#2049 Credit Reports: What you don’t know can cost you money!

bckchk_34cEasy access to credit reports and scores is a relatively new development.

Family Finance CorrespondentDaniel Baker, is our Family Finance Correspondent

Credit Reports: What you don’t know can cost you money! – #0

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  Credit reports are consumers’ passport to the financial world. Whether you want to rent an apartment, get car insurance or apply for a credit card, the data in your credit report will be one of the crucial measures used to judge you.

Problems with the Existing Credit Reporting System

  An estimated 12.6 million U.S. adults were victims of identity fraud in 2012. According to the FTC, victims of identity theft spend an average of 175 hours and $800 to clear their names. Sad truth is, that if you became a victim of identity theft, it is up to you to prove that it was somebody else who did wrongs.

  And as if identity theft was not enough, the credit reporting system is full of problems of its own. The situation is so bad that the state of Mississippi filed a complaint against one of the largest credit bureaus. The lawsuit accuses the credit report bureau of including erroneous data into their database. In this way millions of Americans will have problems with loans, employment and security clearances. This report bureau has even wrongly reported that consumers are on a federal terrorism watch list.

  The key allegations in Mississippi’s complaint are not entirely new: consumer advocates, plaintiffs’ attorneys, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have assailed credit bureaus for inadequately addressing erroneous credit reports. According to an FTC study, 5 percent of all consumers’ credit reports contain errors that could harm their ability to obtain credit.

  In the meantime, real credit score horror stories abound, but are rarely reported in the mainstream media. “You are guilty before you are proven innocent in a situation like this,” said Catherine Taylor, 45, of Benton, Arkansas., who claimed she had been denied employment and credit because her filing was mixed up with a felon who had the same name and birthday.

  Judy Johnson of Bossier City, LA., was confused with a less creditworthy Judith Johnson, with a similar address and Social Security number. For nearly seven years, Judy Johnson, a 63-year-old credit manager for a building supply company, said she tried to remove the black marks from her credit report. But when she was denied a credit card, she knew the problem had returned — a third time. “This time, I was livid,” she said.

  She ultimately brought a suit against one of the bureaus, and recently settled for an amount she cannot disclose. But the problems still linger. A deputy sheriff recently came to her door to serve her papers for a debt she says she does not owe.

  Early detection is the key. So, with reports in hand, it’s time to review and make sure there are no signs of fraud like new accounts that you do not recall opening. It’s also a good idea to look for derogatory or out-dated information, such as loan payment history, missed payments, collection actions, eviction, or repossessions. Excessive inquiries into your file could also be a sign that something’s wrong.


Score basics: the first keys to better credit.

  We’ve established that good credit is important. But what is good credit and how do we get it? Credit scores range from 350 to 850. The higher the score, the better your credit is. Your financial standing—whether banks and credit card companies are willing to say “yes”—is determined by this number. It is the measure by which lenders determine how much they are willing to risk on you.

  A good credit score indicates that you are low-risk and therefore worthy of great rates and premium loan terms. Bad credit means you will pay penalties and high rates to borrow the money you need or want. If you have a history of late payments and default loans, your credit score will suffer—even if you have money in the bank and a high-paying job. A score below 620 puts you at risk for negative consequences in so many areas of life. So, it is absolutely necessary that you know and monitor your credit score.

Protect your financial reputation with Credit Score Providers

  Managing your credit and protecting your financial reputation doesn’t have to be a hassle. Choosing a good credit score product is the first step towards getting clarity and making any necessary changes. A good Credit Score Provider will give you reports from the three major bureaus and offer monitoring services to help you avoid identity theft and unrecognized charges.

  When you receive your credit report, there will be information from three sources: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian–the recognized bureaus responsible for issuing scores. If your score is 620 or below, you should take steps towards a higher number. This takes time, but can begin with regular, on-time payments towards outstanding debt, avoiding collection actions, etc.

  It’s a good idea to close credit cards that you’re not using. And remember too much debt can hurt your Credit Score, but not using any credit does not build your reputation towards good credit.


