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Understanding Your Credit Report and Score


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Information about what’s on a credit report, how it gets there, how a credit score is calculated, and how to develop good financial habits. Understanding credit and knowing where you stand are vital to protecting yourself from predatory lending by unqualified or unscrupulous lenders offering costly or unstable loan products.

Published in: Education
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Understanding Your Credit Report and Score

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING Your CREDIT REPORT & SCORE Promoting Financial Literacy Presented by: Lori Lamb - Credit Education Supervisor
  2. 2. About Springboard <ul><li>Springboard is a non-profit organization founded in 1974. </li></ul><ul><li>We offer personal financial education and assistance with money, credit, and debt management through educational programs and confidential counseling. </li></ul>
  3. 3. About Springboard <ul><li>Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) </li></ul><ul><li>Member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) </li></ul><ul><li>Member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) </li></ul><ul><li>Certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) </li></ul><ul><li>Member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Our Services Include <ul><ul><li>Credit and Debt Counseling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial Education Programs – Seminars and Materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debt Management Plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Homeowner Assistance (Foreclosure Prevention) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1-888-995-HOPE or 1-888-995-4673 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Time Home Buyer Education Seminars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reverse Mortgage Counseling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-Bankruptcy Budget and Credit Counseling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-Discharge Financial Management Instructional Course </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>It is well established that credit scores are now a cornerstone of the U.S. credit system. </li></ul><ul><li>Credit scores determine access to housing, unsecured credit lines, insurance, cable, utility and cell phone services, and employment. </li></ul><ul><li>It is imperative that the underlying data be correct for the score to have any meaning and consumers to accept the validity of credit scoring . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Credit History is Your Financial DNA <ul><ul><li>According to study conducted by the Public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest Research Group PIRG “Mistakes Do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Happen: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A Look at Errors in Consumer Credit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reports” , in which it was found </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>that one in four credit reports contains error </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>serious enough to cause consumers to be </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>denied credit, a loan, an apartment or home </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>loan or even a job. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Credit History is Your Financial DNA <ul><li>The importance of good credit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More employers are reviewing credit reports of prospective employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insurance companies review your credit report when you apply to insure you home and/or car. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Without good credit, it is very difficult to obtain a credit card, which is helpful if an emergency arises. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many businesses prefer the use of credit cards. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many employment fields, such as financial services, gaming, military and law enforcement, continually monitor their employees’ credit reports. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Make sure you get credit when credit is due <ul><li>An estimated 50 million Americans have little or no credit history </li></ul><ul><li>and therefore can’t access mainstream credit. There are many </li></ul><ul><li>businesses such as child care, private mortgages, payday lenders, </li></ul><ul><li>gas, electric, water, telephone, utilities and cable TV that create </li></ul><ul><li>regular monthly payment flows that are not aggregated to a credit </li></ul><ul><li>history. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fair Isaac “Expansion Score” - Fair Isaac's FICO® Expansion® Score predicts credit risk for consumers without FICO® scores by bringing together data in real time from alternative credit data sources - </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Payment Reporting Builds Credit (PRBC) - </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rent Reporters - RentReporters is a service that verifies your monthly rent payments with your landlord and provides that data to the credit bureaus to be added to your credit report. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First American CREDCO's Anthem Score represents a comprehensive and reliable underwriting score for consumers. who have little or no credit history. Anthem Report and Anthem Score </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Credit Reports <ul><li>What information is contained in my credit report? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquiries </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Identifying Information <ul><li>Identifying Information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your name and AKA’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current and previous addresses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Security Number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Date of birth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as well as current and previous employers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This information is not used in the scoring, but to verify your information with the information on an application. </li></ul><ul><li>Also the first place you may spot identity theft! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Public Records <ul><li>Public Record Information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bankruptcy records, tax liens, monetary judgments, debts referred to collection agencies and, in some states, overdue child support is noted on the credit report. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information can remain on a consumer’s credit report for up to 10 years from date filed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unpaid tax liens can be reported indefinitely , and paid tax liens remain for 7 years from the date paid . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unpaid judgments report for 7 years from date filed , once paid 7 years from date paid . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other public record information (late payments, collections) can remain for up 7 years. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Credit Information or Trades <ul><li>Credit Information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific information about each account, such as: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The date the account was opened </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The credit limit or loan amount </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The balance due </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monthly payment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Payment history during the past several years (FICO focuses primarily on the most recent 12-24 months). