Credit Score & Credit Reports
What’s the difference between a credit report and a credit score?
Your credit report contains all the details of your personal credit history over the course of your lifetime. Credit reports can therefore be quite lengthy, so that’s why a credit score is helpful.
Your credit score is like a graded summary of all the information in your credit report. Equifax, Transunion, and Experian evaluate and calculate all the information in a report, then summarize its value with a score. This ‘summary’ helps lenders quickly assess the level of risk involved in their decisions. The higher your scores, the more likely your applications and/or loans will be approved--often with a better interest rate too.
Are credit scores really that important?
Yes, they are extremely important because companies use credit scores for a variety of reasons. In fact, your credit score is the tool used most often by financial institutions, lenders, employers and even insurance companies, when determining your creditworthiness. They rely on credit scores to summarize a person’s entire credit report, which helps them make quick, informed decisions.
Some companies choose to report to all 3 credit bureaus, however, it is not mandatory to report to all three. There are no official requirements about which credit bureau a company must report to. Because of that, companies often choose which bureau to report to based on their size, specific industry, and/or location. This is also one of the reasons that your credit scores can vary from bureau to bureau.
To get an accurate overview of where your credit stands as a whole, pulling your Equifax, TransUnion and Experian credit reports/scores together can help showcase any inconsistencies between the consumer credit reporting agencies.
What factors affect credit score?
There are a variety of ‘score factors’ that are used to determine a person’s overall creditworthiness, and those factors are what shape your credit score. These factors are important to know because they are the things that can affect your credit score either negatively or positively. Knowing what affects your credit can also give you ideas of areas where you can work to improve your credit. All 3 credit bureaus evaluate your creditworthiness based on the following factors:
- Previous payment history
- Amount of debt
- How long credit has been open
- Types of credit acquired
- Active credit inquiries
What exactly is a credit inquiry?
Generally speaking, a credit inquiry will show up on your credit reports anytime you apply for something credit-related. This could be anything from getting a mortgage or auto loan, to opening credit cards or signing a lease. Inquiries are made by the financial institution you applied through because they’re looking to better understand your creditworthiness before approving your application.
It’s important to know that credit reporting companies cannot make credit inquiries without your permission. So, even if you have been applying for loans, it’s beneficial to monitor these and review any inquiries that you don’t recognize.
Credit Report Information
What if I want to see my own credit report?
Glad you asked! We highly recommend that everyone become familiar with their credit score reports and learn how they work. One way to do that is by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your annual credit report, from any of the 3 credit bureaus, every 12 months.
However, with cases of identity theft and data breaches at an all-time high, most consumers feel that waiting 12 months between credit reports is too risky. At ScrShin.com, our all-in-one credit platform provides members with both protection and peace of mind.
Having unlimited access to credit reports/scores from all 3 credit bureaus gives our members peace of mind, anytime. So does the added protection of our 24/7 credit monitoring. With automatic fraud alerts, members are notified of any and all changes in their credit profiles across Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
How often do my credit reports get updated?
Typically, credit reports get updated every 30 days. However, it gets tricky because companies submit their monthly updates at different times during the month. Some might submit their updates at the beginning of each month, whereas others submit theirs at the end of the month. When you have unlimited access to your credit scores and reports, you can check frequently to verify that any/all credit accounts have been updated.
What is credit monitoring and how does it work?
Credit monitoring is a service that constantly monitors someone’s credit profile for unanticipated changes like new inquiries, missed payments or even recently opened accounts. Credit monitoring can act as a fraud alert system too by highlighting suspicious activity as it’s happening. It’s an ideal tool in the fight against identity fraud.
A credit monitoring service can play a significant role in preventing issues like identity theft. It is also a great way to proactively track and improve upon any credit risks you find in your profile. Even if you have a good credit score, being aware of the comings and goings in your credit profiles is particularly helpful during these unprecedented times.
What benefits come with a ScrShin.com membership?
As a ScrShin.com member, you get unlimited access to your full credit reports and scores from all 3 credit bureaus. You’ll also be able to connect with our credit education specialists if you want help breaking down the information in your reports.
Additionally, memberships include a 24/7 credit monitoring service, with credit alerts that update you anytime something in your credit profile changes. Last but not least — as a member, you’ll have access to our exclusive Credit Learning Center with resources and tools that’ll help you make the most of your credit, anytime, anywhere.