We were real close to closing on the sale of our co-op.
As result we needed a place to move to. These days landlords and realtors tend to ask for a recent credit reports and scores in order to rent from them. Rather than pay each time we find an apartment we liked, we decided to check our credit reports and scores ourselves to have on hand if needed. We were also curious to see our credit scores and of course we wanted to make sure our credit reports were accurate.
We purchased both our credit reports and credit scores from myFICO. They provide you with your FICO credit scores for two of the three main credit reporting agencies: TransUnion and Equifax. Experian no longer allows customers access to their FICO scores.
Sure you can get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com but we wanted to also see our credit score.
Quick credit report vs. credit score review:
A credit report tell you what credit accounts you have open and the status of the accounts such as whether you have paid on time. It can also tell you what the balance is on the accounts. These are important to check to make sure they are accurate and that there aren’t any fraudulent accounts you may not be aware of. If there are mistakes then these can have a huge negative impact on your credit score so it’s important to take care of them.
A credit score is a measure of how credit worthy you are. The credit score range goes from 300 (good luck getting a loan) to 850 (here, you need a loan, take some money!). Obviously the higher the better. It’s important to know your score so you can know what kind of rate to expect when applying for a loan. Also, knowing your score puts you on better ground as a creditor may not be honest about the rate you actually qualify for.
So back to myFICO: We used them when we checked our credit reports and credit scores before we bought our car so we knew what to expect and trust from myFico.
Let me tell you, their reports are excellent! Very comprehensive and easy to understand. Here is the summary page showing my scores (I’ve blurred mine out):
Notice that you have access to your FICO score for about a month. This way if you can print it out more than once. From here you can also view your scores. This gives you a summary of your score, an understanding of what helps and hurts your score, and a picture of how a potential lender might see you and what you could expect as a loan rate with your score.
Next up you can see your credit report.
First you see a summary of your report: Personal information; accounts past due; credit history; late payments; total balances; and basic total numbers on your accounts. Next you get a listing of your actual accounts which shows the status of the account, balance, and if its been paid late. You also have the option to see a detail on each account. The page after shows who has submitted an inquiry on your account. This is important because too many inquiries can hurt your credit score. Then you can see if any of your accounts have been sent to collections. I think it goes without saying that you don’t want any accounts showing up here. Then up are public records reported on you. These can be bankruptcies, tax liens, or garnishments. Keep an eye out here because these can negatively affect your score. You want to make sure this information is accurate!
At any point if you believe that any of the information is incorrect then myFICO has a link that can help you dispute the errors.
You might ask “Why order from both companies?” Good question! What can happen is a creditor might only report your history or a problem to only ones of the credit agencies. If you only order from one agency you may not see all of the activity out there on your reports. Also, each agency reports their scores slightly different. If all information is correct then your scores should be similar but you never know what could show up on one and not another that could be affecting you.
So do I recommend myFICO?
Absolutely! I’ve used them a number of times and I am very happy with the reports. I’ve used the credit scores and reports a couple of times now to help negotiate financing for cars I’ve bought.
Let me tell you about the first car I bought. The finance manager was trying to give me a high loan rate. I told him “really, but my credit score is xxx.” He looked at his screen and said “oh yeah” like he hadn’t noticed before. He then lowered the rate to what I was expecting. See, he was trying to take advantage of me and didn’t think I was savvy enough to know my score. By checking my FICO score before buying my car I was able to save possibly hundreds in interest.
Don’t let a lender take advantage of you! Know your FICO score!