? Your current job information will be on the report. In fact, every credit card and the credit limits on those cards wil be on your credit report.  All this information can affect your ability to get a loan, as well as your overall score.

3. Know who keeps your credit information. The main credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

4. Did you know that you can get a copy of your credit report for free? Since the information is about you, you are entitled to have access to it. Get a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau every 1 to 2 years. You'll know exactly what your lender is looking at, if you've got a copy yourself. You can also take your copy of your credit report to a lender if you are still "shopping around" for a lender. This allows you to reduce the number of credit inquiries made against your information. Too many requests for credit reports can be a red flag to lenders.

5. You can get bad credit history removed! If you have had a bad credit history, but have cleaned up your act, your credit report (and score) may not reflect this improvement. Let's say that your local electrical company has reported an account that you allowed to become overdue a number of months in a row. If you have now maintained a clean payment history for at least 6 months to a year, you can call your utility and ask them to forward this information to the credit bureaus so that your previous payment problem is removed from your report.

Michael Chantrel

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