Retirement Plan is the Key to Confidence, Survey Finds
Author: Jerry Martin, Financial Advisor
My Marriage Misconception
Author: Tawny Browning
Journey from a Cool Kid to the Student Board
Author: Joycelynn Rusk
Social Security Claiming Strategies for Married Couples
Author: Curtis Hinshaw, Financial Advisor
EMV and Merchant Card Services
Author: Leslie Paull
Setting Up a Plan
Author: Bonni Kids
Financial Spring Cleaning with myOFM
Author: Jacob Pepper
Investment Themes for 2015
Author: Kimberly Spinks
Steps for First Time Homebuyers
Author: Lora Hollins
12 Financial Resolutions
Author: Amy Proctor
Making Managing Your Finances Fun!
Author: Chris Davis
Beware the '12 Online Scams of Christmas'
Author: Ken Hartley
Holiday Savings Tips
Author: Sherry Gibbon, Vice President, Community Relations and OMNI Manager
Establishing a Personalized Budget
Author: James Sheridan, Senior Vice President, Lending Officer
I'm a Victim of a Checkcard Breach. Now What?
Author: Sheri Parish
Back to School
Author: Karen Partee
Debit Card Tips for Travel and Large Purchases
Author: Crystal Hardy, Vice President and Bank Card Manager
Is now the time to purchase the home of your dreams?
Author: Lora Hollins
The End of the Savings Challenge
Author: Tawny Browning
Financial Planning--Helping You See the Big Picture
Author: Carl Newman, Financial Advisor
October 1, 2012
A common request that I get as a banker is, “I need to borrow money to fix my credit.” In most cases, the borrower who is making the request is usually unfamiliar with credit bureaus and the credit reporting process. They are also unaware of how to access their credit information, how to make corrections, and ultimately improve their credit.
Your credit report is essentially your “credit report card,” and contains information on your Identity, your current and past credit payment history, terms, balances on loans, your public records (i.e. tax liens, judgments, foreclosures, bankruptcies, etc.), and inquiries that you have made for new credit. I have seen several instances where a family has gone car shopping over the weekend and ended up with multiple “inquiries” on the credit report which ultimately had a negative effect on their credit score.
There are three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You, as a consumer, can access your personal credit report free of charge once every 12 months at their respective web sites:
You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com to access your report from all three agencies using just one web site – you are entitled to one free credit report from each annually.
We have all seen the television ads where you can get your credit report for “free,” but www.annualcreditreport.com was created by the three consumer credit agencies to allow you truly free access to your credit information in a secure manner in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). You can either request your credit information on-line, over the telephone, or by mail. If you use www.annualcreditreport.com, you will not receive any solicitations via email, direct mail or telemarketing from accessing the site as an additional security precaution. Although you can get your credit report free annually, your credit score is not included in the free report. If you want your credit score, you will have to pay the credit reporting agency or a credit service for that information. Most lenders will share with you your credit score if you have applied for a loan. It is important to note that the credit score the lender obtains may not be the same credit score that you obtain as a consumer from the credit reporting agency.
Another good web site to learn about your credit and credit score is:
This web site is maintained by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Their web site has very good information on what is a credit report, why it is important, who is collecting information on you, where do they get their information, how you correct errors on your credit report, how you can improve your credit score, and much more information.
Do you get a constant flow of credit card and unsolicited credit offers in the mail? Did you know that the credit bureaus might sell your information to creditors, insurers, etc. based on specific credit criteria? If you want to stop receiving those pre-screened offers you can “opt-out” by calling 1-888-567-8688, or by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com. You can opt-out for 5 years by going on-line or calling the toll free number. If you want to opt-out permanently, you will have to download a form from the web site, fill it out, sign and mail it back to them. If you change your mind and want to resume getting the offers, you can call the toll free number or visit their website to do so.
Remember, your credit report is your personal “Report Card” and you as the consumer now have the information to review, correct and improve your credit.
All comments are subject to approval. Read more.