|We provide you a handy Credit Services Directory in an easy to read chart format so you can quickly find all the contact information and links you need for getting in touch with the four primary credit reporting agencies in the United States. We also show you where you can get your free credit reports and estimate your credit score.|
The "Big Three" dominate credit reporting agencies are Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax, and TransUnion. Each has its own proprietary data collection, reporting, and scoring systems. If you are checking your credit, it is a good idea to get a report from each company.
All three offer consolidated reports which are often less expensive than ordering three individual reports, and some include your credit score. The pricing, layout, and features vary slightly from one consolidated credit report to another. Keep in mind you are entitled to free reports as well.
|Free Credit Reports|
|According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to one free credit report (from all four agencies) during any 12-month period no matter where you live, if you: are unemployed and intend to apply for employment in the next 60 days, are on public welfare assistance, believe your file contains inaccurate information due to fraud, or if you have been turned down for a loan, or denied credit, insurance, or employment in the past 60 days. Call each agency or click through their website to find details on how to get your free report.|
Federal Legislation: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) that was signed into law in December 2003, allows you to get one free copy of your credit report annually. Every resident, regardless of state, is entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the big three credit bureaus. (Innovis is not included). Secure yours at: AnnualCreditReport.com.
State Legislation: in addition to the above, residents of the following seven states are currently entitled to a second free credit report per year from the big three credit agencies AND Innovis: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont. Once again, call each agency or click through their website for more details.
|Free Credit Report Contact Numbers|
|Free Credit Score Estimator|
|While credit reports are easy to obtain for free, a free credit score is not. Most credit scores are only available at an extra cost. If knowing your exact credit score isn't important, you can get a ballpark estimate of your credit score for free. There are a few sites that offer estimators. My favorite is at MyFICO. Grab a copy of your free credit report and click over to: MyFICO.com, to answer ten questions are see your score.|
Your FICO credit score is made up of five categories: Payment History is the most important, followed by Amounts Owed, Length of Credit History, New Credit, and Types of Credit Used. The categories are better explained here.
Your credit score gives companies a grade on your credit worthiness. The score represents your past loan history and gives lenders an idea about how likely you are to pay off your loans and how punctual you are at making payments. It's possible you will have a different score from each of credit company since they pull information from a combination of different lenders. FICO scores range from 300 (lowest) to 850 (highest). Less than 15% of the population have scores of 800+.
Here is a quick guide to the score ratings, keeping in mind different lenders may be tighter or looser on their credit standards and lending policies.
|800+||Highest: qualify for loans at most favorable rates.|
|720 - 799||Very Good: qualify for loans at favorable rates.|
|680 -719||Good: might need to pay a little higher interest rate.|
|620 - 679||Okay: fewer loan approvals and higher rates likely. Try to improve your credit before applying.|
|580 - 619||Below Average: if loan is approved, you'll often pay much higher rates.|
|500 - 579||Very Bad: credit is in need of long term repair.|
|Below 500||Terrible: consider professional help.|
Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is intended to assist site visitors in quickly finding contact information and links to the major credit bureaus.
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Information was current as of October 21, 2010.|
Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article or to alert me to additional information one should consider.
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