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Status of the account (open, closed, past due, charged off, included in BK etc…) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For open accounts, positive credit information remains on the report indefinitely. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on closed accounts with negative payment notations remain up to seven years from the last 30 day late. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on closed accounts with no late payment history remain for 10 years. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The report also states whether a spouse or co-signer is responsible for paying the account. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Inquiries <ul><li>Inquiries: The credit report also lists the names of those who obtained information from the credit report for the past two years. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Hard” inquiries are those that result from an attempt to solicit credit or a loan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other types of inquiries, such as those that result when a consumer requests a copy of his or her own report directly from the credit reporting agencies, are “Soft” inquiries that are not viewed by prospective creditors but are recorded and remain on the report from one to two years. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employers, landlords, pre-approved not responded to are all soft inquires. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers should be aware that when they request copies of their credit reports from third party vendors, rather than directly from the credit reporting agency, the inquiry often looks like a request for credit. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Inquiries for Rate Shopping <ul><li>The score allows for “rate shopping.” </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for a mortgage, auto, or education loan may cause multiple lenders to request your </li></ul><ul><li>credit report, even though you're only looking for one loan. </li></ul><ul><li>To compensate for this, the score ignores all mortgage, auto, and education inquiries made in </li></ul><ul><li>the 30 days prior to scoring. So, if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won't affect </li></ul><ul><li>your score while you're rate shopping! </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, the score looks on your credit report for auto, mortgage, education inquiries older </li></ul><ul><li>than 30 days . If it finds some, it counts all those inquiries that fall in a typical shopping </li></ul><ul><li>period as just one inquiry when determining your score. </li></ul><ul><li>For FICO scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula, this shopping </li></ul><ul><li>period is any 14 day span. </li></ul><ul><li>For FICO scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula , this </li></ul><ul><li>shopping period is any 45 day span . Each lender chooses which version of the FICO </li></ul><ul><li>scoring formula it wants the credit reporting agency to use to calculate your FICO </li></ul><ul><li>score. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Your Free Credit Report <ul><li>You should review your credit reports at least once a year. </li></ul><ul><li>You are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months from: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>877-322-8228 </li></ul><ul><li>Scores are not free! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Experian <ul><li>Unfortunately, as of early 2009 Experian has stopped allowing consumers to access their FICO score. </li></ul><ul><li>Only lenders may purchase a consumers Experian FICO score. This leaves consumers unable to know in advance what that score is in order to take steps to improve it before seeking credit. </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers may still access their TransUnion and </li></ul><ul><li>Equifax FICO scores directly by visiting </li></ul><ul><li>Or you may go to www.experian to purchase their Vantage Score. (This is Not a FICO score). </li></ul><ul><li>Once your lender has obtained your FICO scores from the credit bureaus, you are entitled to request a copy from your lender, including your Experian score and the factors that are influencing the score. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Additional Free Credit Reports <ul><li>Anyone can request an additional free credit report for the following reasons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You have been denied credit, insurance, housing, or employment within the previous 60 days. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have been a victim of identity theft and have reason to believe that information is incorrect due to fraud. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You are without employment and plan to apply for employment within the next 60 days. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You are receiving public assistance. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If a negative decision, in whole or in part, has been made in relation to the information that is in your credit report. </li></ul><ul><li>If your credit report has been modified due to an investigation that you requested. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Free Specialty Consumer Reports <ul><li>ChexSystems is a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency that collects and maintains </li></ul><ul><li>information from member financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If a bank closes </li></ul><ul><li>Your checking account because of insufficient funds, for example, it will make a report to </li></ul><ul><li>ChexSystems that other banks will check when you apply for new accounts. </li></ul><ul><li>Toll-free number : (800) 428-9623. </li></ul><ul><li>Web : </li></ul><ul><li>Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN) is owned by Deposit Payment Protection </li></ul><ul><li>Services (DPPS). It maintains a database of returned checks and instances of fraud. It provides </li></ul><ul><li>Check authorization and verification to its members, primarily retailers. </li></ul><ul><li>Toll-free number : (800) 262-7771 (U.S., Guam, and Puerto Rico) Fax: (800) 358-4506 </li></ul><ul><li>Web : </li></ul><ul><li>To Order by Mail : Print the order form from the website and mail to: </li></ul><ul><li>Deposit Payment Protection Services, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Attn: Consumer Referral Services </li></ul><ul><li>7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100 </li></ul><ul><li>Woodbury, MN 55125 </li></ul><ul><li>To Order by FAX : Fax the order form to 800-358-4506 </li></ul>
  19. 19. Free Specialty Consumer Reports <ul><li>TeleCheck also maintains a database of returned checks and instances of fraud. </li></ul><ul><li>It provides check authorization and verification to member retailers. </li></ul><ul><li>Toll-free number : (800) TELECHECK (800-835-3243 not necessary to dial last 2 digits). </li></ul><ul><li>Web : . </li></ul><ul><li>TeleCheck Services, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>5251 Westheimer </li></ul><ul><li>Houston, Texas 77056 </li></ul><ul><li>Declined Check Information: (800) 366-2425 </li></ul><ul><li>Some other Nationwide Specialty Consumer Reporting Companies: </li></ul><ul><li>Medical Insurance Bureau - Medical records or payments </li></ul><ul><li>Residential or tenant history - First Advantage SafeRent (Formerly known as Unlawful </li></ul><ul><li>Detainer Registry (UDR) • </li></ul><ul><li>Employment history - background checks provided by Choicepoint </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance claims - CLUE • </li></ul>
  20. 20. Credit Score – FICO or FAKO? <ul><ul><li>What is a credit score? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why are your three scores different? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What affects your credit score? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. What Affects Your FICO Score?
