A person’s financial well-being and ability to obtain credit relies heavily on the information in their credit report.
Your credit report is a report that starts when you open your first credit account – this could include opening a credit card or acquiring a loan from a financial institution. Your report will show limited personal information (such as your name, address and employer), open and closed credit accounts, whether your payment on those accounts was timely, and inquiries into your credit.
There are three credit bureaus to choose from to pull your credit report: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. At www.annualcreditreport.com, you can pull all three bureaus (this can only be done once every twelve months for free) or you can pull one at time so that you have a report available to you every four months. For example, you might request an Experian report in January, a Transunion report in May and an Equifax report in October.
Your credit score will not be on your actual credit report. If you want to see an approximate credit score for no cost, you can create a free account at www.CreditKarma.com. Credit Karma will give you an idea of what your score currently is and they will send updates when there are increases or decreases in your score for any reason. Credit scores may fluctuate based on how timely you are with loan payments, how often you open or close credit accounts, what types of accounts you open, and the length of your overall credit history.
Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850. A higher credit score indicates to financial institutions that you have been a responsible manager of your resources, which could lead to easier credit processing and lower interest rates.
Ashley Bales is a Family Financial Education Specialist headquartered in Madison County. Her office is located at 137 West Main St., Fredericktown, Missouri. Contact Ashley at 573-783-3303 with questions or comments. MU is an equal opportunity/ADA institution. University of Missouri Extension does not discriminate on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability in employment or in any program or activity.