It’s important to pull your credit report once per year from the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. We encourage students to go to annualcreditreport.com to pull free reports. To monitor your credit throughout the year, do not pull them all three at the same time. Pull the reports in four month increments.
Credit reporting agencies collect information about you from many sources, then organize this information into reports and sell to businesses so they can make credit decisions about you.
There are five sections to your credit report:
Personal information section: Usually your name, Social Security number, address and birthdate. Items in this section have no impact on your score.
Public records: Bankruptcies, judgements, and state and federal tax liens
Collections: Accounts that haven’t been paid and have been sold to a collection agency
Credit inquiries: There are two types of credit inquiries, hard and soft. Hard inquiries lower your credit score and generally occur when a financial institution checks your credit. Soft inquiries occur when a person or company checks your credit report as part of a background check. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score.
Credit account information: This section may include accounts you have now or that you’ve had in the past (although some accounts may not be listed if they were closed over 7 years ago). This section will include the company name, account number, date opened, last activity, type of account and status, date closed if the account is no longer open, credit limit, balance, whether you have a past due amount, the number of payments that were 30, 60 and 90 days late, whether the account was charged off and the date the information was reported to the credit bureaus.
Are you dying to know your scores? Our advice, don’t pay for them. Credit Karma (creditkarma.com) is a site where you can access your credit scores for free.
Credit Karma makes money by soliciting you with offers of credit, bank accounts, and other financial products. Ignore these solicitations, and just grab your credit scores. Credit Karma does also provide a lot of useful and quality information regarding improving credit scores.
What’s an excellent credit score? The range of 750-850 is considered excellent. When you have an excellent credit score, you get premium interest and insurance rates.