Tuning Up Your Credit
Getting your report and score
There are many sites out there that allow you to pull your credit report and score from one or all three of the credit reporting bureaus. You should check your credit report annually. You can get your free report Annual Credit Report. Now, this won’t give you a score unless you pay for it. But you can at least look for mistakes which do happen.
By law, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report on file once a year. There are three credit reporting agencies
The credit score a very complicated process. If you see a site offering a free credit score, keep in mind that it’s not going to be the same credit score seen by lenders. What you are getting is an estimate based upon your credit report, and not a true snapshot. San Jose based FICO is the first U.S. credit scoring company, and it is their score that tends to be the gold standard. Each credit reporting agency uses FICO differently which is why your score is different if you had pulled it separately from each bureau.
Often, sites are trying to get you to sign up for a monitoring service, and they have a free trial period. If you cancel before the end, you will get your score for free.
8 Surprising Things That Impact Your Credit
- Renting a car
- Applying for credit (even when you aren’t rejected)
- Disputing an account
- Having credit cards, but no loans
- Just a single late payment
- Closing an account
- Late library books
So What Do You Recommend?
- Set up payment reminders so you never have a late payment again. Do remember that a lot of credit card companies want the payment a few days before the due date to have time to process it. It’s not fair since they say it’s due on a certain date, but it’s best be a few days early.
- Set up automatic payments using online banking where you can.
- Reduce the amount of debt you owe.
- Again, check your credit report annually. Look for mistakes and fix mistakes as soon as you find them.
- Get your credit report 3-6 months before applying for a major loan.
- Be patient. It can take 30-90 days for information to be updated on a credit report after you’ve made changes (like paying off a student loan, or had disputed information resolved)