Understanding Credit Reports

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1 Understanding Credit Reports Family Economics & Financial Education

2 Credit Reports - a record of a consumer s credit history Credit history - a record of transactions involving credit use Individuals do have a credit report if they have not previously used credit Affects one s ability to acquire

3 Information on a Credit G1 Report Name and aliases Current and past addresses status Date of birth Employment history records Judgments, criminal, and bankruptcy Credit card, store card, book clubs, music clubs, etc. Payment history Credit card, store card, book clubs, music clubs, etc.

4 Information continued Financial Loans, bounced checks, closed accounts, etc. Loans/ Rent-to-own contracts, payday loans, lease agreements, etc. Credit inquiry- Number of credit inquiries Credit - a request for your credit. Can be done by businesses you apply to for credit or whom pre-approve you for credit *Medical information is not on a consumer s credit report, but medical payments are.

5 Building Credit History Important for consumers to build a to be able to purchase items on credit For example house, vehicle Affects a young adult s to make a purchase on credit in the immediate future including: Renting an apartment Buying a car Purchasing electronics or other merchandise

6 Building Credit History continued G1 accounts (JcPenny or Sears charge accounts) Credit card accounts Even with a co-signer Loan from financial institution Acquire a small loan from a financial institution and pay the loan off in payments to develop a credit history

7 No Credit History While the following are all positive financial practices, a credit history is not built if a consumer performs the following actions: Having history of credit use Not having any credit accounts in own name Paying for all major purchases Paying phone and utility bills on time

8 Positive Credit Being with credit and finances can lead to good credit A consumer may develop and keep good credit by: Practice good banking techniques Keep checkbook balanced, do not bounce checks Pay bills consistently and on time Keep public records free of bankruptcy Have no criminal record Keep a reasonable or small amount of debt Apply for credit sparingly, keeping credit inquiries low Hold a low number or credit/store cards Check credit report annually to remove errors Maintain reasonable amount of unused credit

9 General Rule Percentage of current debt compared to the total credit available is reviewed by potential. Keep the amount of debt currently held at of the total amount of available credit For example - if Sue s total amount of credit available is $1,000, her current amount of debt should not exceed $250

10 Negative Credit Being irresponsible with credit and finances can lead to credit A consumer may develop or keep poor credit by: Bouncing checks Routinely paying bills late Having a criminal record Holding a large amount of debt Holding an unreasonable amount of unused credit Not paying utility or cell phone accounts consistently and on time Obtaining a high number of credit inquiries Carrying many credit/store cards Having a public record of bankruptcy Defaulting on a loan Having cards over the limit

11 Credit Reporting Agency G1 (CRA) Keeps a of a consumer s credit transactions and compiles credit reports Acquires information from several different types of lending companies Information on credit reports between each individual agency Lenders may only report to one credit agency Consumers should contact all agencies when checking their credit report

12 CRA s continued The three main credit reporting agencies are: (800) (800) (800)

13 Who Reports to CRA s? Store accounts Credit card companies and other loan lenders Financial institutions Landlords Courts accounts companies Delinquent accounts

14 Requesting Credit Reports Consumers can request his/her credit report any time Can obtain one credit report annually from all three credit agencies Additional copies can be purchased for no more than $9.50 Consumers should check credit report a year for accuracy Mistakes are common

15 Requesting continued Any time a consumer requests credit from a business, they are able to review his/her credit report. This may include: Insurance agencies Current and potential credit companies State/local child support agencies Government agencies Financial institutions inquiring for lines of credit Landlords Potential employers Only with applicant s written request

16 Mistakes in Credit Reports More than of the credit reports checked in a study contained errors Consumer Reports (July 2000) The two main errors commonly appearing in a consumer s credit report are: 1) Mistaken occurs when a lender reports a credit transaction and information is recorded on the wrong person s credit report, usually of a similar name 2)

17 Fair Credit Reporting Act Enacted to protect the consumer in Designed to promote accuracy and ensure privacy of information in credit reports Consumers have the : To know the information in their credit report To have errors corrected in their credit report

18 Correcting Errors on Credit Reports G1 Steps include: Contact the particular credit bureau that has the error CRA must report to the consumer within days If the CRA can t verify the information, then it must be removed from the file or if in error it must be corrected If a consumer disagrees with result of CRA investigation, they have the right to submit a word explanation which stays in the consumer s file Negative information is usually removed from credit file after years, except bankruptcy which is removed after 10 years

19 Correcting Errors on Credit Report Cont G1 According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Consumers can do just as of a job repairing their credit report errors as a fee based debt repair agency Be cautious of debt repair agencies promising instant help because there is immediate fix for poor credit Be proactive and correspond to CRA s if an error is found

20 Credit Scores A mathematical tool created to help lender evaluate the risk associated with lending a customer money Scores range from, with 850 being the best score Not listed on a credit report Each CRA has an independent system based upon a standard percentage of five different categories Consumer s scores can differ between each CRA

21 Five Standard Categories of Scores 1. 35%-Payment - Timely manner in which a consumer pays debt 2. 30%-Outstanding -Amount of debt currently held 3. 15%- history -How long the consumer has held credit accounts and how often they are used 4. 10%-Pursuit of credit -How much credit is acquired over the length of the consumer s credit history 5. 10%-Types of credit in -May include credit cards, gas cards, store cards or accounts, loans, etc G1

22 Credit Scores continued Other factors calculated into a credit score may include: Length of time at current address Current Financial information payments Amount of outstanding credit Amount of credit in use Length of credit has been established

23 Financial Effect of Credit Scores rate of loans High score can insure a lower interest rate on credit Low score can cause a higher interest rate on credit Ability to receive future loans/ Financial lending institutions have guidelines of what score will qualify for a loan Reflection of of borrower to the lender The lower the score, the higher the possibility the consumer pays bills late Financial security for Takes time to improve credit, which could take time from building financial security

24 Conclusion Build and maintain positive credit! Check credit reports annually for errors! Act financially responsible!

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