What’s the Best Way to Mind Your Credit?

  The answer is simple: Know your score. Check for mistakes on your report. Keep your credit healthy. We’ve all heard the advice, seen commercials touting miracle credit cures and read advertisements for free reports. You’d be amazed, though, how small debts can creep into your credit report and lower your credit score without you being aware of them. Check your credit report now, because not all the debts listed will be accurate. You also need to be sure no paid debts are still listed as outstanding.

  You probably already know that your score can promote your ability to save or stunt it. But you may be surprised by what other aspects of your life can be affected by good credit or bad.

Your Dream Home

  Making your real estate dreams a reality probably means shopping for mortgage. Having good credit can help you negotiate for better interest rates and smaller monthly payments—payments you’ll likely be making for 20+ years! Similarly, if you’re in the market for a home improvement or equity loan, you’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan if you’re in good standing.

Family Life

  Thinking about getting married? Good credit provides a clean slate for starting a life with your spouse. Whether you’re paying for a wedding, traveling together or getting ready to have children, you will need “stuff.” Without cash on hand to make big purchases, you’ll need to use credit cards or take out loans. Good credit ensures you qualify for them!

A New Ride

  When it comes to making a deal on a new car, good credit is like a little negotiation power in your pocket. It helps you qualify for good financing terms and tells lenders that you are a low risk borrower who deserves better interest rates and smaller monthly payments.

Job Hunting

  Believe it or not, credit can play a part in landing a better job. Good credit indicates a person is reliable, honest and financially responsible—someone who has it “all together.” Bad credit can be perceived as a sign of poor management skills, lack of responsibility, and irresponsible behavior. Who would you rather hire?

College Life

  Higher education is expensive, but worth it. There are so many loan solutions out there to help fund college, technical school and trade courses. The only catch is they’re available to those with good credit. So, whether you’re a parent paying for your child’s education, or footing the bill on your own, pay attention to your credit.

Section-8, Low Income Housing Programs

  Landlords that are participating in low income housing programs are within their rights to allow or refuse rent to a tenant based on the information contained in his credit check. Landlords do this to check for criminal history, as well as to see if the prospective tenant is up-to-date with his bills, etc. This information may include but is not limited to how much outstanding debt the tenant currently has, or whether he is making his payments on time.

  If the tenant will be able to provide an updated credit report without any errors, etc., that can definitely help him or her avoid any surprises, and go through the screening process for Section-8 housing much faster!

  We strongly recommend that you Request Your Credit Score & Credit Report before filing for benefits and assistance!

Retirement Savings

  Saving for retirement is easier when the cost of living expenses are kept as low as possible. Smaller payments and better interest rates—resulting from good credit—will help get you there. It’s never too early to think about retirement and it’s never too late to set aside money for your golden years.


Parameters influencing credit score.

Choose a Provider and Commit to Monitoring your Score Regularly

  These days, even if you have a good credit score, you can’t afford not to check your reports regularly. Identity theft and credit reporting errors can ruin your reputation, destroy your credit, and cost thousands of dollars and countless hours to resolve.

  Keeping tabs on your credit health is worth it. Companies like XXXX offer regular monitoring for a monthly membership fee. There is even a 7-day free trial to test the program. The company will give you instant delivery of your three reports, daily credit monitoring/alerts, and access to a comprehensive credit learning centre. There’s no better way to know where you stand, take control, and protect your good name. It’s peace of mind in the modern world of commerce and a truly powerful way to manage your finances.

Do you know what is really being reported on your credit record?

  Now that you’ve read this special report, I’m sure you realize that you need to check your credit report now so small problems don’t grow into big problems.

  Are you a part of the large percentage of people whose credit reports have incorrect data being reported? Please, protect yourself with the knowledge you just learned. Fight back against those unscrupulous companies and collectors who make a lot of money catering to innocent people with a bad credit report. Be aware and be vigilant.

Protect yourself today!
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