Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Credit: Four Myths about Your Credit History
By Robin Holland
If you don’t learn to understand your credit, it can be a lifelong problem. You probably know you should be checking your credit report at least once a year. Do you understand what’s included in your credit report and how to read and do something about the information on it? Do you know what your credit score means?
When I work with consumers or lead workshops on financial literacy and credit, I’m always amazed at the misconceptions about credit histories, credit scores, and credit-reporting agencies.
Here are four myths about your credit history that I hear people proclaim frequently as truth:
Myth #1: “The credit-reporting agency is responsible for my debt (or credit) rejection.”
The credit report is an important part of the decision made by the creditor or lender to grant you credit or not, but it’s not the only one. Each lender or creditor has a set of criteria it uses to determine whether or not you qualify for that credit. Think about it: It’s much easier to get a gas card than a credit card or a mortgage. That’s because the requirements to qualify for a gas card are not as stringent as those for a mortgage.
It’s up to you to establish an on-time payment history and a good mix of credit. Then when the creditor pulls your credit report, the creditor can look at your history, along with the other information you have provided, to make a decision about whether or not to give you credit.
A lot of the details you may provide, such as your gender, income, and employment history, aren’t on your credit report. But you can take responsibility for your financial identity and make sure the information reported about your credit history will present a positive picture of you to creditors.
Myth #2: “The credit-reporting agency put the negative information on my credit file.”
A lot of people don’t understand how credit reporting works. Credit reporting agencies put information in your file when creditors send us details about your payment history. Credit reporting agencies are not out to get you, and no one pays us to report negative information so they can avoid granting you credit. We compile the data sent to us about your financial history and present it as a snapshot of your finances.
There may be inaccurate information on your credit report (and you should frequently check your file at all three nationwide credit reporting agencies for inaccuracies), and if you find any inaccuracies contact the credit reporting agencies to dispute them.
Myth #3: “My credit score is a part of my credit report.”
Your credit score is not included with your credit report. You can access your credit report and credit score from Equifax or one of the other nationwide credit reporting agencies, but your credit score and your credit report are not the same thing.
Your credit report is a history of how you pay your bills. It includes your credit accounts—mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and auto loans—and shows if you’ve been late or on time with your payments, the balances on these accounts, and who else has been looking at your credit report.
Your credit score is calculated from a formula based on the components of your credit report. While the score is a good reflection of you and your financial capabilities, there’s still room for interpretation. A lender or creditor will look at your score as another element in determining the risk in lending to you or giving you credit.
So you can get your credit score from a credit-reporting agency, but it is not automatically included with your credit report unless you purchase a credit report and score product or subscribe to a credit monitoring service that includes it.
Myth #4: “Credit-reporting agencies make the rules on how your credit history is reported and how long information stays on your credit report.”
Nope. The credit reporting agencies compile and report information about your credit history, but we’re not the decision makers. A government agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), governs the credit reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) outlines the rules on what credit reporting agencies can and cannot report and how long negative factors stay on your file.
Take a look at this post for more information on what is included on your credit report and for more information about how long these details stay on your file.
It is helpful for people to understand what a credit reporting agency does and how information gets into their credit report. The more knowledge you have about this and your credit history the more control you will have over your finances.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.