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Knowing Your Credit Scores and What Is On Your Credit Report Is A Must Nowadays
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How Healthy Are Your Credit Scores?

Why One Should Get Their Credit Scores and Report

Today I went with a friend to get insurance on her home.  Her current insurance policy was not being renewed because the insurance company was going out of business.  She was shocked to find that the only insurance she could get was going to be $348 a year more because she had let her credit rating had dropped and that drop affected her insurance premiums.

She had no idea that her credit scores had tanked or for what reason.  She only has two weeks before her current insurance expires, so there is really not enough time to get her credit report and scores and get the issue resolved before she has to fork out the extra money for her new insurance.

Several weeks ago I also saw another friend's son get declined for an apartment that he really wanted because his credit rating was not sufficient to qualify.  He had a good job and made enough money to afford the apartment but their screening policy would not allow them to rent to him because of his credit rating.  Once again there would not be enough time for him to get his credit scores and report and get the issue resolved before the apartment would be rented.

Many people find themselves in the same position as my two friends when they go to apply for a car loan, mortgage, cell phone, home or car insurance, credit card or even a job.

Most people don't really realize what an impact their credit history has on their life today.  A good credit rating can easily open doors for you and a negative credit rating can just as quickly close those doors.

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What's Your Credit Score? 

Many don't even realize how their credit scores are calculated or that they can get a copy themselves of their own credit report and scores.

There are currently three main credit bureaus (credit reporting agencies).  They are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  These are the primary reporting agencies that creditors like mortgage companies, credit card companies, car finances companies, etc. use to check an applicant's credit rating before approving new credit for that applicant.

These credit reporting agencies maintain a credit file for each person.  People and companies who extend credit to an individual report the activity on this debt/loan to these credit reporting agencies.

If you have engaged in debt like a car loan, home mortgage, credit cards, etc. then the amount of your debt and your payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus and recorded in your credit file.  So, if you are late with a payment then the credit bureaus know that. If you make all your payments on time, they also know that.  The amount you have borrowed and that you still owe is also recorded in your credit file.

This type of activity is constantly changing and therefore will constantly cause your credit scores to change.

Apartment Rent

Many people feel that their apartment rent is not debt and therefore is not showing up on their credit report.  In general, this is true.  Most apartment management companies don't report to the credit bureaus on a monthly basis.

However, where your apartment rent does come into play is when you move out owing a sum of back rent.  The owner can, and will, go to court and get a judgment against you for that rent owed.  This judgment will then be recorded in your credit file and is actually more damaging because you will not be able to obtain some types of credit again until that judgment is satisfied, no matter what your credit scores are at the time you apply for that new credit.

When you apply for a new apartment it is highly unlikely that you will get approval when this judgment for past default on rent is seen.

The credit score algorithms do take in to consideration this judgment information in your file and your credit scores will be negatively impacted as well.

These judgments may show up months or even a year or two after you have moved from the apartment.  And since you have moved, you may not receive the notice about them in the mail to even know that they have been posted in your credit file.  The first you may find out about them is when you apply for new credit, get your wages garnished or your retrieve your credit report yourself for review.

Cell Phones

Your credit rating has an impact on something as simple as getting a new cell phone/plan.  If you have a low credit rating then cell phone providers may require you to pay a hefty upfront fee before allowing you to purchase a new cell phone plan.

Credit Cards

If you have a low credit score and the credit card company approves your application they will most definitely charge a higher interest rate on all your purchases.  The best thing to do is pay your balance in full each month until you can establish a better credit rating and then either ask the company where your already hold a credit card to lower your interest rate or cancel that card and go apply for a new credit card with a different company.

You will need to keep track of your credit scores yourself to know when the time is right to make this move.

Clerical Errors

Most people have a number of lines of credit and therefore the monthly posting of that activity can be of some volume.  Even with good intentions clerical errors and posting errors will occur.  This is more common for people with common names or for a name that is a Jr. or Sr.

Unfortunately, getting these errors corrected is not just a simple phone call to someone at the credit bureau or the creditor's office.  It can sometimes take months to get an error on your report corrected no matter whose fault it was that it occurred.

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These are just a few of the items that play into the calculation of your credit score and since your credit activity is constantly changing then your credit score changes frequently also.

Hopefully you can see now how important it is for one to check their credit scores and report on a frequent basis.  Don't be disappointed or embarrassed when you apply for new credit for something that you have your heart set on.

If there are items in your credit file that need your attention, then attend to them right away because it can take some time to get some of these items cleared up.

Be pro-active.  Get your credit scores and report today and see where you stand.

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