Being able to loan money from lending companies can mean you’re financially secure. That’s because if you can get a loan from these companies, that means you can repay them. They know that by looking through your finances and reviewing your credit reports.
Credit scores determine your worthiness to borrow money from these companies. And an excellent credit score, which is an 850 credit score, makes you a good borrower. But first, how do credit scores and credit reports work?
This article will give details about credit scores and how you can get your first credit.
How Do Credit Reports and Credit Scores Work?
Your credit report contains details on your spending and saving habits. This includes your active and inactive credit accounts, type of credit, and payment history for each account.
Businesses use the information to predict your likelihood of making timely debt payments. Due to this, lenders consider your credit reports before approving your loan applications.
But that’s only the beginning of why your credit history is important. The data on your credit report can also influence the interest rates that lending companies offer you. Your credit history can also affect insurance costs and utility deposits.
Also, your credit report also affects your credit score. Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) use the data in your report to calculate your credit score.
If you have a high credit score, that means you are less likely to default. A poor score, however, will make it more difficult for you to get credit or a loan. In some cases, a bad credit score persuades the lender to charge you a higher interest rate.
Credit reporting agencies determine your credit score using a mathematical model. But this can vary depending on which CRA you’re getting your report from.
One of the most popular credit score models is the FICO scoring model. The highest you can get in this model is an 850 credit score. A perfect credit score opens up more lending opportunities for you and lowers interest rates. This means that you can get better offers and have your loan applications approved easily.
Getting an 850 credit score is simple and is, in fact, possible. The hard part is how you can maintain such a score. It takes a lot of effort to keep your score within the highest range. Typically, you need to make on-time payments and review your credit reports regularly. Using your credit cards wisely is also key to maintaining a perfect credit score.
Americans with excellent credit scores have more credit products in their names. Despite that, they carry less debt than people with good FICO scores. In particular, perfect scorers had an average of 6.4 credit cards but only had around $3,000 in debt. This is compared to the national average of 3.8 cards and nearly $6,500 in debt.
What Data Is on Your Credit Report?
The data in your credit report from different CRAs have slight differences. Despite that, they all contain the same four types of data that can impact your credit score. These include:
- Your personal information
- Your current and previous credit accounts
- Your public records (foreclosures, bankruptcies, civil suits, tax liens, and overdue child support)
Can You Check Your Credit Report?
Yes, you can check your credit report with your respective credit reporting agency. The law requires all CRAs to give you a free copy of your credit report. You can get them for free every 12 months by accessing annualcreditreport.com.
Otherwise, you can buy one from these links:
It’s advisable to get a copy of your credit report from all of these CRAs. That’s because each of these agencies gets different information from different credit providers.
If you’re new to the credit world, then you should know that it’s important to check your credit report. If you regularly review your credit report, you’ll know if you’re still within the good or bad range.
It’s also a good habit to check your credit report if you’re working to improve your score. You can check it every two to three months to ensure that all your data is accurate. Regular credit report check-ups also help catch any fraudulent activities in your report. Even creditors can make honest mistakes that lead to errors in your credit report.
By doing so, you can take the necessary steps to dispute the errors and repair your credit score. You can do credit repair DIY, which doesn’t cost anything. But, if you want a more efficient way to fix your credit, get help from credit repair companies.
What Are Credit Repair Services and How Can They Help With Your Credit Score?
Credit repair is done by professional credit repair companies. They do this by examining and disputing errors in your report.
1. Examining Your Credit Report
When credit repair companies review your credit report, they look for errors such as:
- Unknown accounts
- Duplicate accounts
- Inaccurate accounts
- Wrong inquiries
These errors hurt your credit score. You can identify these errors if you monitor your credit report from time to time. Once you identify them, you can ask credit fixing companies for help. They are aware of what to look for and can spare you the time and effort of going through each report.
2. Disputing Errors in Your Credit Report
After they discover errors in your report, credit repair agencies will then dispute these. Submitting a dispute means getting the credit agency to investigate the accuracy of the data on your report. If they can’t verify it, they must either correct the error or remove it.
How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?
Repairing your credit yourself is the cheapest way to get your credit score back in the good range. Of course, this takes a lot of time and effort to make the most of your DIY credit repair. If you’re new or don’t have the luxury of fixing your credit, hiring a credit repair company is your best chance.
But each agency has a unique pricing structure. These businesses often charge monthly fees, which can range from $19 to $149. And some offer bundles for their services. If you don’t know how to choose the right credit repair agency, having your credit fixed can be expensive.
A good credit repair company can help you handle your credit problems. While that is the case, the best one offers affordable credit repair services.
How to Build Your Credit if You Have No Credit History
You need a solid credit history to achieve most milestones in your life. This includes getting your first car, buying a house, or choosing the best insurance plan. Having a poor or nonexistent credit score makes it challenging to acquire these things.
Only a small number of credit cards are available for those with no credit history. If you want to get one, you need some kind of credit history to be qualified. If you’re just starting, here are ways that you can develop your credit.
1. Get a Credit Card With Your Checking Account
Even if you don’t have a credit score, having a checking account with a bank can still help you get a card. You could at the very least be eligible for a secured credit card. But take note that a secured card has a credit limit. This means you can only use a set amount of money over a set period.
Secured credit cards may not have a high credit limit, but they will help you establish a credit history. You can, then, get a regular, unsecured credit card if you’ve built up a solid credit history with that card.
2. Become an Authorized Credit Card User
If you have someone you know who owns a credit card, ask them to add you as an authorized user. But make sure this person makes on-time payments, has a high credit limit and has a low or zero balance. By doing so, you can profit from their good credit habits.
3. Apply for a Credit-Builder Loan
Credit-builder loans are small loans that you can get from credit unions. It often ranges from $300 to $1,000. Applying for one will allow you to establish your credit history if you still don’t have any.
The lender deposits the loan into a secured savings account, and you repay it over a certain period. Your payments are, then, recorded to credit bureaus. You also have access to the funds in the savings account once you have fully repaid your loan.
In a Nutshell
Understanding what credit reports and scores are will help you with your finances in the future. Credit reports help loan companies and creditors determine your creditworthiness through your credit score.
If you don’t have a credit history, be sure to build one with the steps in this article. And don’t forget to maintain an excellent to perfect credit score. The best way of doing so is to check your credit reports from time to time. This way, you can learn more about your situation and identify any potential fraud or inaccuracies with your accounts.
The best things in life are not free, but with an excellent credit score, you can get them with better deals.
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