About your credit report and score
Your credit score is a number from 300-850 that rates of how good your credit is. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting, not only a loan, but a good loan.
- 760 or higher – Excellent. No need to try to improve your score.
- 700-759 – Good. Getting your scores about 760 will get you a slightly lower interest rate, but not much.
- 699 or lower – Fair to poor. Start cleaning up your credit report.
Your credit score is based on the information in your credit report, a list of your credit card and bank accounts, outstanding loans, and payment history. The main things on your credit report that hurt your credit score are:
- Outstanding (unpaid) debts
- Late payments
- Credit card balances near the credit limit on those cards
- Liens (both outstanding and paid)
There are three credit reporting agencies (CRA) that keep track of your credit activity: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. Usually, the reports they produce about you are similar, but sometimes there are variations, depending on how your creditors report your activities. (For example, if you make a late payment to one of your credit cards, the credit card company might not report the late payment to all three CRAs.You never know which credit report a prospective lender is going to consult.This means that if you take steps to clean up your credit, you need to make sure that the results show up on all three reports.
Get a copy of your credit report
By law, each CRA must give you a free copy of your credit report if you ask for it.You can request your report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Find out your credit score
Your credit report will not include your credit score.And, just as lenders have a number of credit reports to choose from, they also have a number of credit scores to choose from.
- FICO scores – The most common credit score is the FICO score.If your three credit reports have different information in them, you will have three different FICO scores.You can purchase your Trans Union FICO and your Equifax FICO scores through MyFico.com, where you can. Experian will not allow consumers to access to their FICO scores.
- CRA scores – Each CRA calculates a proprietary credit score for you, too, that it tries to sell to the bank.You can purchase those scores, including the Experian score, through the CRAs’ websites.
- Internal lender scores – Some lenders have their own methods for generating your credit score.
Most lenders will use the FICO scores, because they’re the industry standard, but some will go with the CRA scores because they’re less expensive.Ask potential lenders which score they look at, if you want to make sure you’re looking at the same one they are.
Many lenders will share your credit score with you.However, it’s a good idea for you to find out what your credit score is before you apply for a loan and lenders start looking into your credit history, so you can clean up your report and improve your score.