Credit 101

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creditDo you know all you should about your credit score?  Most people know they need credit to receive a loan from their lender, but do you really know how the credit reporting bureaus come up with your individual score?  If you don’t, you should.  Peach State is here to help clear up some of the confusion when it comes to your credit score.

Is it important to know my score before requesting a loan from my lender?

Yes!  You should always know a general range of where your credit stands and what is on your credit report before walking into your financial institution to request a loan.  Why?  Your credit score could determine whether you are approved or denied for a loan and it will also determine the interest rate if you are approved.  In addition, you should review your credit report for accuracy.  What if there are reporting errors in your report?  Will that error cost you more in interest and even possibly prevent you from being approved for a loan?

 

According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 5% of U.S. consumers have an error on their credit report that “could lead to them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance.”  This may not sound like many people, but what if you are part of that 5%?  It’s also important to note that correcting an error on your credit report takes an average of 14 days according to officials at Experian.  Can you wait those two weeks to get that personal loan or vehicle?  Being prepared before walking into your financial institution gives you the upper hand in a situation such as this.  Obtaining a copy of your credit report is easy.

The FTC now requires each credit reporting agency provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months if you request it.  There are three ways to request your free credit report:

  1. Online:  We recommend going to www.annualcreditreport.com.  Other online sources may not be as accurate with their reporting.  After verifying your identity, you will have immediate access to your credit report.  You will not receive a score from www.annualcreditreport.com, but you will know what is on your report.  To receive your scores, you will need to request them directly from the credit reporting bureaus.
  2. By Phone:  To request your free report be mailed to you, call 877.322.8228 and ask for your report from each of the three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  You should receive your report within two to three weeks of your request.
  3. By Mail:  To request your report by mail, you will need to complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form, which you can find by going to: www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf.  Once you have completed the form, mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Your report(s) will be mailed to you within 15 days upon receiving your request.

Next time we will examine what’s in a score and score ranges.

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