  22. 22. Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score <ul><li>Review credit reports regularly - Dispute any inaccuracies </li></ul><ul><li>Make your payments on time/pay off unpaid debts -collections </li></ul><ul><li>Keep balances below 50% of line of credit or less (Lenders prefer 25% or less) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep old credit active – use the card at least once or twice a year to keep active </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate a good mixture of credit history: Revolving, installment, mortgage </li></ul><ul><li>Limit inquiries </li></ul>
  23. 23. Credit Consumers Should Know Their Rights <ul><ul><li>Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA – Purpose is to promote accuracy and fairness, and to ensure the privacy of information in your credit reports along with dispute rights. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair Debt Collections Practices Act FDCPA – Purpose is to prevent abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices by debt collectors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act FACTA – Amendment to the FCRA, intended to primarily help consumers fight the growing crime of identity theft, accuracy, privacy, limits on information sharing, and new consumer rights to disclosure and free credit reports. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Any violations to the above laws – file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Disputing Errors <ul><li>What can you dispute? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything that is not yours (reported to the wrong credit report or id theft) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything that is reported inaccurately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything that is past the statute of limitations for reporting </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Statute on Limitations for Reporting <ul><li>Typical retention periods (may vary by state): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 7, 11 or 12 bankruptcies 10 years from the date filed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings 7 years from date paid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 13 bankruptcy that is not completed 10 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bankruptcies voluntarily dismissed 7 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civil judgments 7 years from the date filed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unpaid tax liens can remain indefinitrly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid tax liens 7 years from date paid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections paid or unpaid 7 years from date of the initial missed payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charge off accounts 7 years from date of the initial missed payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit accounts 7 years from the date of initial missed payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquiries 2 years </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Basics of sending dispute letters <ul><li>Provide a copy of your photo id, social security card, and proof of address (such as a utility bill, pay stub or bank statement) </li></ul><ul><li>Provide copies of any documentation supporting your dispute </li></ul><ul><li>Keep originals send copies </li></ul><ul><li>Send all letters certified mail or return receipt </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a separate file for each of the credit reporting agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Respond quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Know your rights! </li></ul>
  27. 27. Opting Out <ul><li>You can remove your name from any list compiled by a credit reporting agency, whether the list is for pre-approved credit offers or direct marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>To &quot;opt-out,&quot; that is, to remove your name from mailing lists compiled by credit bureaus. </li></ul><ul><li>Call the toll-free number all credit reporting agencies are required by law to maintain for this purpose: </li></ul><ul><li>Opt out of pre-screened or pre-approved credit offers @ 1-888-5OPT-OUT or 1-888-567-8688 . </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They can stop the selling of your personal information to creditors. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Resources <ul><li> - Springboard’s Free educational downloads and financial tools – select Resource Center. </li></ul><ul><li> - Visa’s educational interactive tutorial that explains credit, credit scores and how to build solid credit and free FICO Score Estimator that can help you approximate your score. </li></ul><ul><li> - Fair Isaac’s Educational website </li></ul><ul><li> – Your rights, educational materials or to file a complaint </li></ul>
  29. 29. Thank You! <ul><li>Springboard Nonprofit Consumer </li></ul><ul><li>Credit Management </li></ul><ul><li>800-WISE PLAN </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>