CREDIT INFORMATION

CREDIT BASICS

What is a Credit Score?

Online phishing has become an increasingly popular scam and it has been used to replicate many well-known businesses. We have read reports that big companies including Apple, Google (Gmail recently), LinkedIn, and the IRS have all been affected by the scam. Online phishing scams are created to trick you into providing personal information such as your social security, bank account, or credit card numbers. The scam usually comes in the form of an email with a link, or an attachment that links, to a fake version of the website purporting to be a well-known business. The fake website usually has a place for you to login, which is how they obtain your private information. The fake website may look identical to the authentic website; that’s why most people fall for it. Even scarier, is the email may appear to be sent from a friend or an email address that you recognize.

The Credit bureaus

There are three national credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — that collect, update, and store credit histories for U.S. consumers. Although the information collected for consumers is similar, there may be different scores with each depending on the information each company records.

FICO Score

A FICO score is a type of credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use borrowers’ FICO scores along with other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit. FICO scores take into account various factors in five areas to determine credit worthiness: payment history, current level of indebtedness, types of credit used, length of credit history and new credit accounts.source

FICO scores are calculated based on the following, listed in order of importance:

35% Payment History: bottom line, it’s important to pay on time. Credit bureaus don’t consider a payment late until it is 30 days past due; however, you may pay additional fees or face penalties if a payment is received late

30% Credit Utilization: Is a ratio that measures how much you owe on your credit cards and lines of credit compared to the limits.We recommend you use no more than 30% of your available credit monthly

15% Credit History: The length of credit is important and the longer you have a credit card or line of credit, the better.

10% Credit Lines: A b mix of credit including revolving debt (e.g. credit cards or lines of credit) and installment loans (e.g. mortgages, car, student loans).

10% New Credit: Refers to recently opened accounts. If a borrower opens too many accounts in a short period of time, it may indicate risk

Credit Errors

You are responsible for monitoring and fixing credit errors. So, we recommend that you review your credit report 4x per year. Therefore, if you find errors or erroneous information, you can dispute them. If you need assistance click here.

Opt-Out of Credit Offers

Often times, after you apply for a new line of credit, unwanted (pre-screened / pre-approved) credit and insurance offers begin to appear in the mail. Without a social security number, the offers may be harmless; however, we suggest you opt-out to be precautious. Opting-out removes your name from lists supplied by the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can opt-out online for 5 years by visiting optoutprescreen.com