All 3 Credit Scores
It is important to know all 3 credit scores assessed to you by each credit bureau; Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Staying on top of both your credit scores and your credit reports is key in maintain a healthy credit history. Having low credit scores can affect the amount of interest you pay on loans, affect insurance premiums, influence potential employers, and can deter lenders from lending to you further.
When it comes to managing your credit keep these factors in mind:
- It Is Up To You To Manage Your Credit
While you can hire a company to do monthly credit monitoring, no one knows the details of your credit history better than you. Make a habit of checking all 3 credit scores and reports annually to ensure that all information is accurate.
- Uncaught Errors on Credit Reports Can Lower Your Credit Score
You would be surprised how often mistakes are found on credit reports. Sometimes a simple data entry error can lower your score by hundreds of points. Let’s say you finally pay off a student loan, but when your lender transfers your updated account information to the credit bureaus they accidentally check the box ‘Past Due’ instead of ‘Paid In Full’. This error can significantly lower your credit scores.
Make sure you read through each of your credit accounts on your reports to ensure that all information is accurate. All debts will stay on your credit report for 7-11 years after your accounts are closed.
- Poor Credit Can Influence Potential Employers
In order for a potential employer to check your credit scores, they must first obtain your written permission. Some employers associate low credit scores with a lack of responsibility or cause for concern if you will be working with cash or finances.
If you have low credit scores it may be worthwhile to be upfront with your potential employer before they run your credit history.
- All 3 Credit Scores May Be Different
Ideally your three credit scores should be within 40 points of each other, but sometimes this is not the case. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some of your lenders only work with 1 or 2 of the three bureaus and some of the bureaus will remove ‘bad credit’ faster than the others.
If you have a large difference in your credit scores you can call the bureaus for tips on how to improve your score.
- Checking All 3 Credit Scores Can Alert You To Identity Theft
If you check your credit scores and credit reports on a regular basis you will be in a better position to detect identity theft. If you see an unexpected drop in your credit scores, inquires to your credit history that you have not authorized, or accounts opened that you are unaware of, you want to catch them sooner rather than later. At the very least check all 3 credit scores and reports annually.
If your wallet is stolen or you suspect that someone has obtained access to your personal information, you can call each of the bureaus for a 90-day Fraud Alert to be placed on your account. What this will do is notify you every time someone attempts to access your credit information. Keep in mind, that if you try to apply for new lines of credit while you have a Fraud Alert placed on your account, your lending approval time may not be same day.
These are just a handful of the reasons it is important to stay on top of all 3 credit scores. To access your credit scores you can contact each bureau individually or sign up for a credit agency that will provide your credit scores, updated credit reports, and provide monthly monitoring.