Self-Help

Credit Reports

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a compilation of information about you from a variety of sources including the companies which have granted you credit, court records, and you.

What are Credit Bureaus?

Collecting, maintaining and selling information about credit histories of individual consumers throughout the country fall to the three major credit bureaus.  To request your free credit report from one or all of the credit reporting agencies, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.  It is recommended that you request a report from each bureau once every four months; this way you can see your report for an entire year!  It also gives you a reliable way to monitor your credit report for any inaccuracies.

Equifax – www.equifax.com
Experian – www.experian.com
TransUnion – www.transunion.com

The information contained in your credit report is used to compile your credit score, also referred to as your FICO score.

What is a FICO Score?

FICO scores range from 300 to 850.  The higher the score, the better for the individual trying to obtain credit, as it implies that this person is better credit risk.

Overall, payment history has the biggest impact on FICO scores, at 35%.  It includes the following:

The second most important part of the FICO score is the amounts owed portion with a weight of 30%. This part consists of:

The third part, the length of credit history, accounts for 15% of the score and includes:

New credit accounts for 10% of the FICO score. The items in this category reflect the following:

Finally, the type of credit used category is weighted at 10% in most cases. It includes the overall number of accounts by type and their prevalence.

How do I get a good credit score?

The best way to assure good credit is to manage accounts responsibly over a length of time.  Some good advice to follow: