What is a credit bureau?
There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. Credit bureaus are private, profit-making companies that gather and sell information about a person’s credit history. The bureaus sell the information to banks, credit unions, credit card companies, finance companies, insurance companies and others.
The credit bureaus get most of their information from creditors. They also search court records for lawsuits, bankruptcy filings, and tax liens.
When an item is reported to a credit bureau, the company will search its files until it finds entries that match the name, social security number, and other identifying information. The information in a credit file is the credit history, which can be positive or negative. Most credit files contain a credit score.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that reflects your credit worthiness, based on the entries in your credit file. The higher the score, the better the credit risk. A person with a higher credit score is usually able to obtain credit at a more favorable interest rate and under better terms, than a person with a lower credit score.
The credit score can range from 300 to 850. The formula to calculate the credit score was developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. The three major credit bureaus use this formula, although each is slightly different from the others. The score is called a “FICO” score, although the Equifax calls its score “Beacon”, and Trans Union calls its score “Empirica”. Like the Coca-Cola formula, the precise formula to calculate the credit scores is a closely guarded secret. However, Fair Isaac Corporation has released some information to a give an idea how credit scores are calculated.
Below are the factors that are used to calculate a credit score:
- Payment History (35% of credit score)
- Total Amount Owed (30% of credit score)
- Length of Credit History (the longer, the better) (15% of credit score)
- New Credit (10%)
- Type of Credit (10%)
Fair Isaac emphasizes that inquiries don’t affect scores that much. Many kinds of inquiries don’t affect the credit score at all.
There are a number of factors that are not considered in calculating the credit score, such as:
a. Race b. Age
c. Salary and occupation
- Any interest rate being chargd on an account
- Any information not found in the credit report
How do I order my credit reports?
Beginning June 2005, residents in Louisiana can order a free credit report once per year, for each major credit bureau. Consumers can contact the credit bureaus and order the reports by telephone, mail, or internet. To obtain a credit report online, consumers usually must register with the company first, and obtain a user ID and password. The following information is useful in obtaining the credit reports:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241 www.equifax.com
Experian 1-888-397-3742 P.O. Box 2002 Allen, Texas 75013 www.experian.com
Trans Union 1-800-888-4213
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, Pennsylvania 19022 www.transunion.com
To order your credit report, it is important to have ready the following information:
Full name, Social Security Number, Address, Zip Code, and Date of Birth. Remember, the credit bureau may charge a fee for providing your credit score.
Is my credit report accurate?
Studies have shown that approximately 80% of credit reports have some inaccuracies. The ten most common reasons to re-score a credit file are:
- Payment history in incorrect
- Delinquencies have been brought current
- Balance has been paid
- Account does not belong to the borrower
- Account is too old to report on the credit report
- Account is one in which the borrower is only an “authorized user”
- The credit limit on a credit card is not accurate
- The same account is duplicated in the credit report (example, collection agency listedseparate from the original creditor)
- An account is mistakenly listed as a “charge off” when it was actually paid off
- Incorrect or incomplete name, address, social security number
Should I hire Sam to repair my credit report?
Good credit is an important and precious commodity in our society today. It affects every aspect of our lives. It is said, “the higher the credit score, the lower the interest rate”. Lower interest rates can save hundreds of dollars per month.
A real credit repair attorney should do more than dispute negative information with the credit bureaus. Sam also disputes information with the furnisher of information – that means the original creditors, collection agencies, and courthouses. We do more than ask for “verification”; we demand validation and proof of the debt. We enforce the procedures and timelines laid out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Act, and all other federal laws. We work on all of your accounts at one time in order to have a quick projected completion date. Our services can remove negative inaccurate, unverifiable, and incomplete information from your credit report.
How do I rebuild my credit?
Getting credit in your own name is an excellent strategy for rebuilding your credit. Here are some tips:
- Use existing or new credit cards
- Apply for new credit cards, but apply for credit when you are most likelyto get it. It’s often easiest to obtain a card from a department store or
- Be consistent with the name you use.
- Add your name as a secondary cardholder with someone in good standing.
- Make sure positive information gets reported to the credit bureaus.