Todd and Oana explain everything about your credit score, including what a credit score is, how to get a copy of your credit report and how to dispute items on your credit report. A credit score is an important factor for most people who are thinking of making a large purchase like a home or car. There are many factors that make up a credit score, so knowing how to dispute something derogatory on a credit report is important.

The three reporting agencies are Transunion, Equifax and Experian. These companies get reports from all the individual reporting sources like credit cards, mortgage companies and even collection companies. Even if you just get an installment loan to buy furniture most times that is reported to one of the three credit reporting agencies and will show up on your credit report.

US Federal law requires each of the three major consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months, but only if you ask for it.

Through the pandemic, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at AnnualCreditReport.com.

To order your free credit reports:
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com
Call 1-877-322-8228
Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Everyone in the U.S. can get six free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

The Federal Trade Commission has information about credit and credit reports: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles…

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is helpful regarding credit education in general. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consu…

Credit scores are based on:
1. payment history,
2. credit usage (the amount of debt on a credit card vs the credit limit),
3. the length of time you have had that line of credit,
4. the mix of credit (short term like credit cards, and long term like a mortgage), and
5. credit inquiries (applications for new credit accounts)

Your credit report is a summary of personal credit history and so much more. It includes your current and past addresses, your date of birth, the timeliness of your bill paying habits, the amount for your revolving debt you have, the amount of your monthly minimum payments, your high balances on your revolving debt, etc.

The information on your credit report influences your buying power, your employment, where you live, your car insurance rates, your health insurance rates, your life insurance rates, etc.

Everyone should check all three of their credit reports every year. You can order all of them at one time or you can stagger them over the course of the year so you can keep an eye on the accuracy of the information without paying for a separate service to do that. The three reporting agencies may get information from different sources so your reports may not have all of the same information, but they should be similar.

Review your credit report and make sure they are correct. If they are not correct, there are ways to get them corrected. There is information on correcting your credit reports on each of their websites, and on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.

Experian Online:
Experian Freeze Center
Phone: 1-888-397-3742
By mail, write to:
Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Online: Equifax Credit Report Services
Phone: 1-800-685-1111
By mail, write to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
Online: TransUnion Credit Freezes
Phone: 1-888-909-8872
By mail, write to:
TransUnion LLC
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

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