Managing your credit
Credit score basics
Your credit score is essentially a rating of how likely you are to repay borrowed money. Most commonly used by lenders to determine loan eligibility and interest rates, this unique number reflects your monetary habits and helps them review the risk associated with entrusting you with a loan or other form of credit.
Whether you're building credit, trying to rebuild it after a rough period, or maintaining a strong score, it is important to consider the factors that contribute to your credit's strength and stability.
Learn more about credit scores on the FTC website.
If there's something on your credit report that you'd like to get rid of, the ads that you see and hear from those "credit repair" companies may sound appealing. They promise to legally change your credit report, bring up your score, and give you a fresh start. Can it be true?
The bad news is that most credit repair firms are nothing more than thinly veiled scams. If you see any of these red flags, walk away:
- The company asks for money before doing anything for you.
- They advise you not to be in contact with the three major credit reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
- They promise they are able to change anything on your credit report, even delinquencies that are recent and accurate.
- They advise you to create a brand new credit history by applying for an EIN to use in place of your social security number.
- They advise you to dispute information on your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current.
The obvious problem here is that money is wasted on a scam with nothing to show for it. But an even larger issue lies in the fact that misrepresenting your social security number, getting an EIN under false pretenses, and including inaccurate information on a loan or credit application are all federal crimes. Doing any of these things, even if a legitimate-sounding organization advises you to do them, could lead to being charged and prosecuted for these serious crimes.
The good news is that any credit repair you'd like to do can be handled by you - and legally. The FTC offers information about how to dispute information that's inaccurate or old. Learn more and utilize the sample letter provided.
Credit management support
When it comes to building or rebuilding your credit, it is a long-term commitment. Consistency over time will yield the highest scores and daily decisions will make a difference. If you're looking for support as you improve your credit score, or are concerned about a credit repair company you're working with or are considering, come into the Credit Union and we'll help you.